Nearly two months after a massive earthquake leveled thousands of buildings and killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti, MTV News returned to the island in late February to follow the trail of some of the more than $65 million raised during January’s “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon .
MTV News’ Sway traveled to Haiti to follow a mission from Partners in Health, which is providing crucially needed food, water and medical supplies to the millions of Haitians displaced by the 7.0 earthquake thanks to an $8 million grant from “Hope for Haiti Now.” From a collection point in Miami to the airport in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, Sway and company tracked the shipment of a pallet of goods tagged with a “Hope for Haiti Now” sticker as it made its way to the Caribbean island.
“[This shipment contains] surgical supplies, and especially urgent, we have wound VACs [which clean open wounds to avoid infection], which go to help keep wounds clean, protects against infection, and we need it really urgently up in Cange, which is our main site,” Jonathan Lascher of Partners in Health said on the tarmac in Port-au-Prince as the shipment was unloaded from a cargo plane.
The crew then piled into vehicles for the three-hour ride up into the mountains to deliver the kits to Cange, driving past the miles of temporary tent cities and piles of rubble left in the wake of the quake. “The epicenter of the earthquake was just outside of Port-au-Prince, and most of the major destruction was in Port-au-Prince, but as a result of that destruction, hundreds of thousands of people have been fleeing Port-au-Prince out into the other regions of Haiti,” Lascher explained. As a result, the patient load in more remote cities has greatly increased, as has the need for funding to care for the displaced wounded.
Upon arrival in Cange, the vital nature of the shipment became immediately clear as doctors in the town said they were needed urgently for surgeries scheduled for that very day. “We only have enough dressings left to finish one or two cases today,” Partners in Health’s Sarah Marsh said. “And we have many, many more children particularly who are in need of VACs and new dressings.”
The kits are crucial to saving limbs in danger of being lost, one of the most common medical issues in the wake of the disaster and a mission that Dr. Aaron Glynn said was akin to saving lives in the troubled nation where tens of thousands face amputation due to infection and lack of adequate medical care. Sway then watched as one of the wound VACs was used during a surgery to save the leg of a 13-year-old quake victim.
“No VAC, no leg,” he said from the surgical theater. “This is a prime example of positive action here on the ground on the frontlines in Haiti, right now.”