Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wheelchairs held Hostage in Haiti

On January 12 2010 Rotary District 6110 was the first Rotary District to respond to the earthquake that Haiti experienced. On January 14 we sent 10,000 water-boxes to Haiti to purify water. We raised of $125,000 dollars (US) for Haitian relief and have built a rehabilitation clinic in Pignon to help people whose limbs have been damaged from the earthquake.

Now the sad story; we have a container of specialty wheelchairs that we sent to Haiti that have been sitting in Port au Prince since July 4th. How can the Haitian government create all this red tape and keep these wheelchairs from the people that really need them? How can the government let the container sit there costing good Rotarians at least $40 a day in demurrage fees? How can the Haitian government treat Rotarians who care for their country so badly?

Below is the letter the stirred District 6110 into action:
From: Alberga Graham Jamaica (District Governor at the time)
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 1:22 PM

Subject: Fw: Haiti

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your emails and your efforts. Please continue to mobilize contributions for Haiti relief

Please send to all your Clubs.

I know everyone is anxious to know what is happening in Haiti and in particular about our Rotarians. So far we have heard from DGN Dr. Guy Theodore, PAG Nessim Izmery, PAG Dr. Robert Leger, Dr. Claude Surena Disaster Chair for Haiti, and they are all ok.

As you can see our District Disaster Chair Ray Whittaker has sent out an appeal and Claude Surena has given a report of how bad things are. Haiti Liaison Chair PDG Dick McCombe has also made an appeal for money until we know exactly how we can respond in other areas such as food, water, shelter boxes, medical supplies etc.

Those who have satellite phones please ensure that they are charged and kept on. A listing of the telephone numbers and who have the phones will be circulated shortly.

I heard that PAG Caleb Lucien, District Chair for Health and Hunger is using his satellite phone in Haiti and communicating Internationally for help.
Let us keep in touch with our District Disaster Relief Team and Haiti Task Force Team for instructions on how we can help.

One Love,

----- Original Message -----

From: claude surena
To: Ray Whittaker
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 3:15 AM
Subject: Re: Haiti


Thanks for your support.I sure have a satellite phone but I don't know if it will work.I will let you know.We are in great need of everything water food money shelter boxes sanitation kits.I have 100 victims in my yard that I am taking care of but I am running out of supplies.Medical kits should be considered also.

See some pctures in attach of my area situation.This is a shelter in my house
Claude Surena

2010/1/12 Ray Whittaker

PDG Richard/DG Errol/DGN Guy

I applaud the quick efforts of PDG Richard in motivating as many Rotarians and clubs to gather resources and stand ready to help our Brothers and sisters in Haiti. Whilst we cannot not be the first response efforts we never the less must act with Urgency to alleviate as much suffering and fill the needs of as many as we can.

I also apologize as I am coming off a major and extremely long set of meetings which has kept me gong from 6 am until just before 12am.

I would recommend, PDG Richard  spear heading the relief effort in terms of gathering Resources, starting with the present efforts of raising money to cover the many needs and supplies that will be needed. I am unfortunately scheduled for a further set of meetings tomorrow(now today) and Thursday .

Secondly I would recommend that if still active, the Haiti benefit account, previously started by PDG Richard and his classmates, be utilized in the first instance to raise funds for this relief effort. If it is not active we will need to utilize the regular District bank account with designation for Disaster Relief monitored by PDG Richard Harris.

We need to move fast but as we all know every need in a disaster is an emergency so we have to be careful to try and prioritize the needs and distribute accordingly.

I will circulate separately an appeal across the District In further support of PDG Richards email, TOMORROW, if we are in agreement with the above steps, in which case we will need to further advise of the FULL DETAILS INCLUDING TRANSFER INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE BANK ACCOUNTS REFERRED TO ABOVE ( PDG RICHARD MCCOMBE AND PDG RICHARD HARRIS COULD YOU CIRCULATE THE DETAILS). Likewise we can establish the NEEDS LIST TO CIRCULATE WORLD WIDE.

IN ADDITION, Claude/DGN Guy/Yves/ Ted/Yvon/ Marie

You should all be in possession of Satellite Phones received directly or from your immediate predecessor AG’s in the case of sitting AG’s. Please contact me to confirm and I will post the numbers to the above and establish the timing protocols for us to contact you. You will of course be free to contact us at your convenience but we need to ensure proper protocols IN ORDER THAT THE best communication IS MADE AND AIRTIME is USED.


If I am not mistaken you are in possession of Sat phone xxxxx previously held by PDG Richard.

I will liaise with PDG George in the am to ensure an update on the active and if necessary ensure activation of any inactive Satellite phones in Haiti.


I am sure Shelter Boxes and other materials will be needed but we need to coordinate the most needed items are delivered in the most efficient manner to ensure they get to the persons most in need through Rotarians /Clubs where possible.

Rotarians, we are being called once again to help our brothers and sisters and those in need , lets live up to our motto “SERVICE ABOVE SELF”.

Ray Whittaker

District Disaster

Ps This is a terrible disaster and will no doubt be requiring our help for the months to come, please therefore in all instances copy Felix Stubbs our incoming Disaster Chair and in fact all listed above to ensure our maximum efforts.

From: Richard McCombe
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 6:12 PM
To: Raymond Whittaker
Subject: Haiti

To: Raymond Whittaker, Grand Cayman
Dear fellow Rotarians,
Haiti has had another terrible catastrophe. 7.0 Earthquake. In the words of Haiti Disaster relief Chair "It is very terrible"
Please rally your clubs for support. I will be in touch as soon as we have further detaials and a clearer direction. Money 1st, it works best, money first will probably the best, and we can follow with other types of aid.
PDG Dick

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