Jan 29, 2010 9:27 AM by Andy Koen

Haiti from eyes of local relief workers

Each day gets a little better, but the scope of the devastation in Haiti remains too massive to describe. That's the word from a local doctor and a missionary who have joined the ongoing relief efforts there.

Dr. Tiffany Willard and a team of surgeons from Memorial Hospital are working in Haiti this week. Willard says the doctors and the medical supplies have reached Port-au-Prince, but the country's crumbled roads and bridges continue to hamper efforts to reach the injured in outlying villages.

"When you only have two O.R.'s but 30 O.R. cases to do, there's no space, we've got the doctors but we don't have the space."

Dr. Willard says demand for medical care is beginning to shift away from emergency surgeries to broader sanitation concerns including risk of spreading diseases like typhoid and dysentery.

"They're going to need a lot of general practitioners, ER physicians, pediatricians," Dr. Willard said. "We really need pediatricians, the kids are just getting neglected here."

Meanwhile, at Compassion International, where since the late 1960's the mission has been the care and upbringing of Haiti's children, hope is on the horizon.

"I think there's hope for the future of Haiti, through its children," said Tim Glenn who just returned from a relief mission with Compassion. 

"You see kids playing in the tent cities, you see kids who are so resilient bouncing back from this devastation."

Glenn says recovery in haiti will take many years, but that it's a commitment that Compassion is ready to make and has already made.

"We're teaching kids now to become the engineers and the architects and the teachers and the doctors and the lawyers and the politicians of Haiti," Glenn said. "They're going to be the ones who change this country, they're going to be the ones who rebuild this country."

Dr. Willard and the team from Memorial Hospital will be flying back on Sunday.  At Compassion, they're still awaiting word about missing camera man David Hames.

Glenn says he and his co-workers have taken comfort in Wednesday's rescue of a 16 year old girl who'd been buried in the rubble for 15 days saying it's a sign that miracles do happen.


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