• The San Juan Daily Star

Puerto Ricans unite to help earthquake-struck Haiti

People watch recovery operations at Petit Pas Hotel In Les Cayes, Haiti on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021

By Pedro Correa Henry

Twitter: @pete_r_correa

Special to The Star

In the aftermath of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti last Saturday, with its human toll soaring to almost 1,300 dead and 5,700 injured, organizations in Puerto Rico called on islanders Monday to lend their hand and help all those affected by the quake that has crippled the southwest region of the nearby Caribbean nation.

Prosthetist Pablo Nieves, a spokesperson for Haití se pone de pie (Haiti Stands Up), a non-profit foundation composed of orthopedic physicians, surgeons and prosthetists that provides specialized medical services to the victims of the 7.0-magnitude Haitian earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, urged residents “who feel the call to help” to donate medications and first aid supplies, which Nieves said were necessary to provide aid to the neediest survivors.

“The foundation has activated again; a group of 10 doctors head out to Haiti [Monday],” he said. “Our first mission there is to give initial support and perform as many emergency surgeries as possible.”

Among the items requested were acetaminophen, ibuprofen, allergy relief medications, diapers, and nutritional shakes for adults and children. Likewise, the foundation, whose membership includes Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López, requested electrolyte solutions, water, over-the-counter medications for stomach problems, canned food, batteries, multivitamin supplements for adults and children, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, band-aids, and triple antibiotic ointment.

Nieves said medical services in the island nation are badly compromised as the tremor that was centered 78 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, overwhelmed the two hospitals in Les Cayes and the main hospital in Jérémie, leading to greater challenges to help the injured.

Moreover, he said, other challenges they will face in their first mission would be saving as many lives as possible amid the emergency, remaining safe what with public security already in a state of destabilization following the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, and Tropical Depression Grace, which was on track to make landfall in Haiti late Monday and could hamper recovery efforts by bringing up to eight inches of rain and isolated maximum rainfall of 15 inches.

Nieves told the STAR meanwhile that residents who can’t donate essential items can donate money to the foundation through the Hope for Humanity account, number 362-269689, at Banco Popular.

“There will always be hope while there are people to give their hand, any doctor, any nurse, any person who donates a bottle of acetaminophen or a bottle of triple antibiotic lotion, a dollar, five dollars, that represents hope for something better,” Nieves said.

Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Pro-Human Rights Committee called on residents to “join the call for solidarity with the people of Haiti” and donate to help those affected by the earthquake.

Those interested can donate through ATH Móvil at 787-566-3388 or through the organization’s Credit and Savings account, with the associate number 2308280.

Last Sunday, the Puerto Rico National Guard was activated by the federal government to conduct search and rescue missions in southwestern Haiti.

Press outlets reported that around 20 soldiers in three helicopters were assigned for the mission.

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