Quake spotlights Haiti’s distress, nonprofit’s resolve

Below is the top of a story by Portland Press Herald staff writer Matt Wickenheiser and a link to the rest of the story.

Along with the story on the Portland Press Herald Web site is a letter to readers from Scott Wasser, vice president and executive editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and MaineToday Media. Apparently, a couple of readers emailed complaints to the newspaper claiming it would have been better for the publication to donate the money to a charity rather than spend money to send reporters to Haiti.

The response has a tone of indignation to it, but Mr. Wasser makes very important points: covering Mainers doing good – no matter where – should be done by a Maine newspaper. Period.

And, more importantly, the coverage is sure to garner not just short-term replenishment of funds for charitable organizations, but long-term positive results for those groups that do good in Maine and beyond in places such as Haiti.

Newspapers and other news agencies must GO to where stories are happening. A major part of what journalists do is observe. And you cannot observe the devastation caused by an earthquake or the good that a Portland, Maine-based group, Konbit Sante,  is doing unless you send intrepid journalists and photographers. – KM

CAP HAITIEN, HAITI — Earthquake victims from the south came in buses, piled into pickups and jammed into cars, driving almost 90 miles to find any care they could – even at Haiti’s poorest hospital.

Justinian Hospital doctors, nurses and residents worked through the first weekend treating 130 patients from Port-au-Prince, the capital city destroyed by the Jan. 12 quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people.

With sparse resources, they helped men, women and children who had broken bones, amputated limbs and crushing emotional and psychological truama.

And members of the Portland-based Konbit Sante worked alongside them. Haitian nurses and doctors from the nonprofit were there, even a Portland volunteer who teaches English as a second language.

But as important as the all-hands effort was, it may not have been possible without the work done by Konbit Sante over the past decade.

Justinian doctors and nurses were able to work in operating rooms without fear of a blackout, thanks to electrical upgrades made by Maine electricians; children were treated in a pediatrics unit supported by two Konbit Sante-funded attending physicians; and the opening of a Konbit Sante supply depot gave the hospital access to vital materials donated to the organization.

Even so, scraping together enough to respond to the disaster has been difficult.

Click the link to read the rest of “Quake spotlights Haiti’s distress, nonprofit’s resolve” by the Portland Press Herald’s Matt Wickenheiser.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s