Haitian unrest hits home

Roanoke Times reporter Beth Macy flew to Haiti a week ago to cover Angel Missions Haiti, the Roanoke County-based Christian medical mission as it continues to respond to January’s earthquake -- and the new cholera outbreak. On Monday, Haitians' grief over hundreds of cholera deaths had turned to rage against the United Nations in several northern cities. The Angel Missions team and Macy were caught on the fringe of the violence.

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  1. Haiti:
  2. Beth and the Angel Missions Haiti medical team flew from Port-au-Prince into Cap Haitien, not St. Louis de Nord as they’d expected, and took a bone-rattling open-air truck ride on rough roads to Bon Samaritain Hospital in Limbe Friday.

    Cap Haitien is on the northern coast of Haiti and is about the size, in terms of population, of Roanoke and Roanoke County combined. Limbe is a much smaller city that’s about 15 miles inland.

    [Nov. 12, 2010 | From the Newsroom blog, roanoke.com]
  3. Reporter Beth Macy, heading to the cholera hospital in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti.
  4. Beth reported a chaotic situation from Limbe: not enough supplies and virtually no coordination. Vanessa Carpenter was working the phones to try to get medical supplies trucked in to the team, while her chief nurse, Kez Furth, is working in another town named Cabaret doing triage in a dozen or so tents.

    [Nov. 14, 2010 | From the Newsroom blog, roanoke.com]
  5. Limbe is humid and muggy all the time, but the recent hurricane left it especially muddy, with rutted roads and muddy paths in Hopital Bon Samaritain. Resident Lalaine Llanto walks from the cholera ward to the overflow shelter.
  6. Dispatch from Beth...

    I watched Dr. Chi [Dr. Chiedza Jokonya of Maine] bring a baby back from the brink today.

    [Nov. 13, 2010, evening: From the Newsroom blog, roanoke.com]
  7. This baby is barely hanging on, thanks to heroic efforts of Dr. Chi Jakonya of Maine Dartmouth. His name is Saintilus Duval, and his Papi says he loves to laugh and say "Mama."
  8. Dispatch from Beth...

    Hard to describe what I’m seeing here in this forgotten corner of Haiti, but I look forward to being rested enough to do it justice at home. At a hospital in Limbe, people are lying in cots in their own waste; 12 people have already died. But many are getting better.

    Vanessa’s … just as her husband, Tom, predicted: Mach 3 with her hair on fire.

    [Nov. 13, 2010: morning  |  From the Newsroom blog, roanoke.com]
  9. Meanwhile, the cholera epidemic the team was heading toward tightened its grip on the country.
  10. Beth continued posting updates to her Facebook page, for her friends and family back home in the States: Wrenching moments from a "forgotten corner of Haiti," glimpses out of the hospital in Limbe, overflowing with patients desperate for medical care.
  11. This is the shelter for cholera overflow at the hospital. Patients are also in tents, hallways and in one indoor ward.
  12. She, along with a doctor on the team, talked to reporter Lisa Mullins of Public Radio International's The World radio program to discuss what she'd seen so far.
  13. From Beth's Facebook page...

    Sounds from the cholera shelter: The slap of a doctor's hand on a child's arm, trying to raise a vein. A baby whimpering. The crinkle of plastic wrap as a woman recycles the IV packaging discarded by a nurse as a germ shield -- wrapping it around her foot. An old man in a cowboy hat humming his wife to sleep. A young man with Dengue fever and legs afire who wants me to know, in perfect English: "I am a teacher."

    [Nov. 14, 2010: 10: 57 a.m.]
  14. Isman Carder, 28, has been in the cholera overflow shelter for two days. He's suffering from shakes and fever and severe leg pain, so doctors initially thought he had Dengue fever. Now they're sure it's malaria and are treating him accordingly. His mother
  15. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that more than 1,000 people had been killed by the cholera outbreak in Haiti. | Explore the AP's interactive report on the epidemic.
  16. This boy was so dehydrated that it took two doctors and a nurse practitioner about an hour to finally get an IV into Jeffrey Gomez, to treat him for cholera.
  17. And then, the riots.
  18. An e-mail from Beth to her editors...

    We r on lock down here..
    rioting and road blocks in limbe

    We r posed to rendezvous w copter at
    1020 but its not safe to make the 5 min ride to soccer field nearby
    Tiva is
    working her UN connex

    We have packed med supplies now for US just in

    Trying hard to get out but being safe about it.
    I'll. Call or e
    when I can.

    [Nov. 16, 2010: 8:18 a.m.]