The news coming out of Haiti has been alarming and for good reason. The country is facing a full blown crisis. Armed gangs have fueled a massive spike in kidnappings for ransom and Haiti has become the world leader in kidnappings. So far this year, over 829 kidnappings have been reported. Our thoughts are with the 17 American missionaries who were kidnapped 3 weeks ago and are still being held captive. Over 50% of Port-au-Prince is now under the direct control of various armed gangs including the areas around the ports. The country is paralyzed as fuel trucks cannot access the area and haven’t been able to make deliveries for well over a week. As a result gas stations are closed, and vehicles have no gas. The roads are empty of traffic as schools and businesses are closed. Hospitals are also being forced to shut down. As these disturbing events continue to unfold I want to provide an update on the current situation at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. I want to reassure you that, despite it all, we have been able to continue our mission and we are determined to continue doing so. After all, it is in the worst of times that our services are needed most.
Fuel: Thankfully, 35% of HAS’ daily power needs are met though solar energy. However, we still must rely on diesel fueled generators as our major power source and HAS uses 250 gallons of diesel fuel each day to run our hospital. In the weeks leading up to this current crisis, we were able to build up our fuel reserves and we currently have enough fuel to power our hospital for the next few weeks. In the meantime, we are closely monitoring usage and employ fuel conservation measures to do our best to maintain a safe supply.
COVID-19: COVID is surging for the third time in Haiti. Patient numbers at HAS’ dedicated treatment center are now triple what they were just a few weeks ago. COVID continues to wear on people everywhere but the bright spot at HAS is that protection is on the way. Our COVID vaccine campaigns have been hugely successful. We are administering second doses to thousands of people – the 7,449 people who were vaccinated with first doses in just 23 days! With a new COVID vaccine supply and teams ramping up, the next round of first doses began this week as well.
Oxygen: Once again oxygen is in short supply at many hospitals in Haiti. This creates a very desperate situation when COVID is also on the rise. Thanks to our USAID-donated oxygen generator, HAS continues to produce a significant oxygen supply for our own use as well as supplying other hospitals who are in desperate need.
Security: The safety of our staff and patients remains our top priority. We have restricted all vehicle traffic to and from HAS and only essential trips are authorized. We must exercise caution as we carry on.
Many of you have reached out to ask how you can help. Honestly, in crisis times like these, your financial support is more helpful than you can imagine. HAS works with a tight operating budget and the crisis situations Haiti has faced this year were not part of anyone’s plans.
Thank you for your concern and support.
Jean Marc de Matteis, Chief Executive Officer