Floodman's WunderBlog

Update on our efforts in Haiti

By: Floodman, 8:41 PM GMT on January 29, 2010

January 29, 2010


Paul Timmons, head of Portlight, has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News at our Atlanta location for a story that will follow one of our shipments from the Atlanta warehouse to it's distribution in Haiti. This story will be aired in several parts starting late next week. When scheduling information is given to us we will post it here; tune in and see Paul!

Paul and Ron were on the Barometer Bob show last night getting the word out about Portlight and our ongoing efforts in Haiti. A podcast of this interview can found at The Barometer Bob Show . We here at Portlight want to thank Bob for his continuing support; he has been a good friend to Portlight and we appreciate his efforts!

The following are specific updates on ongoing projects:

On site:
Our primary site coordinator, Richard Lumarque, landed in Santo Domingo late in the day yesterday and is on his way into Haiti; we are hoping to have him on site by late today. We'll be updating when he arrives.

In the meantime we've been in contact with Tabitha Lumarque, Richard's cousin, and she has been making contact with those people and institutions we have been made aware of and is working to census the disabled and their needs. She also reports that neighborhhoods have been organizing themselves to ensure the orderly distribution of food to those in need.

We are still working to get a large truck on site as soon as possible; we were informed that the deuce and a half would have to sit in customs for some 3 days prior to shipping to clear the title and other paperwork. In the meantime, a smaller truck has been acquired on site to help with transportation of supplies.
The acquisition of the larger truck will be a uniquely Weather Underground community initiative. We will place WU signage on the truck and we will be able to post photos of it at work in Haiti; the WU truck will be a long term, tangible symbol of the generosity of the WU community. We want to thank Gina Cirio (WaterWitch11) and her husband for their ceaseless efforts in locating a suitable truck for us.

We would also like to take a moment and thank Dr. Jeff Masters and Wunderground for their continued and unwavering support as well as generous donations. Over the years the Wunderground community and Dr. Masters have helped Portlight get our message out and we are truly grateful for all the support and devotion. This community has been the genesis of our efforts and we cannot thank the great people of the WU community enough for all that they have done to make our efforts successful.

Dire situations:
Again, through our connections on Twitter we have been made aware of the village of Dufort, who have been taking in evacuees from the Port au Prince area. Their numbers have swelled to over 2000 and they are not being included in the food distribution schedule for Leogane (the closest large city to them) nor are they being told of any food distributions. They are running low on food and clean water is becoming an issue as well. We have sent contact info to Tabitha Lumarque and we are currently trying to arrange for food distribution for them as well as the placement of a water treatment system there. Tabitha will also try to get a full census of those in Dufort that are disabled or are in need of medical assistance.

We have been made aware through Twitter and other sources of other orphanages and a number of Nursing Homes where disabled Haitians are being housed, not the least of which is the AUBE Orphanage in the Pacot neighborhood in Port au Prince and the GVCM Orphanage; we will be working to identify any disabled children or adults in these locations and provide for the overall needs of these locations. Tabitha is working on getting to these two locations to assess the situation and take whatever supplies she can to them.

Note that we have also been made aware that there are some unscrupulous people on Twitter and other social networking sites who are providing false information for various reasons; we are vetting our information as best we can to make sure that no time or resources are wasted on the ground on false or erroneous leads.

Haitian Nursing Foundation:
Through the efforts of Riki Chomsky, contact has been made with the Haitian Nursing Foundation whose Leogane campus is located SW of Port au Prince. While the city of Leogane was nearly 90% destroyed by the earthquake, the Nursing School was largely spared and a tent city has sprung up; a large number of disabled have been housed there. Further, the Leogane hospital was also spared serious damage and is operational. We are working to supply the needs of the disabled housed at Leogane and will be supplying the hospital and nursing school dispensary with clinical supplies. Update: we have been in contact with the staff on the ground at the Leogane location and have been advised that through the UN and their contribution network they have plenty of supplies; we will be speaking to Shelley there on a regular basis to make sure that they are still well supplied.

As you can see, we are making significant strides in Haiti but we can't do any of this work without your help; we are receiving donations of food and medical supplies (both durable and clinical) but we can't do this without the money it takes to ship the goods that are being donated. We have a large number of donations intiatives either ongoing or in the works, but what really helps, in regards to getting these supplies on the ground, is you; your smallest donations are helpful, so give, if you can! The Paypal donation button is the quickest and best way for you, as an individual, to make a difference in this disaster.

Methodist Habitat:
We would like to thank Methodist Habitat for their continuing help in ferrying supplies and personnel into Haiti. Their largesse and the bravery of their pilots have been critical in getting materials into Haiti. Like Portlight, Methodist Habitat is accepting donations and they are looking for aircraft and experienced pilots to further aid in the relief efforts; their website is Methodist Habitat.

Tangible donations:
While we're taking monetary donations through this site, we are also taking donations of tangible materials at our warehouse in Atlanta. Remember, clothing is a secondary issue here; what is most desperately needed is food, durable and clinical medical supplies and other tangibles like tools, outdoor gear, clincial supplies, etc. The address for the Atlanta warehouse is:

Portlight Strategies, Inc.
4900 Lewis Road
Stone Mountain GA 30083


Staffing:
While Portlight WILL NOT be placing any staff in Haiti until we can assure their safety, rest assured that we will be staffing shelters in the near future. Anyone interested in going to Haiti to help staff one or more shelters for Haitians with disabilities please email us at paul@portlight.org



Update on Portlight Haiti Relief

By: Floodman, 7:17 AM GMT on January 25, 2010

Update on our efforts in Haiti
January 24, 2010

Paul Timmons, head of Portlight, has been interviewed on both NBC and CNN about our efforts in Haiti and these interviews will be broadcast at some point in the next few days. When scheduling information is given to us we will post it here; tune in and see Paul!


Paul Timmons and Ron Myers were on the Barometer Bob show Thursday night talking about our efforts in Haiti and our immediate needs and goals for that country. Many thanks to Bob Brookens, (Barometer Bob) for having us on his show and for all of his hard work for Portlight!

New donations:
Our special thanks to Erica (Riki) Chomsky, a Portlight volunteer in Michigan who has been working hard for us there; through her efforts we have received a gift of 40 pallets of durable medical goods (wheelchairs, braces, etc). We want to thank the company, H&H Wholesale, that graciously provided us with these materials, and hope we can work with them in the future to provide relief for the disabled victims of Haiti. More thanks go out to Bob Brookens, the well know Barometer Bob, for his help in getting us shipping for these supplies and last, but certainly not least, we want to thank Mark Derry of Cowboy Trucking for graciously offering to help transport the donations from Michigan to our Charleston location.

We are actively working both in the United States and on the ground in Haiti to serve the needs of people with disabilities there. The following list of our activities is in no particular order, but should give you a good overview of our impact:

•Provided for the transport of 4 water filtration systems to Haiti, and arranged for one of them to be at our disposal to serve the needs of people with disabilities.
•Created a social media network to facilitate communication with all our stakeholders.
•Secured the services of a Creole-speaking Haitian native to coordinate all our efforts in-country.
•Secured warehouse space in Atlanta and Charleston to facilitate management, transport and delivery of critical goods and supplies.
•Connected with over a dozen groups in Haiti with whom we are able to coordinate our outreach to people with disabilities.
•Opened dialogue with the USAID and secured their cooperation.
•Opened numerous pipelines for delivery of donated durable medical equipment to our warehouses.
•Resumed shipment of DME and clinical supplies into Haiti.
•Identified at least two locations at which we can begin to congregate people with disabilities in order to provide a safe, efficient location for the delivery of services.
•Secured the services of several on scene coordinators who are identifying locations of people with disabilities and facilitating their transport to our service locations.
•Secured a $10,000 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, as well as raised over $20,000 from our network of supporters.
•Mobilized the leadership of the US disability community to come to the aid of their Haitian brothers and sisters.
•Provided direct financial assistance to those on the ground facilitating this work.
•Secured a truck for use by those working with us in Haiti.
•Secured the donations of well over $500,000 worth of durable medical equipment and clinical supplies.
•Applied to USAID for specific aid to people with disabilities.
•Initiated an avalanche of media coverage, including NBC news for a long feature on people with disabilities to run in the next couple of weeks and another on CNNI running internationally.
•Participated in all relevant USAID and White House conference calls on the subject of Haiti relief efforts and have been instrumental in keeping people with disabilities on the mind of federal officials.
•Secured cost effective US trucking network to facilitate movement of supplies.
•Facilitated air transport into Haiti of several medical service providers.
•Connected with the Southern Command in Charleston to facilitate transport of goods aboard Air Force C17s.

These accomplishments have been achieved through the hard work of our volunteers and with the help of numerous members of the Weather Underground community. Those of you who have contributed to our success so far should certainly be proud, and have earned the gratitude of Portlight and the disabled community, but remember, we have only just begun our work in Haiti. The relief effort will be a long term project and we are in this for the long haul.

The following are specific updates on ongoing projects:

On site:
Our primary site coordinator, Richard Lumarque, is hoping to be in-country by Tuesday; he is taking with him more supplies, including 3 1 kilowatt generators and 1 6 kilowatt generator donated by one of his friends. In the meantime, we will be working with his cousin, Tabitha Lumarque (our interim site coordinator), to get some recon and delivery missions going over the next few days; she will be coordinating the efforts there until Richard arrives.

We are still working to get a large truck on site as soon as possible; we were informed that the deuce and a half would have to sit in customs for some 3 days prior to shipping to clear the title and other paperwork. In the meantime, a smaller truck has been acquired on site to help with transportation of supplies.

The acquisition of the larger truck will be a uniquely Weather Underground community initiative. We will place WU signage on the truck and we will be able to post photos of it at work in Haiti; the WU truck will be a long term, tangible symbol of the generosity of the WU community.

We would also like to take a moment and thank Dr. Jeff Masters and Wunderground for their continued and unwavering support as well as generous donations. Over the years the Wunderground community and Dr. Masters have helped Portlight get our message out and we are truly grateful for all the support and devotion. This community has been the genesis of our efforts and we cannot thank the great people of the WU community enough for all that they have done to make our efforts successful.

Below are updates on ongoing projects in Haiti:

Dire situations, revisited:
The children of the BRESMA orphanage were all evacuated early this week; 43 were transported to Pittsburgh, PA here in the US and the remaining children were transported to France and Holland where their adoptive parents were waiting for them.

We have been made aware through Twitter and other sources of other orphanages and a number of Nursing Homes where disabled Haitians are being housed, not the least of which is the AUBE Orphanage in the Pacot neighborhood in Port au Prince and the GVCM Orphanage; we will be working to identify any disabled children or adults in these locations and provide for the overall needs of these locations.

Note that we have also been made aware that there are some unscrupulous people on Twitter and other social networking sites who are providing false information for various reasons; we are vetting our information as best we can to make sure that no time or resources are wasted on the ground on false or erroneous leads.

Haitian Nursing Foundation:
Through the efforts of Riki Chomsky, contact has been made with the Haitian Nursing Foundation whose Leogane campus is located SW of Port au Prince. While the city of Leogane was nearly 90% destroyed by the earthquake, the Nursing School was largely spared and a tent city has sprung up; a large number of disabled have been housed there. Further, the Leogane hospital was also spared serious damage and is operational. We are working to supply the needs of the disabled housed at Leogane and will be supplying the hospital and nursing school dispensary with clinical supplies.

Methodist Habitat:
We would like to thank Methodist Habitat for their continuing help in ferrying supplies and personnel into Haiti. Their largesse and the bravery of their pilots have been critical in getting materials into Haiti. Like Portlight, Methodist Habitat is accepting donations and they are looking for aircraft and experienced pilots to further aid in the relief efforts; their website is Methodist Habitat .

Tangible donations:
While we're taking monetary donations through this site, we are also taking donations of tangible materials at our warehouse in Atlanta. Remember, clothing is a secondary issue here; what is most desperately needed is food, durable and clinical medical supplies and other tangibles like bottled water, tools, outdoor gear etc. The address for the Atlanta warehouse is:

Portlight Strategies, Inc.
4900 Lewis Road
Stone Mountain GA 30083


Staffing:
While Portlight WILL NOT be placing any staff in Haiti until we can assure their safety, rest assured that we will be staffing shelters in the near future. Anyone interested in going to Haiti to help staff one or more shelters for Haitians with disabilities please email us at paul@portlight.org

KitchenGypsy has a great day

By: Floodman, 11:58 PM GMT on January 23, 2010

KitchenGypsy asked me to post this entry for her; she's had some issues with connectivity today. Our hats are off to her; she made the arrangements for this donation and her amazing energy and unfailing devotion to Portlight's cause is an example for all of us. We also want to thank Barometer Bob, who got us the connect with Cowboy USA; Bob is another person whose hard work is inspirational to all of us here at Portlight!

A quick update: Our shipment of donated medical supplies from Michigan is being loaded on UN planes as we speak; the UN has a critical needs manifest and they are taking from our shipment based on that list; the rest of the shipment, what little is left, will be shipped out on Monday.


This update is going to have a lot of thank yous; its been an incredible few days and I gotta brag on some folks.
Yesterday was a wonderful day for Portlight Strategies. We received a donation of 2 truckloads of medical equipment and supplies from the H&H Wholesale company of Troy, MI.
H&H has been generously supplying medical equipment for people in disasters for years, and we are very appreciative of their support.

This shipment, including diabetic supplies, wound care items, canes, blankets, socks, surgical items and first aid will go a long way towards filling the needs of medical teams on the ground in Haiti.


Supplies waiting to be loaded

Loading the trucks

KitchenGypsy


Also, we are truly thankful for their sense of urgency. Can you even believe they set all this up for us in less than 4 days? Big, big blessings and thank yous to H&H wholesale; please show them your support!

Another amazing partnership that came together for this mission, Cowboy USA of South Carolina not only arranged all of our transportation, but donated it as well! And once again, the speed with which they responded to us blew my mind. We got in touch with them Friday morning, and our trucks were loaded and on the way to Charleston by Friday afternoon. It would not have been possible without their generous contribution.

Between receiving the donation from H&H, and sending it off with Cowboy USA, it was stored with E.L. Hollingsworth trucking school in Flint, Michigan, once again, out of the kindness of their hearts. These guys are amazing!

This is truly a labor of love, and it has been amazing to me to see what we can accomplish when we all work together. I have been so touched by the generosity of every single one of you. Thanks to the efforts of those involved, Portlight will be able to help countless Haitian people receive the medical attention they need. This was one of the most inspirational weeks of my life.

Thank you, everyone who helped, everyone who sent prayers (‘cuz at times, it really did feel like a miracle) to Floodman, LongStrangeTrip, Presslord, Patrap, GrtLksQuest, and especially to H&H wholesale, Cowboy USA, and E.L. Hollingsworth. Y’all rock!


H&H Wholesale

Cowboy USA

E.L. Hollingsworth

Haiti Update

By: Floodman, 8:07 AM GMT on January 18, 2010

Update on our efforts in Haiti
January 18, 2010

Late update:

The Reeve Foundation, founded by Christopher and Dana Reeve has awarded Portlight Strategies a $10,000 Quality of of Life grant to assist in our relief efforts in Haiti. This is very big and will allow us to pursue more aggressive relief efforts over the course of the next few weeks. Along with the continuing donations of money and materials from the general public and corporations here in the US this grant will help speed up our shipping agenda and help us to get more materials in place faster than we had anticipated. Time is of the essence in Haiti and we at Portlight are grateful to the Reeve Foundation for their generous contribution to our cause. The story can be found here .

Our second shipment should be on the ground in Haiti by early this week; again this shipment includes two more of the water treatment systems and more food and medical/clinical supplies. This is a larger shipment than the first; we're hoping to identify places with more dire needs and place one of the water treatment systems there as well as the other supplies.

On Site Coordinator:
Thanks to Wunderground blogger Dak Simonton (Dakster) we were made aware of Richard Lamarque, a Haitian expatriate and 15 year veteran of the Miami Police Department who was planning to go back to Haiti this week to look for family members and to help with recovery efforts. As our on scene coordinator, Richard Lamarque will be leaving for Haiti in a few days. He is well connected there, and has a skill set and life experiences which will be invaluable to our work there. He will be travelling by ship. We have commited to purchasing a small truck to take with him. The truck will be loaded with supplies. The benefits of having a vehicle on site are self evident. The truck will cost roughly 3-5 thousand dollars; we have already earmarked $2000.00 for this; the next $3000 we receive will be earmarked for the WU truck. Please post this announcment to blogs and forward it to all your WU friends.

We want this to be a uniquely Weather Underground community initiative. We will place WU signage on the truck and we will be able to post photos of it at work in Haiti; the WU truck will be a long term, tangible symbol of the generosity of the WU community.

We would also like to take a moment and thank Dr. Jeff Masters and Wunderground for their continued and unwavering support as well as generous donations. Over the years the Wunderground community and Dr. Masters have helped Portlight get our message out and we are truly grateful for all the support and devotion. This community has been the Genesis of our efforts and we cannot thank the great people of the WU community enough for all that they have done to make our efforts successful.

Dire situation:
We were also made aware of the situation with the BRESMA orphanage over the weekend. The orphanage is run by two sisters, Jamie McMutrie Heckman and Ali McMutrie. The Orphanage has been without electricity since the earthquake and ran out of food and water over the weekend. Emergency supplies have been brought in by World Vision, but only in smaller amounts, requiring frequent resupply visits. To make them more self sufficient until evacuation can be arranged for the children, we have identified a water source for the a treatment system and we are currently arranging to get it and more food in place for the children by early in the week.

Methodist Habitat:
Also over the weekend we were put in touch with Methodist Habitat by Wunderground blogger Jeff Sandler (BrowardJeff). This organization provides aircraft and pilots in disaster situations for the shipment of goods and supplies; we have provided them with some funding to help defray the cost of fuel and we are happy to help them. Like Portlight, they are accepting donations and are looking for experienced pilots and aircraft to further aid in the recovery efforts; their website is Methodist Habitat .

Tangible donations:
While we're taking monetary donations through this site, we are also taking donations of tangible materials at our warehouse in Atlanta. Remember, clothing is a secondary issue here; what is most desperately needed is food, other tangibles like botteld water, tools, outdoor gear etc. The address for the Atlanta warehouse is:

Portlight Strategies, Inc.
4900 Lewis Road
Stone Mountain GA 30083


Staffing:
While Portlight WILL NOT be placing any staff in Haiti until we can assure their safety, rest assured that we will be staffing shelters in the near future. Anyone interested in going to Haiti to help staff one or more shelters for Haitians with disabilities please email us at paul@portlight.org



Update on Portlight's efforts in Haiti

By: Floodman, 1:56 AM GMT on January 17, 2010

Update on our efforts in Haiti

Our first shipment has been received and is in the hands of the community of Catholic sisters in Port au Prince and others who will be opening shelters. This shipment included two water treatment systems capable of supplying fresh water for 3500 people a day, a pallet of powdered milk, a pallet of barley, half a shipping container of durable medical goods (wheelchairs, braces, crutches, etc.) and half a shipping container of clinical supplies including medicines and materials for setting up or stocking an existing clinic.

We have another shipment going out in the next day or so and hope to have it in place by early next week; this shipment includes two more of the water treatment systems and more food and medical/clinical supplies. This is a larger shipment than the first; we're hoping to identify places with more dire needs and place one of the water treatment systems there as well as the other supplies.

We are continuing to raise funds to help defray the cost of shipping and for the purchase of food and other shelter supplies; bear in mind that it costs us to transport these supplies from our warehouse to the port and/or airport for shipping as well as the actual shipping to the Dominican Republic for distribution; getting these materials from the D.R. into Haiti is a costly enterprise in itself as the roads are not the best. We are hoping to hear that our shipments can be accepted in Haiti directly but as yet this is not possible.

Remember that Portlight's focus in this disaster is going to be people with disabilities in Haiti, providing Medical equipment, shelter and food for them. Haiti is our neighbor, and the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. In many ways, the Haitians are a forgotten people and people with disabilities in Haiti are frequently barely seen as human.

While Portlight WILL NOT be placing any staff in Haiti until we can assure their safety, rest assured that we will be staffing shelters in the near future. Anyone interested in going to Haiti to help staff one or more shelters for Haitians with disabilities please email us at paul@portlight.org

I want to take a second and thank Dr. Masters and the staff at Wunderground for their help; Dr. Masters has always been a friend of Portlight and without him we would have a much more difficult time getting our message out. You are as much a part of our successes as anyone and for that we are deeply grateful!

Portlight's plan for Haiti

By: Floodman, 4:55 AM GMT on January 14, 2010

There is no pretty way to put this: the earthquake in Haiti will make all recent disasters in this part of the world pale by comparison, especially in the human toll. We've all seen the initial video and photos; the destruction is unimagninable. We at Portlight provide relief for ignored or under-served victims of disasters of all kinds and the Haitian earthquake will be no exception. Our goal is to provide relief for the disabled survivors of the disaster, though we will turn no one away.

To accomplish our goals we will need all the help we can get from volunteers here and in Haiti and through donations made to Portlight, be they food, medical supplies, clothing or money.

We plan to address this disaster with a three-pronged attack, starting with the most essential needs first:

1. Water Supplies

The earthquake has destroyed what infrastructure was in place before; we have 6 self-contained water treatment/filtration systems that can provide water for 3500 people each daily.

Self-contained water treatment/filtration systems


Self-contained water treatment/filtration system

It costs $1200 each to ship them; we have the funds currently to ship 2 with more donations coming in all the time. We need your help; keep the PayPal button firing at Portlight so that we can get all of these systems shipped and in operation as soon as possible. Our goal is to have these systems operational within a few days so your help is crucial!

2. Durable and Emergency Medical Supplies and Equipment

We have received numerous donations of medical supplies and we have a great deal warehoused; we are currently getting our warehoused goods assembled for transport to Haiti. The first push of this part of the relief will be medical supplies and mechanical goods for the disabled there, wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and many other items too numerous to mention here. Again, the goal is to get these materials on the ground and in place within a few days so we will need your help!

3. Establishing, Staffing and Maintaining Shelters/Clinics

Paul Timmons has been in contact with the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur to get some idea as to the extent of the damage and to gauge the need; with most of Port Au Prince in ruins, the need for shelter is paramount. While we have received donations of medical equipment and offers from the Sisters to help in staffing these shelters, we are asking for volunteers to help staff the shelters. This is a long term commitment by Portlight and we ask that only people serious about helping in the shelters volunteer.

Please remember that any donation, no matter how small will help in this time of great need; you can make donations to Portlight at our website:

www.portlight.org

Or by check (made payable to Portlight Strategies) sent by post to

Portlight Strategies, Inc.
2043 Maybank Hwy
Charleston, SC 29412

I will be on the Barometer Bob show on Thursday January 14th at 9PM EST to discuss the Portlight strategy and where we are currently, so tune in!


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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