Yesterday, I received an official communication from the Government of Haiti, requesting WSPA’s immediate assistance and asking that WSPA staff be deployed to help with the emergency relief operation ‘as soon as possible’.
The Director of Inspection and Vigilance for the Environment, Environmental Department of the Government of Haiti, with whom I have been in touch over the last few days, wrote to me saying:
“After the information exchanges that we have been keeping and given the magnitude of the disaster suffered by Haiti, putting the country under great risk of infecto-contagious diseases spread and possible animal epidemic outbreaks; … both the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Department… have agreed that WSPA aid is very important… (and) suggest that WSPA should organise a trip to Haiti as soon as possible.”
As you know, over the last few days, our team of highly trained emergency relief staff have been ready and waiting for just such an opportunity. We have put together the equipment and medicines that we expect will be needed in Haiti and right this minute, we are preparing to fly in to Santo Domingo today. Once there, we will meet colleagues from the other organisations that are working as part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti and will proceed into Port au Prince together, at the earliest possible opportunity.
Since we now have an official request from the Haitians, I am even more confident that the ARCH team will be in Haiti without much further delay and that we will be able to complete a first-hand assessment of the situation on the ground.
I cannot be sure what we will find when we are out there (at last!) but having seen far too many disasters in regions less troubled than Haiti, I know it will not be easy...
With all our supporters’ prayers and hopes behind us, we are finally off!