A team of seven North Carolina Baptist Men volunteers stuck in Dominican Republic as of Friday morning, connected with the Hungarian Baptist international search and rescue team, and gained U.N. escort into Haiti. They set to work immediately rendering medical aid.
A crowded Port-au-Prince airport had prevented the team from gaining permission to fly into Haiti.
According to Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Coordinator Gaylon Moss, the team consists of a doctor, a paramedic, three emergency medical technicians and two other helpers. They flew Thursday to Dominican Republic.
Haiti has a population similar in size to North Carolina, but is desperately poor, with people typically living on $2 a day. The government has depended for years on charities to provide basic services.
In a Baptist Global Response report earlier this week David Brown, who directs Baptist Global Response work in the Americas, estimated that 2 million people in Port-au-Prince are directly affected.
While N.C. Baptist Men’s phones have been ringing off the hook for three days with volunteers eager to help, it will be some time before general relief help can be brought online. The first and immediate need is for medical personnel and funds for supplies
“Haiti will be a long-term ministry,” Moss said. “We do believe we will be using lots of volunteers, but I cannot venture to guess when we will be ready to deploy them.”
Moss said the earthquake in Haiti created devastation “on a tsunami scale.”
He emphasized that 100 percent of any donation to N.C. Baptist Men for Haitian disaster relief “will go directly to helping Haitians recover from this devastation.”
“We are joining the efforts of many organizations to provide immediate, emergency response to Haiti,” said Moss. “But ongoing efforts of N.C. Baptist Men and the volunteers that will help in coming months will be to offer the hope of Christ with the hand up.”
Checks designated for Haiti disaster relief, made payable to NC Baptist Men, can be mailed to NC Baptist Men, PO Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512.