05 February 2010
Champion of Respect now Champion of Hope in Haiti
Carwyn Hill, a founder of the Haiti Hospital Appeal in 2006, is fighting to save the injured and was compelled to open the hospital in north Haiti six months earlier than planned, due to the 12 Jan earthquake.
There was a sudden need for treatment and beds for casualties who had been transported up from the capital of Port au Prince. Mr Hill, now the CEO of the Haiti Hospital Appeal, and his colleagues opened and prepped the new hospital in Cap Haitian in order to accommodate as many people as possible arriving in a desperate condition after migrating away from the capital. The main hospital in the area had already become overcrowded.
Carwyn said: "When the extent of the chaos in Port-au-Prince was known on Wednesday night the trustees and I held late night meetings over Skype (the only communication available) to put together our three phase plan.
"I took our ambulance down to Port-au-Prince to take some immediate aid and to assess for ourselves the extent and impact of the disaster and to bring some refugees back here to safety in Cap Haitian."
He told British reporters of his first trip to Port au Prince and how the scale and horror of the devastation hit him. There has been a mass exodus from the capital as people seek assistance, hospitals with space or enough supplies to treat them, and the HHA team have been on the frontline of the relief effort.
Mr Hill called for urgent aid in the north saying that none of the aid agencies are distributing medical supplies to the north of Haiti and this is now urgent.
"We urge all agencies to be aware of this growing situation. We don't want to see another crisis develop over refugees in the North. We can cope provided we get the aid, that everyone thinks they have given for, directed here now".
In 2006, at age just 22 years, Carwyn won a Champions of Respect Award from the Evangelical Alliance for setting up the charity and being a prime mover in getting the Haiti Hospital Appeal started. He was motivated to do this after being shocked at seeing the dire conditions of the existing hospital and witnessing a young girl die because of a lack of basic healthcare.
Carwyn and his wife Reninca moved to Haiti in early January 2009 to oversee and assist the building project, leaving behind the familiarity of London. Now, they have decided to stay out there longer after the recent earthquake in order to be involved in the relief and mission of the hospital.
Recent extracts from the couple's blog told of strange contrasting experiences, some sad but others uplifting:
"Today we had 120 patients come to the clinic. Many in huge bus loads that had travelled for 4 hours to reach us. Most of these patients had come from Port au Prince, and even now, over two weeks on hadn't received any health care.
"Just a few nights ago a 13 year old boy got brought to our clinic at 9pm. Within a few hours of arriving he had tragically passed away. He had arrived too late. This is now the sad and tragic story for many people.
"Yet, at 7pm tonight I stood before our hospital buildings which have developed rapidly, and watched as a Haitian work force progressed on in the dark, morale high. There was an incredible atmosphere, a sense that we were part of something special. Something far deeper and more profound than the building of a hospital."