Aid workers explain the humanitarian response to Hurricane Irma and the effort required to prevent a bad situation deteriorating further
Vincent DeGennaro, associate professor at University of Florida College of Medicine and medical director of Haiti Air Ambulance (speaking from Port-au-Prince)
I was worried this would be a catastrophe but fortunately it seems we avoided one. The government was much better prepared for this storm [than before]. They prepositioned materials, forcably evacuated people and had meetings on Thursday in preparation.
We got some rain here in [the capital] Port-au-Prince but not much more than a typical rainstorm. We’re waiting for more information from our partners up north, where there’s been some minimal flooding, and just need clearance to fly so we can get supplies to the public hospitals that are asking for them. We essentially have a flying intensive care unit on the helicopter: we take a ventilator, meds, oxygen, basically everything you need for critical care. The helicopter isn’t that big, so we take the supplies to hospitals, then we fly out someone who is sick and needs transport. During Hurricane Matthew last year we’d have three or four people who needed to be transported, but we would have to just choose one person – the sickest, the person most in need.