Certainly, Burley knew about the devastation in Haiti from the earthquake that struck in January, but nothing could have prepared her for the sights that met her 18-member Project Helping Hands team when the plane reached the capital city of Port-Au-Prince.With the ongoing (though possibly optimistic- I'm trying to find clearer info) situation in the Gulf, it's easy to forget. We are, as a nation, fabulously forgetful. In case you need a reminder,
“I had only flown over big cities like Seattle which had huge houses and were really organized,” Burley said. “When we were flying over Haiti all I could see were blue tarps. Then we immediately saw all of the fallen houses.”
The Haiti airport was chaos. The baggage claim area was a free-for-all where the PHH team “made a mad dash to get our stuff” before it could be stolen. Burley was carrying 150 pounds of luggage, almost all of it medical supplies.
Next, she was greeted by “hundreds of faces looking at you. It was a little scary at first.”
The weather was strictly abominable, 90 degrees hot mixed with 90 percent humidity. “You felt you couldn’t breathe,” Burley said.
In their first two days in the country, her mission team treated 900 patients.
The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian Government reported that an estimated 230,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless.Haiti is still in desperate need even 4 1/2 months later, and will be for years to come. Please remember.