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Thursday, January 14, 2010

LETTER FROM FACE AIDS EXECUTIVE

I wish the first FACE AIDS email of the new year was one of happier news. As you likely know, Haiti experienced a major earthquake yesterday which has devastated the country, leaving thousands dead. We have been in touch with our friends at Partners In Health who are working tirelessly to provide relief efforts, but more help is urgently needed.

We support PIH in Rwanda because they are hands down the most effective organization providing medical services to the poor, and the same is true in Haiti. PIH is in the unique position to help Haitians in this horrible tragedy because they are on the ground as the largest provider of medical care in rural Haiti. They primarily work outside of the capital city Port au Prince, which means they have not been crippled by this earthquake.

A note from PIH's Executive Director Ophelia Dahl is below - please read it for more information.

The heart of the relief response to this emergency can and no doubt will come from you and other FACE AIDS leaders around the country. Please, take action right now to help.

1. Donate, if you can: http://tinyurl.com/donate-pihhaitiquake
2. Forward this message to your chapter members, friends, family, etc. to spread the word.
3. Organize a relief event on your campus. Need help? Contact your Chapter Relations Director or respond to this email (julie@faceaids.org) and we'll get you connected to the resources you need.
4. Learn more. Sign up for email updates on PIH's Haiti earthquake relief efforts: http://tinyurl.com/pihlearnmorehaiti

Thank you for everything that you do. We'll be in touch next week with a kick off to FACE AIDS spring programming and events.

In solidarity,
Julie Veroff
FACE AIDS Executive Director

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From Ophelia, PIH Executive Director:

Dear Julie,

A major earthquake centered just 10 miles from Port-au-Prince has devastated sections of the city and knocked out telephone communications throughout the country. Reached via email, Partners In Health staff at our facilities in the Central Plateau report that they experienced a strong shock but no major damage or injuries. We are still attempting to establish contact with other PIH facilities and to locate several staff members who were traveling in and around Port-au-Prince.

In an urgent email from Port-au-Prince, Louise Ivers, our clinical director in Haiti, appealed for assistance from her colleagues in the Central Plateau: "Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS... Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us."

The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country. A massive and immediate international response is needed to provide food, water, shelter, and medical supplies for tens of thousands of people.

With our hospitals and our highly trained medical staff in place in Haiti, Partners In Health is already mobilizing resources and preparing plans to bring medical assistance and supplies to areas that have been hardest hit.

Both our teams in Boston and Haiti are already mobilizing to deliver resources as quickly as possible to the places where they are needed most.

Thank you for your solidarity during this crisis,

Ophelia Dahl
Executive Director

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