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The Daily Wildcat

 

    Haiti still getting aid from UA

    Valentina Martinelli /Arizona Daily Wildcat 

Dr. Joe Tabor, an assistant professor in the rural health office, gives a lecture on his recent trip to Haiti in Drachman Hall on April 26, 2010. Dr. Tabor went to Haiti in conjunction with the Save the Children organization to make an assessment of the after affects of the earthquake in Haiti and made recommendations for recovery.
    Valentina Martinelli
    Valentina Martinelli /Arizona Daily Wildcat Dr. Joe Tabor, an assistant professor in the rural health office, gives a lecture on his recent trip to Haiti in Drachman Hall on April 26, 2010. Dr. Tabor went to Haiti in conjunction with the Save the Children organization to make an assessment of the after affects of the earthquake in Haiti and made recommendations for recovery.

    The earthquake in Haiti is no longer breaking news, but UA doctors, professors and students haven’t forgotten the devastated country.

    Dr. Joe Tabor, an assistant professor in the Rural Health Office of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, recently returned from a trip to Haiti.

    Tabor spent three weeks in the country and spoke about his experience on Monday.

    Tabor was sent to Haiti by Save the Children, an organization working to improve the lives of children around the world.

    He worked in the rural parts surrounding Port-au-Prince to assess of conditions in the country. The goal was to discover the problems the country faces and where these problems lie for the use of non-governmental organizations.

    Haiti faced structural challenges before the earthquake struck. Education levels are low, communities face sanitation issues and many people sell goods on the street for their livelihood.

    Tabor explained how these pre-existing problems led to immense damage after the earthquake.

    Buildings in Haiti are often poorly constructed due to a lack of skilled labor.

    “”They’re just getting by,””  Tabor said of the buildings under normal conditions.

    Buildings in Port-au-Prince completely collapsed after the earthquake. Even structures in rural areas were affected.

    “”Even far away there were impacts of the earthquake,”” Tabor said. “”The area I worked in, there were cracks and damages, but people were okay to stay in buildings.””

    Families that were already struggling offered their homes to displaced friends.

    “”There were families who took in five, six households,”” Tabor said. “”They’re eating their seed for crop next season. They’re in a world of hurt.””

    Tabor gave short-term and long-term recommendations for development in the country and addressed the issues they face.

    “”A real problem in Haiti is that people don’t work well together. There’s a lot of distrust,”” Tabor said, who found that working with sub-groups, like churches, was necessary.

    Tabor believes that improved education, psychosocial counseling for children and programs rewarding work with food and cash are most important for Haiti’s recovery.

    Tabor hopes to see long-term improvements through water and sanitation improvement, road rehabilitation and vocational training.

    “”There are plenty of opportunities and ideas,”” Tabor said. “”Just a little bit of empowerment can go a long way in these communities.””

    UA students have also traveled to Haiti to offer service.

    About 13 students from Damascus Road, a religious community on campus, spent their spring break in the devastated country.

    The group arranged the trip through missionaries working in Haiti.

    “”I wanted to go just to help people,”” said Ingrid Sam, a religious studies and pre-physiology sophomore. “”I was not sure what to expect two months after the earthquake.””

    The group stayed in tents on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. They mainly helped with the reconstruction of a church that also serves as a school.

    “”People would come by. They wanted to see what we were doing and thank us,”” Sam said.

    Sam noted the massive number of displaced people living in tents.

    “”No one wanted to go back into their homes because they were scared,”” she said. “”They had tarps. Some of them were sheets.””

    The group also traveled to the center of the destruction in Port-au-Prince.

    “”People just don’t have the resources to clean it up,”” Sam said. “”Honestly, it made me angry. There’s a clear need of people needing water and food, but they weren’t getting it.””

    She added that the trip has made her more appreciative of her own life. She plans on going back to Haiti in July with Damascus Road.

    “”I just know I want to go back,”” Sam said. “”Having been there, there’s no way to not think about it anymore.””

    Dr. Jordan Smith, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at UMC, will continue UA aid to the country in May.

    Smith will spend 10 days in Haiti. His trip was organized through the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

    Smith will treat those injured in the earthquake and provide care for people whose community hospitals were destroyed.

    “”I will be providing treatment for people who would otherwise be going to hospitals that no longer exist,”” Smith said.

    Smith has previously worked on small relief trips in Mexico and expects conditions in Haiti will be rough.

    “”I expect to have challenges to do things we wouldn’t do here,”” Smith said. “”We’ll have to do them in unique ways with the supplies available.””

    Smith’s trip was motivated by his desire to assist those in need.

    “”Everybody likes to help,”” Smith said. “”You do what you can.””

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