LES CAYES, Haiti (KDKA) – Joining organizations like Brother’s Brother, other groups have been working on the ground in Haiti for a long time and they’re now dealing with an influx of people in need of medical aid.
Among those groups is Hôpital Albert Schweitzer.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: State Reports 5,786 New Cases, 72 Additional Deaths
They serve 350,000 people in Haiti and their development team is based in Pittsburgh.
CEO Jean Marc de Matteis joined KDKA News at 7:30 to discuss the ongoing efforts in central Haiti.
The hospital, celebrating its 65th year, has been at the forefront of serving those in Haiti.
“This is our 65th year of being open here in Haiti, and our founders, Dr. Larry Mellon and his wife Gwen established the hospital in 1956,” de Matteis said. “Our service area is close to 450,000 people, so it’s like being the only hospital for a town like Pittsburgh.”
It has been all hands on deck for the hospital and its staff, with efforts ongoing in coordination with the United States Coast Guard, following a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.READ MORE: Death Penalty Sought Against Krisinda Bright, Ambridge Mother Accused Of Killing Her 2 Kids
“It is extremely devastating, just now, I landed at one of the hospitals that we support that we’re helping with and coordinating evacuations, hospitals are overwhelmed and hospitals like ours need to be available to take the overflow of patients,” he said. “I found a 14-year-old boy in a hospital with his father, [their] house collapsed, his father had lost all four of his children, and his wife and this was his only surviving child. We were able to get him on a Coast Guard helicopter, evacuated, and into a hospital facility. It’s been very, very difficult.”
To make matters worse, less than a week after the earthquake, a tropical storm is approaching the area and could dump up to 15 inches of rain on the already devastated region.
“The rain has started right now, I would really like a parenthesis for the United States Coast Guard, they’ve been flying their helicopters crews out of the Bahamas and Puerto Rico have been flying nonstop flights, including here with this child,” de Matteis recalled. “We flew into the tropical storm and back, with patients, to evacuate patients. I really wanted to acknowledge the U.S. Coast Guard tonight.”
So, how can Pittsburgh help Hôpital Albert Schweitzer and the people of Haiti?
“We feel a deep connection to the people of Pittsburgh, they can go onto our website and show their support in that way, our facility is there, we’re ready to accept patients, we have a full medical team in place, and we’re supporting logistic efforts all across Haiti to save lives,” he said.MORE NEWS: Mustafa Alowemer, North Side Church Bomb Plot Suspect, Pleads Guilty To Aiding ISIS In Federal Court
For more on Hôpital Albert Schweitzer’s efforts and how you can help, visit their website at this link.