Friday, October 7, 2011

A unique clothing drive to benefit women in earthquake damaged Haiti is in full swing - thanks to Dr. Allen Gabriel and his colleagues at PeaceHealth Medical Group Plastic Surgery. In November 2011, they launched the Gift of Lift Bra Donation Program to encourage women to donate their slightly used or new bras to a very worthy cause…the courageous women of Haiti. Along with life-saving medical supplies, Dr. Gabriel proudly takes the bras on his annual trip to Haiti where, in recent years, his work has involved general and major reconstructive surgery for the injured and disabled following the earthquakes that hit the region.

The response from the women in our community has been overwhelming, with bras in all shapes and sizes being donated everyday!  The uplifting success of the Gift of Lift program has made it possible to share the bras with women in a shelter in India, who fought to free themselves from the slave trade industry. The gift of a simple bra brings with it greater gifts…confidence and smiles!

If you have slightly used or new bras you would like to donate, please bring them to
PeaceHealth Southwest Plastic Surgery:
505 NE 87th Ave. Suite 250 (Bldg. A)
Vancouver, WA  98664

For more information, visit

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Secret History" of U.S. Bullying in Haiti at Oil Companies’ Behest

The Nation magazine, in partnership with the Haitian weekly newspaper, Haïti Liberté, has launched a series of reports based on more than 19,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. Called "The PetroCaribe Files," the series begins with an exposé of how the United States—with pressure from Exxon and Chevron—tried to interfere with an oil agreement between Haiti and Venezuela that would save Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, $100 million per year. "It’s really amazing to see an ambassador pushing around a president, and all his officials telling them what to do, that they don’t understand this, they don’t understand that, trying to tell them what Haiti’s interests are. It’s the epitome of arrogance," says the report’s co-author, Kim Ives.

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Press TV: Haiti cholera cases see sharp rise

Clinics in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince have been witnessing a sharp soar in cholera, with over 300 new cases emerging every day, a recent report says.
Cholera cases have increased in the densely populated area of Port-au-Prince's western downtown, at a rate which is more than three times the rate witnessed during the epidemic's earlier stages in the fall, international aid agency Oxfam said.
According to Haiti's health ministry, cholera has claimed the lives of over 3,500 people and affected more than 320,000 since its outbreak last October.
Haiti's government and medical groups have increased treatment for the waterborne disease, as it spreads at a quicker rate during the rainy season.
The country has yet to recover from the devastating January 2010 earthquake that killed 250,000 people and left the capital in ruins.
Get the full story here

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Haiti cholera 'far worse than expected', experts fear

Revellers bearing anti-cholera messages perform during the National Carnival celebrations in Haiti
The cholera epidemic affecting Haiti looks set to be far worse than officials had thought, experts fear. Rather than affecting a predicted 400,000 people, the diarrhoeal disease could strike nearly twice as many as this, latest estimates suggest. Aid efforts will need ramping up, US researchers told The Lancet journal. The World Health Organization says everything possible is being done to contain the disease and warns that modelling estimates can be inaccurate. Before last year's devastating earthquake in the Caribbean nation, no cases of cholera had been seen on Haiti for more than a century. The bacterial disease is spread from person-to-person through contaminated food and water. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, and patients, particularly children and the elderly, are vulnerable to dangerous dehydration as a result. Read the full article here 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Former Haiti president Aristide invited to return from exile

The populist leader Jean-Bertrande Aristide was twice deposed in coups The Government of Haiti has agreed to issue its exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide with a diplomatic passport, paving the way for a return which promises to further cloud the country's muddy political waters. Lawyers for Mr Aristide, who has been living in Africa since he was ousted in a 2004 coup, were assured yesterday that Haiti's cabinet would issue the document, should he choose to submit the necessary paperwork.

The decision removes a final hurdle preventing the left-leaning former president from carrying out his promise to return to Haiti "today, tomorrow, at any time", to help the nation rebuild after the earthquake which destroyed its capital city and killed as many as 300,000 people just over a year ago.

It nonetheless comes at a tricky moment. Today will see the official announcement of results from the first round of Haiti's most recent presidential elections, which took place in November and have since sparked occasional public unrest amid allegations of voter fraud.

Mr Aristide's former party, the Famni Lavalas, was banned from that poll on a technicality, after mistakes were discovered in paperwork it submitted to organisers. His presence in the country will inevitably add to pressure for the entire election to be scrapped and repeated.

Further intrigue surrounds the fact that Mr Aristide, 57, will join his lifelong bête noire, Jean-Claude Duvalier, the former dictator known as Baby Doc, in Haiti. Their joint return from exile will further polarise an already-tense political environment.

Mr Aristide, a former Catholic preacher who replaced Mr Duvalier as Haiti's first democratically elected leader in 1986, is romanticised by poorer Haitians, who continue to support his Famni Lavalas in large numbers.

Supporters say that coups which twice removed him from office, in 1991 and 2004, were orchestrated by the US government after he enacted economic reforms – including trade tariffs and increased minimum wages – which damaged American business interests. Opponents have accused him of corruption and human rights abuses, however.

Full article from the Independent.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Haiti earthquake: Aftershocks still felt by volunteers

Dr. Allen Gabriel, right, and Dr. Alex Soroceanu, an orthopedic resident from Montreal, wash a wound with a high-pressure sprayer to prepare for surgery at Hôpital Adventiste in June.
Dr. Allen Gabriel, right, and Dr. Alex Soroceanu, an orthopedic resident from Montreal, wash a wound with a high-pressure sprayer to prepare for surgery at Hôpital Adventiste in June.


One year later, local aid workers share experiences in devastated nation

This article by staff writer Tom Vogt appeared in the Columbian newspaper on the anniversary of last year's devastating earthquake in Haiti. It features stories of local Vancouver volunteers including our own and several of my photographs from the trip...
When people saw the scenes of devastation on their TV screens, it didn’t take long for many of them to respond to the earthquake in Haiti.
But even before the television coverage notified the world of the disaster on Jan. 12, 2010, two Clark County families were intimately involved in it.
Washougal resident Walt Ratterman was trapped and killed when the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince was shaken to pieces.
At another jumble of broken concrete, Vancouver native Chris Rolling helped save a girl who’d been trapped in the ruins.
Rolling, who runs a nonprofit in Haiti, was finishing up some errands in the capital when the quake hit late that afternoon. When the shaking stopped, Rolling heard people crying from the pancaked ruins of what had been a three-story school for girls.
“People in the first two floors were dead,” Rolling said last month while visiting his family in Vancouver.

Click here for the full article