Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI
BRUNSWICK - The devastation and suffering in Haiti from the Jan. 12 earthquake was so overwhelming that a veteran relief worker from Brunswick-based MAP International said he felt uncomfortable witnessing victims' pain and grief.
"You feel like you are invading people's privacy and intruding on their hurt ... but people are so grateful for that people have come to help," said John Garvin, MAP's relief director.
Grim though the situation is, the spirit of the Haitian people remains indomitable, he said. Medicine and supplies sent by the Christian relief organization are proving essential to relief efforts.
"The destruction is citywide and beyond. It's everywhere. People are living in the streets whether their homes were damaged or not because of fear the buildings will collapse," Garvin said, after spending nearly a week there.
Streets and roads are clogged with people, vehicles and, in some areas, rubble.
"People have moved out into the streets to live. People have taken rocks out into the roadway and laid out a little territory. That's their home, the place they return to at night to sleep. They are sleeping in the road, their face just inches away from vehicles driving by," he said.
MAP has shipped or packaged for shipment at least $7 million of medicine and medical supplies to Haiti since the magnitude 7.0 earthquake devastated the island nation, organization officials said.
Garvin returned Friday after nearly a week in Haiti helping distribute critical supplies. MAP shipped antibiotics, pain relievers, bandages, gauze and medical essentials to hospitals, clinics and medical mission teams working through MAP's partner agencies in Port au Prince.
Garvin visited one of the medical mission teams from the United States that has established makeshift field hospitals amid the rubble in the hardest-hit neighborhoods of the nearly leveled Port-au-Prince.
The doctors and nurses are working around the clock treating people with injuries including arms or legs amputated by falling walls, and head and internal injuries from being crushed by debris, he said.
"There were more patients than they could take care of, many with injuries more severe than you can deal with at a first-level clinic like that," Garvin said.
One man sat stoic and still in a chair as his scalp was sutured back together without anesthetic because the doctors had none at that time. Another man's leg was severed by a cement block that fell on him. Eight children of one family were killed, but four siblings and their father were injured and survived, he said. …