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On the Ground in Haiti: A Psychiatrist's Evaluation of Post Earthquake Haiti
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On the Ground in Haiti:
A Psychiatrist's Evaluation of Post Earthquake Haiti

On January 12, 2010, one of the worse natural disasters in the Western Hemisphere, the worst earthquake in 200 years—7.0 in magnitude—hit Haiti, leaving the capital city of Port-au-Prince in ruins. The initial quake was later followed by twelve aftershocks greater than magnitude 5.0. Structures of all kinds were damaged or collapsed, from shantytown homes to national landmarks. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with limited infrastructure and makeshift dwellings. Figures released by the Haitian government estimated the dead at 140,000. However, it is widely believed that the death toll is much higher. The body count continued to rise as rescue workers from all over the world mounted heroic rescue efforts. What will it take to rebuild Haiti? What are the dimensions of the Haitian catastrophe?1

On January 28, 2010, the lead author went on a disaster relief mission to Haiti under the joint auspices of Arise and Walk Ministries Foundation,2 and Bethel Gospel Assembly. Dr. Bailey, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Executive Director of the Lloyd Elam Mental Health Center, at the School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College is the speaker of the House of Delegates of National Medical Association (NMA). Dr. Bailey is a disaster relief veteran who led NMA's outstandingly successful relief efforts during the infamous hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans on August 29, 2005.

The Arise and Walk Ministries Foundation is a disaster relief organization led by Mark J. Wade, MD, a pediatrician based in Newark, New Jersey. Dr. Wade is the founder and CEO of Wade Healthcare Systems, Inc. (WHS), a physician-owned and operated health care management and consultation company. Arise and Walk Ministries Foundation is a Christian-based ministry whose mission is to equip and empower the local church with the health care personnel, expertise, and resources necessary to provide health care excellence as an integral part of their missionary outreach to the nations of the world as a tangible demonstration of God's power and His love for all people.2 Dr. Mark Wade is a member of the Board of Trustees of the NMA. [End Page 417]

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Bethel Gospel Assembly, under the leadership of Bishop Carlton Theophilus Brown is a Christian church based in Harlem, New York, committed to reaching the world, making disciples locally and globally through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.3 Bethel Gospel Assembly Ministries includes six churches in Transkei, South Africa. Bishop Brown has served in missions assignments. He has been a conference and crusade speaker overseas in Azerbaijan, Russia, Cuba, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Panama, South Africa, Venezuela, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Trinidad, Barbados and Aruba, as well as around the United States Bethel Gospel Assembly.

The NMA, Arise and Walk Ministries Foundation, and Bethel Gospel Assembly are attempting to work with other well-meaning professional and philanthropic organizations for ongoing support. The goal is to nurture these relationships into fruitful, effective, productive, and helpful resources that will help Haitian people rebuild their devastated lives.

Dr. Rahn Bailey and his team arrived at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Thursday, January 28, 2010 amidst great concern about security required to enter Haiti. There were reports that all of the country's prisoners had to be released following the devastating earthquake. This report heightened the apprehension of having dangerous criminals in the streets of Haiti. Another group ahead of Dr. Bailey's team had reportedly been intercepted by unidentified armed militia. Haitian police, a group of four armed policemen wielding semiautomatic rifles, provided escort for the NMA team en route to Haiti. The United Nations Security forces walked the streets, providing strong command presence. Their presence certainly helped bring a sense of stability to the pervasive feeling of vulnerability. [End Page 418]

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Dr. Bailey and his team brought much needed supplies to the helpless and stranded people of Haiti. The supplies included food, bottled water, wheel chairs, medical and...