Less than one hour after seeing the devastation on the news, Bridge Foundation began securing the appropriate supplies. This was made possible through extensive network of contacts and experience in responding to numerous types of disasters, especially earthquakes. Bridge Foundation created two NEHK’s (New Emergency Health Kits) – built specifically for victims of earthquakes -- can address the basic health care needs of 10,000 people for three months. Within hours of the news reports, the EHK’s were in the air from Europe to Miami for onward carriage by a Bridge Foundation Charter flight directly into Port Au Prince. Bridge Foundation operated three dedicated airlifts and several smaller shipments of essential drugs, medical supplies and food to assist the affected population. Bridge Foundation also delivered more than 800 Biomass stoves for families and institutional use, which burn cleaner, use less fuel and are more economical than any other stove of their kind. Because much of Haiti had been deforested, the stove became an essential survival tool. The food commodities Bridge Foundation supplied were also compatible with the local diet.
According to the airport manager for DHL, one of the world’s largest international shipping firms, Bridge Foundation supplies were the first to arrive at Port Au Prince airport. Bridge staff and volunteers traveled to Haiti via the Dominican Republic as well as from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and arrived into Haiti within 48 hours. Due to the devastation and continued aftershocks, Bridge Foundation staff and seasoned volunteers, pitched tents near the runways at the airport. Being first into the country helped cultivate relations including with the US-FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) special operations team that was on the ground to assist airport personnel. The air traffic control tower had sustained heavy damage during the quake.
Bridge Foundation provided food to airport workers who were all but forgotten -- a niche Bridge Foundation helped to address. Many airport workers lost family members as well as their homes. Despite the devastation, many stayed and worked. The airport could not have functioned in those first critical days without their help. To help support the airport workers and their families, Bridge Foundation provided several days of food for them and their families. Bridge Foundation also coordinated with our in-country partners who assisted in providing clean, potable water from a brewery to United Nations relief workers who dispatched trucks providing water to numerous temporary housing centers. Once the initial shock and aftershocks were over, the people of Haiti then began the arduous task of getting their lives back to a sense of normalcy. To help, Bridge Foundation partnered with the UN and FilmAid and provided several stadium-size screen televisions for the local population so they could view the World Cup Soccer matches.
Donor / Sponsor / Media Feedback:
“…and that’s been our experience…working with the right partner…we work with the Bridge Foundation an NGO...that’s really an expert in disaster relief…and we established strong relationships’ with these partners.”
Ivan Menezes, Chief Operating Officer, Diageo
January 19, 2010 CNBC’s Closing Bell with Sue Herera