Aspen foundation learns of deaths of three kids in Haitian earthquake
ASPEN – Susie and Joe Krabacher of Aspen have discovered that three children their foundation helped care for in Haiti were killed in last week’s devastating earthquake.
The children were at a school the Krabachers’ Mercy and Sharing Foundation operates in Cite de Soleil, one of the poorest slums of the capital Port-au-Prince. The kids were killed outside of the school facilities, Joe Krabacher said.
The school building is standing but was damaged enough that it cannot be used, he said. At the least, it needs a new roof.
Susie Krabacher also revealed in an interview with CNN Wednesday morning that 32 children in an abandoned baby unit that the foundation funded in a public hospital were moved to an unknown location.
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“The unit is standing, the children are gone,” she told CNN.
Hospital officials either don’t know where the children were taken or they aren’t saying, she said.
The Mercy and Sharing Foundation sought permission to move the children to one of its orphanages several months before the earthquake, but no action was taken by the Haitian government, according to Krabacher. She said her “mission” is to find those children and make sure they are receiving care.
“These kids are like my flesh and blood,” she said.
The Krabachers are still trying to learn the fate of all their employees in Haiti and the children under their care. Communication is tough in the chaos.
Krabacher flew to the Dominican Republic last weekend and drove with a team into Haiti to check on the foundation’s schools, feeding centers, clinics and orphanages. The Krabachers co-founded the foundation in 1994.
The team Susie Krabacher is working with was able to move hundreds of children to their facility that’s in the best shape, the Williamson campus about 40 miles from Port-au-Prince.
“Our next challenges are to begin rebuilding our staff at Williamson,” Joe Krabacher wrote in an update on the foundation website. “They are for the most part missing, or in shock and unable to work, or busy searching for and burying their family members.”
The foundation has ample supplies for its Williamson facility. About 100 tons of food, water and medical supplies were en route Tuesday night, but handling the big supply of containers and guarding them present problems.
“We have no equipment to remove the containers from the trucks, and bringing in locals to help unload is only going to draw attention to the extremely valuable commodities in this upside-down world of Haiti,” Joe Krabacher said, “because everyone in the community will know where the food is located, and we are going to create security problems.”
The foundation is lining up security and arming them to keep the children safe and the supplies intact. Contributions to the Mercy and Sharing Foundation can be made at http://www.haitichildren.com/.
A fundraiser for the foundation will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village. “Stand-up for Haiti” will feature local comedians and musicians.
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