Aspenites salvage schools, clinics in Haiti
ASPEN – Aspenite Susie Krabacher managed to make it into Haiti on Sunday and found conditions at her foundation’s facilities as bad or worse than feared, according to her husband, Joe.
A hospital, clinic and office building that the Krabachers’ Mercy and Sharing Foundation started in Port-au-Prince in the mid-1990s was “pancaked” by last week’s powerful earthquake, said Joe Krabacher, who stayed in Aspen to coordinate the foundation’s communications and fundraising.
The foundation employed four doctors and eight employees at the clinic. It’s unknown how many staff members or patients survived. Krabacher said his team has only been able to contact two doctors from the facility.
Elsewhere in the capital, the foundation’s Cazeau orphanage is in ruins. At least one staff member was injured, but the children were unharmed in the quake. Krabacher said his wife’s team was moving the children Monday from that orphanage in the city to the foundation’s Williamson campus in the country, roughly 40 miles north-northwest of Port-au-Prince.
The Mercy and Sharing Foundation operates another school in the slums of the capital. The Krabachers have been unable to find out the condition of the facility. Their foundation also operates an abandoned baby unit in a public hospital. Those children, some with transmittable diseases, were moved to an undisclosed location.
The Williamson project is the Krabachers’ biggest facility and one of its more recent undertakings. The school and feeding center is located on 20 acres and supplied by its own well. However, the generators haven’t worked for days for lack of fuel, so there is no power for the water pumps or electricity.
Susie Krabacher’s team made it to Williamson late Sunday. Krabacher flew to the Dominican Republic, then drove into Haiti with three affiliates of the foundation and two security guards. The guards are essential for moving around the ravaged country because of the presence of “roving gangs,” Joe Krabacher said. “They’re stopping people and taking whatever they can get.”
Once Susie Krabacher’s contingent arrived at Williamson late Sunday, they found only a handful of the 85 employees were at the site; they were trying to care for hundreds of children. Many of the kids hadn’t received food or water for two days, and disabled children had bed sores.
Krabacher said Monday that his wife’s team had acquired 30 gallons of diesel fuel, among other supplies, and were traveling back to Williamson to get the generators and water pumps operating, at least for a while.
“We know these next few days are critical to stabilizing the situation,” he said.
The foundation is accepting donations to buy supplies and two heavy trucks to deliver them. It cannot accept supplies yet because of the logistical nightmare of receiving and distributing materials in the devastated city, Krabacher said. Donations can be made online at http://www.haitichildren.com/donation/.
Also, there are a number of fundraisers planned in the Roaring Fork Valley for Haitian relief. They include:
• A benefit for the Mercy and Sharing Foundation will be held from 6-9 p.m. Thursday at the Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village. “Stand-up For Haiti” will feature local comics and musicians. Admission will be free, but attendees will be expected to pick at least one of several methods to make a donation. There will be reserved VIP tables, an auction and “Karma jars.” The event is the brainchild of Gail Mason and Mark Thomas, operating at Comedy Mercenary Productions. The Viceroy is providing the space and staff necessary to pull it off.
• “Tea for Haiti” will be held by the Western Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross in the Aspen Room of the St. Regis Resort from 3-6 p.m. Thursday. Reservations can be made by calling 920-7356. All proceeds will benefit the Red Cross Haiti Relief Operations.
• Donations will be accepted through Sunday in several locations in the valley for God’s Littlest Angels orphanage in Haiti. Baby items needed include: powdered formula, diapers, porta-cribs, baby cereal, infant Tylenol, infant and children’s vitamins, antibiotic cream, antifungal cream, baby lotion, baby powder, baby shampoo, baby blankets, summer clothing for sizes newborn to 16 (no winter items) and all sizes of shoes.
Drop-off locations are the Aspen Daily News, 517 E. Hopkins Ave.; Snowmass Village Town Hall, through Friday; 0026 Eagles Nest Court in Blue Lake; 104 Garfield Ave. at the intersection of 2nd Street in Carbondale; Pediatric Partners, 1905 Blake Ave., suite 201 in Glenwood Springs.
• A benefit concert and silent auction for Haiti children will be held from 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House. All proceeds will go to the Mercy and Sharing Foundation. More information is available at http://www.HaitiBenefitConcert.com.
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The Brush Creek Fire, located near Brush Mountain on Douglas Pass, and the Oil Springs Fire, located 20 miles south of Rangely and about 11 miles from the Brush Creek Fire, are contributing to the smokey air in and around Garfield County