In response to the emergency in Haiti, the World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA) sponsored a special Mission-Chiropractic trip to the devastated country in January 2010.
Headed by Peter Morgan, DC, the team of 15 chiropractors and support staff flew to Haiti on Jan. 20 and spent five days delivering chiropractic care, first aid, and humanitarian relief to residents in an area close to Port Au Prince. In addition, the team distributed food and installed vital water filtration systems, which allowed people access to clean water for the first time since the Jan. 12 earthquake. The systems were donated by Connecticut-based KX Technologies.
Dr. Morgan, a long-time WCA member, is the founder and head of Mission-Chiropractic and has extensive emergency relief experience, including organizing efforts after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York. He and his volunteers had just returned from a regular chiropractic mission trip to Haiti on Monday, January 11 — one day before the earthquake destroyed much of the country and killed as many as 230,000 people.
Morgan’s team joined up with a group of volunteers headed by Herman Mendoza, founder of Stepping Stones Ministries. The two groups received clearance from the Haitian Consulate General in New York to provide relief assistance.
Because there were no available living accommodations in the area, the team was housed by one of Morgan’s patients in the area, chiropractic advocate and Haitian citizen Saurel Charles.
“We installed five water filtration systems in five different locations,” Morgan reported upon his return. “These systems will be used to provide clean drinking water to entire communities. Among the recipients was a makeshift hospital in the rubble of the worst hit section in Port Au Prince. A community ambulance service that was nearly totally destroyed, as was the house of the Pastor in the community that we adopted.”
Upon arrival, the chiropractic team rented three large SUVs and filled them with food and water as well as chiropractic tables.
“We adjusted a few thousand people in tent-city refugee camps around the corner from the Capitol building,” Morgan explained. “The next day, we ventured into the fields behind the US Embassy, where we offered low-tech bandaging and wound care. We adjusted hundreds of people who were living in makeshift tents constructed with sticks and bed sheets.
“As we worked on these people, they begged us for food and water stating, ‘We have not had a drink of water in many days. We need food and water!”
Throughout the trip, the team filled and emptied the SUVs again and again, bringing as much food and water as they could to the desperate people, giving adjustments whenever possible.
“Two associates of our team served in the hospitals assisting in amputations and delivering babies,” Morgan added.
The water filtration systems were a particular blessing to the people. Many people who survived the initial earthquake have since died from diseases contracted by drinking contaminated water.
According to one AP report, “Nearly a month after the quake, respiratory infections, malnutrition, diarrhea from waterborne diseases and a lack of appropriate food for young children may be the biggest killers, health workers say.”
Ironically, generous but ill-informed donors had shipped in huge quantities of powered infant formula, which was useless or dangerous due to the lack of clean water and access to sterilized bottles.
The neighborhood targeted by Morgan and his team, near their host’s home, was almost completely destroyed.
“The school, church, and most homes are gone,” he said. “We have decided to adopt this community. Our mission is to provide full time chiropractic at this location. We also intend to rebuild the school, church, and many homes. We would like to build a shelter at the home of Saurel Charles. We intend to continue to distribute water and food. The people in this community begged us to not forget them. We will not. Our plans are to have two-to-three full time chiropractors at this site until our mission is accomplished. We are asking the chiropractic profession to support our mission.”