Massive Flooding in Haiti, BlazeSports Delegation Safe


File picture, courtesy of Earthzine.

Torrential rain struck Haiti last night, turning many of the nation’s already rugged streets into rushing rivers and inflicting yet more damage on homes, vehicles, and, sadly, people. The Hindustan Times reports that seven are confirmed dead, but final numbers are still unknown.  I spoke to the BlazeSports delegation moments ago and they assure me that they’re all safe. Their night, however, was certainly eventful.

As I reported yesterday, the car of Haitian Paralympic Committee staffer Milien “Evans” Chery was swept away by a flash flood. Today, I got the full story. Evans and Leon, another HPC employee, returned to Leon’s home last night. To escape the rising waters, the two men and Leon’s wife–who is currently expecting a child–climbed onto the roof of the building in time to see Evans’ car succumb to the rushing waters. They then heard the cries of two children who had been caught in the flood, and Evans–an experienced swimmer–dove into the water and managed to rescue both children from the eddy that had captured them.

Meanwhile, Carol Mushett and Felipe Rodrigues of BlazeSports and John Chevalier Sanon of the HPC traveled into Cité Soleil to check on the Blaze Club at SOHaMO (Society of Handicapped and Aged). They used a four-wheel drive diesel truck that could safely transport them through high waters, but the combination of severe weather and darkness prevented them reaching the organization’s encampment. They have, however, been in communication with SOHaMO members and reports suggest that the camp was badly damaged in last night’s floods. When I spoke with the BlazeSports delegation this morning, they were preparing to head to SOHaMO to offer whatever assistance is necessary.

Just as when our team was in Gonaïves during October’s cholera outbreak, BlazeSports continues to be in the right place at the right time. In times of need, we stand prepared to help our friends in Haiti however we can.

The BlazeSports contingent includes:

  • Carol Mushett – BlazeSports – Chief Executive Officer
  • Dr. Michael Riding – BlazeSports – Board Member
  • Dan Humphreys – BlazeSports – Director of BlazeTEC
  • Gillian Sharp – Sport Specialist from Scotland
  • Senam Apaloo – BlazeSports – BlazeTEC Project Coordinator
  • Felipe Rodrigues – BlazeSports Intern
  • Lindsay Mushett – Sport Specialist

In brighter news, the team reports record attendance at a certification conference for disability sport professionals yesterday. Expect an update on that event once the emergency situation subsides.

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