VA Provides Relief in Haiti

Uploaded by DeptVetAffairs on 29.01.2010

LYDIA VALDEZ, VHA OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS:  Since the quake was reported, VA has moved
quickly to identify people and material that could be made available to assist.  Hundreds
of VA staff with medical and technical skills maintain their readiness to deploy to areas
hit by natural disaster or other emergencies. Because of the international nature of this
crisis, language facility, passport and vaccination status are added criteria. In addition to
a handful of veterans and dependents receiving benefits from VA, a number of staff members
also have family connections there.  In addition to preparing medical teams to deploy, the
VA Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico, loaded 12 containers of medical
supplies to be airlifted to Haiti. The containers included basic medical supplies, oxygen tanks
and pharmaceuticals and came from various VA medical facilities in Florida and San Juan.
 VA worked in close coordination with the U.S. Southern Command, the Army Reserve and
the Puerto Rico Army National Guard to get the items to an Argentinean medical team in
Haiti.  Dr. Paul Kim, VA’s Director of Planning and National Security Service, said
VA’s Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System is ready to respond.
truly, an integrated response to the disaster in Haiti.  The integrated operations center
is the fusion center for all information that either comes into VA or we send out to our
federal partners, and they have their finger on the pulse on not only this disaster but
anything that may impact the department as a whole.  One of the initial effort was by
VHA.  VHA maintains a database, which is called the Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel
System.  Once they heard what was going on in-country (Haiti), they scrubbed the database
and looked for clinicians that would be suited for this type of response.  They identified
over a hundred people who speak French, those who speak Creole.  They’ve been on a waiting
list, prepared to go at any time.