By Senator Bill Frist
Eight years ago exactly: When I showed up with another surgeon, two nurses 18 hours after the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake, we found hundreds of people lying on the floor suffering from devastating crush injuries. As surgeons we immediately started operating. It seems like yesterday. What we found is recorded in this video.
More than 200,000 people died, another half million were seriously injured, 1.5 million were displaced and nearly $8 billion worth of damage was done. Homes, businesses, schools and clinics instantly crumbled, taking life indiscriminately. As a surgeon, I led a volunteer medical response team from Samaritan’s Purse, and in the days following the quake, we helped care for hundreds of injured children and families.
In the years since, I have travelled back to Haiti repeatedly to assist with the recovery and rebuilding process, most recently in 2016. I worked with Presidents Clinton and Bush on the board of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to further support the strong and resilient Haitian people, focusing on rebuilding the economy.
My intimate experiences leave me humbled by the bold strength and remarkable resiliency of the Haitian women, children and men I met . Working by their side I continue to be emotionally inspired by their will and tenacity. Bless those who still are rebuilding from that fateful day, and for the deep losses that so many continue to feel. We will stay with you.