Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 1/28/2010 [Archive]

32 Children are Missing

32 Children Are Missing

By Martha Randolph Carr

The stories out of Haiti have turned from being mostly about the initial devastation and are beginning to focus on recovery. However, there is one pressing news item that has gone largely overlooked. The charity, Mercy and Sharing, www.haitichildren.org, a well-respected non-profit that has been operating in Haiti for over 15 years, was maintaining an abandoned baby unit at the public hospital, General Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

There were 32 children residing in the ward when the earthquake took place. All of the children were either severely handicapped or terminally ill. Susie Krabacher, the founder of Mercy and Sharing, and Madame Chenet, the charity's resident supervisor, have been trying to get information about what happened to the children.

The hospital and charity had been reported to be tangled in a dispute for the past nine months over the continued care of the children for some time. According to Mercy and Sharing, the hospital did not want to keep caring for the long-term children but were unwilling to release them to an orphanage. People from former President Bill Clinton's Global Initiative even tried to persuade the hospital to release the children but to no avail. The charity was concerned about the basic well-being of the handicapped children in particular, based on previous documented incidents.

Now, the children have disappeared. Although the hospital's structure was not damaged the children are no where to be found.

Initial reports were that the children, who were supported by Mercy and Sharing, were moved to an undisclosed location but the information has been widely varied, incomplete and vague. There were reports that Partners in Health, www.standwithhaiti.org, took over General Hospital three days after the quake but they have been unable to provide any information as well. No one seems to know where 32 children with special needs, many of whom no one wanted, are now residing.

If you'd like to help, add your voice to the outcry over the missing children and write to Mercy and Sharing, Partners in Health and the Red Cross, www.redcross.org to let them know that we care and we want some accountability for those who can not speak for themselves.

Another interesting footnote to the crisis in Haiti happened this past weekend when Mercy and Sharing was finally able to move supplies by boat into Arcahaie, bypassing the bottleneck in Port-au-Prince, with the assistance of Captain Walter Rowan and his crew. Joe Krabacher, Susie's husband, reports that there was a crowd of around 300 people with a 50-foot boat on the beach apparently trying to make a run for Florida.

There have been rumors circulating throughout Haiti that US policy toward people coming in from Haiti by boat has changed and desperate people may be attempting a desperate and dangerous move.

Just seven miles up the coast, Captain Rowan was able to make shore with rice, water and basic medical supplies at a fenced-in resort where people were reportedly lounging by the pool with cocktails. It should be noted that the resort was happy to let the boat land so that the supplies could be brought in to the children in Mercy and Sharing's care in Williamson.

While the world continues to move forward and the people of Haiti continue to reemerge from the rubble let us not forget about these 32 children who were seen as a burden by some and a blessing by others. What we all want to know is really a very simple question that to date no one has been willing to answer.

Where are each one of the 32 children from General Hospital and who is caring for them now?

Martha's latest book to embrace change, Live Your Big Adventure is now available at www.marthasbigadventure.com. Email Martha at: Martha@marthasbigadventure.com.

© 2010 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Sales@cagle.com.

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