Aspen-based Haitian charity uncertain about its losses

An Aspen-based Haitian charity is working to determine how it might help the country in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake even as it struggles to assess its own losses from the disaster.

Aspen attorney Joe Krabacher, co-founder of the Mercy and Sharing Foundation, said the nonprofit group continues to fear that some of its 146 employees may have died. It has yet to hear from dozens of them, although he noted communications in Haiti continue to be a problem.

Krabacher also fears what might have happened to the 32 children in the organization’s abandoned baby unit, which it runs out of a space in a public hospital in Port-au-Prince.

“Their fate is uncertain, and we’re a little concerned because the public hospital is a dilapidated, rundown facility,” Krabacher said. “The abandoned baby unit is what we are currently asking people to really pray about.”

The unit provides care for “throwaway kids” who no one wants because they are severely disabled, he said.

The Mercy and Sharing Foundation’s president is Susie Krabacher, a former Playboy Playmate now focused on humanitarian work for children in Haiti. Joe Krabacher said his wife is trying to get into the country but has been unable to do so because of the disabled transportation system.

Joe Krabacher still is awaiting word but said the foundation’s headquarters and an accompanying medical clinic probably were damaged, and the same goes for a school it runs in a slum.

Another school it operates was damaged, but its students are OK, he said.

The foundation also suffered major damage to vehicles.

Two nutrition programs it runs far to the north of Port-au-Prince probably escaped unscathed, but are likely to be affected by an inability to ship supplies to them.

Fortunately, a complex the foundation began building three years ago about 40 miles from the capital, with orphanages, and a school, church and feeding center, is intact. Dignitaries had been invited to a dedication for it next week.

Now the foundation has offered it to the U.S. State Department as a staging area for earthquake victims, although Joe Krabacher said transportation difficulties between there and the capital could prove problematic.

Likewise, the foundation has about 100 tons of food, water and medical supplies ready to deliver to Haiti, but the logistics for doing so in the country’s debilitated state remain daunting.

“Even when the government’s operating, it’s a nightmare, so everyone’s still up in the air as to how and when is relief cargo going to be allowed into the country,” Joe Krabacher said.

Information on contributing to the foundation may be found at http://www.haitichildren.com/donation/make-a-donation.


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