Chicago-area volunteer returns from Haiti

January 27, 2010 4:33:14 AM PST
It's been two weeks since an earthquake struck Haiti, and there's still a shortage of medical help and supplies.A west suburban woman just returned from the disaster zone. Carole Burke-Hallberg learned firsthand how much need there still is in Haiti.

Video of the devastation is dramatic but to Carole Burke-Hallberg the pictures are personal. She and a photographer shot the video as she documented relief efforts of Lions Club International.

"I have never seen a more heartbreaking situation. That people that are just so desperate and in need and hurt and traumatized," said Carole.

Carole was part of a group from the Lion's Club that traveled to the Dominican Republic, then bused to Port-Au-Prince to deliver a truckload of emergency supplies, including tents tends for the hundreds of thousands of people left homeless. Lions Club International has raised nearly a million dollars for their continuing commitment to Haiti.

"More than you could even imagine how widespread and desperate," said Carole.

A group of 23 nurses and medical staff from the group Little by Little based in Chicago, returned from Haiti several days after the quake. They had been there nearly two weeks before the quake providing medical needs. Then they found themselves stranded.

Board member Mary Gomez, and several others, worked the phones constantly, trying to get them home. She will now be Congressman Mark Kirk's guest of honor at the State of the Union address helping focus continued attention on Haiti.

"It is a country that is so impoverished that I really want them to know that any efforts we make will make it a better country and they would be very appreciative, it's just the type of people they are. They will appreciate it," said Gomez.

Gomez was in Haiti a year ago and hopes to return. Her immediate travel plans call for her to leave for Washington in the morning and Wednesday night she'll be in the congressional chamber listening to the president.