Ham team pulls out of Haiti
Radio amateurs from the Dominican Republic have installed an amateur voice repeater link between their country and earthquake hit Haiti, but their plan to do much more in terms of emergency communications had to be cut short due to civil unrest. The repeater is providing the only communications for the Red Cross and Civil Defence.
Jim Linton - VK3PC
Ramon Santoyo XE1KK, Secretary IARU Region 2 advises that the HI8RCD (Radio Club Dominicano) team of eight radio amateurs had to flee the area after gunfire and were unable to stay and provide operators to activate a ham radio station Haiti. He said that this turn of events became known during a long telephone conservation with Hugo Ramn HI8VR, President of Radio Club Dominicano (RCD) who described the situation as extremely unsafe and scray. The HI8RCD team was embedded in a convoy when shots rang out resulting in several people being injured and one reported dead. The radio amateurs were not injured but decided to leave unescorted to reach safety at Jimanji in the Dominican Republic. Media reports indicate that the situation four days after the massive earthquake that has killed some 50,000 and caused widespread damage, is now chaotic as desperate people seek to secure their own survival.
Earlier Reverend John Henault HH6JH was able to make a couple of phone-patch calls on the 20m band Fred Moore W3ZU during which he described how there had been 30 after-shocks following the earthquake. John HH6JH in Port-au-Prince is doing missionary work with homeless children said, "It's bad, it literally is bad. We don't know how many people are dead. We do not know what to expect. It's chaos, I'm telling you, it's real chaos." Admitting he was concerned as after-shocks continue, he said "Many, many buildings in the downtown area are stripped from the ground with many people buried underneath them. "I'm okay, my house is okay," said John HH6JH, adding "We have had 30 aftershocks. We are expecting some more shocks, so I'm a bit nervous to be inside the house." He was using power from a neighbour's generator and very pleased that amateur radio enabled him to let his friends in the USA know he was alive.
Another radio amateur in the country, Pierre Petry HH2/HB9AMO who works for the UN food program is also safe. However nothing is known at this stage of about another ten hams in Haiti.
- IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Chairman, Jim Linton VK3PC.
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