256 ShelterBoxes that were dispatched from the prepositioned stock in Curacoa on Wednesday are due to touch down in Haiti late this afternoon, Haitian time, providing the plane they are on is cleared to land. However, the situation in Port au Prince is extremely fluid and logistics are changing minute by minute.
Aid workers for the international disaster relief charity ShelterBox have been in Port au Prince since Thursday and have been working around the clock assessing the most effective ways to distribute the much needed aid. The ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) members David Eby (US), Wayne Robinson (US) and Mark Pearson (UK) says the situation on the ground is frantic but they are doing all they can to make sure they deliver aid into Port au Prince as quickly as they can.
Mark Pearson, who was one of the first on the ground in the Indian Ocean Tsunami, said: 'This is worse than the Tsunami. It's utter chaos at the airport. Buildings have been completely destroyed, the hospital has been destroyed. It's a full scale emergency, there's so much destruction.
'The priority at the moment is search and rescue and then after that emergency shelter provision, so obviously there's frustration. There's no fuel and people are hunting for water. It's difficult to but the scale of destruction into words.'
A second Response Team, consisting of SRT members Mark Dyer and John Lacquey (both US), are in Miami, USA coordinating the ShelterBox logistical effort into Haiti from there. They will be joined later today by SRT member Ian Neal (UK) who will be travelling with the ShelterBoxes which are being shipped through Miami.
Before he left the UK, Ian said: 'I'm tasked with delivering emergency shelter to people affected by the earthquake. I'm just focusing on the good we can do.
'Every disaster comes with shocking images but I'm going to focus on giving help to the people who have survived the earthquake. We're just waiting for the ShelterBoxes to arrive which should be very soon.'
A Virgin Atlantic flight, loaded with ShelterBoxes, left the UK today heading for Miami. Virgin Atlantic are flying ShelterBoxes out of London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester airports. Volunteers at ShelterBox UK have worked through the night packing boxes and will still be in full swing throughout the weekend.
ShelterBox's Head of Operations, John Leach, added: 'We're doing all we can both here and in Port au Prince to clear the plane from Curacao for landing and we're also awaiting confirmation that the 70 boxes sent from El Salvador have arrived.
'The efforts of ShelterBox volunteers and supporters around the world is a true testament to the organisation. The job of getting aid to Haiti is well underway but there's more hard work ahead. Please help in anyway if you can.'
For more information or to receive high resolution images please contact Tommy Tonkins on 01326 569782 or firstname.lastname@example.org