Plans for a second humanitarian trip to Haiti by the Utah Hospital Task Force have been canceled, according to an e-mail update from the group.
About 150 members of the group, including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, contractors and Creole-speaking LDS returned missionaries. will return home sometime this week.
They'd initially planned to send subsequent groups. But food, shelter and water have become Haiti's most dire needs "and this is not our mission," the e-mail said.
"Therefore, the UHTF has decided not to take a large second plane to Haiti."
The group's leaders based the decision on factors such as native workers returning to hospital jobs and the completion of most of the critical wound care. The group also has safety and transportation concerns as control of the airport in Port-au-Prince is being turned back over to the Haitian government this week. U.S. military teams are also beginning to leave — and take their planes with them. Many groups had relied on the U.S. military to take them where they were needed and provide some security.
"The volunteer team leaders in Haiti are ... unwilling to incur the risk of having a second team of 120 doctors, nurses and translators stuck in a country with little available food and water, inadequate medical care, uncertain ground transport, increasing risk of disease and increasing hunger of the populace," the e-mail said.
The group recommends volunteers go to Haiti in smaller groups under the auspices of Healing Hands for Haiti — and all money donated to the task force will go to Healing Hands, which provides rehabilitation services to Haitians with disabilities. HHH is a 501(c)3 organization.
—Lois M. Collins