Local medical teams race to Haiti

Local medical teams race to Haiti »Play Video
From left to right, Bill Essig, Anne Blaufus, and Joe and Linda Markee, of Medical Teams International pose for a photo at Portland International Airport Thursday before their flight to Haiti.

PORTLAND, Ore. - A four-member team with Medical Teams International left for Haiti Thursday to join the effort to help victims of the devastating earthquake in that country.

The team, which includes a husband and wife, expected to arrive in Haiti Friday morning.

Dr. Joe and Linda Markee spent two years living in Haiti and have watched closely to see if anybody they know has died in the quake, only to hear that some of their friends did perish.

“We know what it’s going to be like, unfortunately,” said Joe Markee. “But we know so many people. We’ve worked there for so many years, so we’re very excited to get back. So despite all the problems, we want to be there.”

Once the team arrives, its main priority will be to make sure Haitians have clean water. Team members will also be bringing medical supplies.

“We have to set up the equipment and other supplies in order to treat people that are coming with broken bones and fractures and deep tissue wounds,” said Bill Essig a third member of the team.

“Food and water is key, because if you don’t have that you might as well forget the Band-Aids and the medicines,” said the fourth member, Anne Blaufus.

Joe and Linda plan to be in Haiti for two months while Essig and Blaufus will be returning in four or five weeks.

An hour before their flight from Portland International Airport, the group received a phone call from their contact in Haiti, Delamy Bizilme, a priest, who told them what to expect when they arrived. The group said they were relieved to know someone would meet them at the airport.

“Just to know he’s going to be at the airport is a wonderful thing, and I feel better about going,” said Linda Markee.

The group said it knows the trip will be challenging both physically and emotionally.