January 22nd, 2010
03:06 PM ET

Haiti quake aid stuck at airport

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on assignment in Haiti.  He reports that the distribution of supplies from Port-au-Prince is improving,  but is still moving slowly to those in need. 

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Ramla Akhtar

    This story was moving. What put me at the edge of my seat is the situation of stuck supplies at the airport.

    I am an MBA and I have had experience of organizing logistics at a large relief camp during the Kashmir quake of 2005. I also developed this wiki http://helppakistan.wikispaces.com/ for organizing quake relief.

    This may help whoever needs it:

    When I reached a certain army-controlled relief goods camp in Karachi, I found that people had dumped relief goods all over the place. There was no organization, no methodology of loading trucks, and volunteers came and went, doing whatever they deemed appropriate.

    I took charge of a certain area along with a couple of friends - and we started 'enrolling' the volunteers, based on their specific skills, in an organization effort. Engineers took over floor maps, businessmen were put in charge of a central coordination desk, able-bodied folks were put to sorting things out and carrying them to a designated floor space, a 'search party' identified misplaced items, and a few folks recruited and trained the incoming flow of volunteers.

    We used a 'modular' approach to management. Each kind of relief good were assigned to a certain team which located, organized, re-packed, and arranged it. Hourly/ occasional briefings were given to team leaders as the operation evolved.

    In time, the team grew to over 150 - in the next few days, the training was repeated for other groups on the relief camp.

    The key to us was to assign tasks to the right person by temperament and experience - based on a 60-second interview: "Your name? What's your profession? Can you do____?" If yes: go over there. If no, wait, let' find you something - meanwhile help out with _____. Every now and then, there was a performance check. If a person, esp. a team leader did not seem to like their work station, they were re-posted to where they thought they'd contribute better. Organization plan was changed continuously based on team leaders' feedback. It was NOT dismissed in favor of speed. We focused on working with spirit and expertise rather than treating people as muscle-power.

    Hope this is of some help in some way. Best of luck with Haiti relief.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.