Michael Henninger / Post-Gazette
As the Post-Gazette reports here, Children's Hospital is ready to receive 53 children coming from the BRESMA orphanage in Haiti to Pittsburgh. There were some last minute hurdles on the Haiti end:
The original plane carrying a medical team, as well as Gov. Ed Rendell and U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, was forced to take off without the children, so the group stayed behind and managed to secure a C-130 military plane.
Security hurdles, caused in part by reports about the mission by the media, made it impossible for the group to get the children aboard within the two-hour window they had been given to be on the ground in Haiti, according to Paul Wood, vice president of public relations for UPMC.
"Word leaked and security at the compound [where the orphans were located before being taken to the airport] became compromised by the incredible needs of others," he said.
But the group was able to secure the C-130, which left Port-au-Prince at 11:23 p.m., carrying the children, the governor, Mr. Altmire and caregiver Ali McMutrie, one of the two Ben Avon sisters who ran the orphanage and refused to leave the country without the children, according to Mr. Wood.
Mr. Wood did not know whether other children and Ms. McMutrie's sister Jamie were still in Haiti.
PittBriefly has more photos of the preparations for the orphans here.
The exact number of children originally at BRESMA and number of orphans on the plane has varied in different reports: from 130 - 150 originally at BRESMA and from 61 to 53 children on the plane.
The following message was posted at That's Church last night:
“Please don’t panic about what you may be hearing on the media about numbers of BRESMA orphans who have left Haiti. You will know the accurate numbers as soon as we are permitted to say.”An earlier article by the Post-Gazette has also reported:
About 90 other children from the orphanage were being taken in similar rescue missions conducted by the Dutch and French governments, he said.So, that would be 5-6 children evacuated on Sunday, 53-61 today and about 90 being handled by Dutch and French governments. That would seem to account for all the orphans who were at BRESMA -- we hope.
Of course that would leave the entire country of Haiti which still needs help...