This is a pictorial report of a very swift and well coordinated humanitarian action between Red Cross Aruba, the Dutch Marines, the Government of Aruba, the hospital of Aruba, members of the business community and the ports authority of Aruba.

The Dutch Marine ship “Hr. Ms. Pelikaan” was dispatched to Haiti on a humanitarian aid mission. After departing from Curacao, the ship entered Aruba’s harbor to collect equipment and marines (77 in total), to then head for Haiti.

Seeing that there was still some space available on board for transportation, the Dutch Marines contacted the Red Cross of Aruba and offered them the possibility to transport relief material to Haiti. However, this offer entailed one very particular challenge. Red Cross Aruba received the offer early Friday evening (January 15, 2010) with the notification that the ship would be departing the next morning (Saturday, January 16) at 5 a.m. (!). A little bit of a mission impossible since government offices and businesses were already closed.

The Red Cross sent out signals to Ministers, the hospital, the business community and the port authority for their support. Several business managed to find their employees at night and convinced them to help with this effort. The businessmen had an extra challenge, they would have to transport the goods to the harbor themselves as well (talking about asking too much sometimes…. But miracles do happen !!). More than 30 pallets of water, juices, packaged foods, flashlights and batteries, medical equipment and very valuable medication was delivered to the harbor on time and loaded aboard the Marine ship, and all of that in a couple of hours, when everything was already closed!!

Here follows a selection of pictures to give an impression of this swift ‘together we can’ action. It is needless to say that not everyone who helped is in the pictures, nor known to the Red Cross: our gratitude goes out to these unknown volunteers!

Red Cross Aruba volunteers on board of the Marine ship.

Although Mr. Eddy de Veer of Tropical Bottling Company (a subsidiary of METACorp, which company donated 50.000 florins the day before to the Red Cross for Haiti) was in Curacao (!!) when he was reached, he directed his humanitarian gesture from a distance and made 5 pallets of water “Awa” available and then convinced Viking Freight Services (Mr. Stephen Daal and crew) to have them delivered at the harbor platform.

In this picture Mr. Gerardo Oduber and his crew from Oduber Agencies. His brother Eddie and an entire crew back at their warehouse managed to prepare and transport no less than 20 pallets of material in 4 trucks.

The young man driving the forklift needs to get some extra credit. He works for Oduber Agencies. He worked all night moving not only the materials donated to the Red Cross, but he also assisted the Marines in moving their equipment as well. The forklift was also borrowed from another company.

Mr. Arnoud Boesten director of Aruba’s hospital (right) and Mr. Bob Harms, his communications chief, arriving at the harbor with 3 pallets of medical material and medication.

The Red Cross volunteers assisting the hospital crew unloading their humanitarian donation.

Mr. Ruben Croes from Aruba’s hospital (also a volunteer at SARFA, Search and Rescue Foundation Aruba) in the center of the three persons to the left is dealing with very special medication donated, which had to be strictly accounted for and handed over to a special marine of the ship.

This is a picture of the list of special medication very much needed in Haiti.

These stretchers were donated by Red Cross Aruba.

The Prime Minister of Aruba, Mr. Mike Eman, makes a surprise visit to the harbor at 3:30 a.m. Here he is seen encouraging the volunteers. He was accompanied by the First Lady (Mrs. Doina Eman), 2 more ministers (later on) and the secretary of the Council of Ministers (Ms. Nicole Hoevertsz).

The gentleman in the suit with the big smile on his face is Dr. Richard Visser, the Minister of Healthcare. He played a very special role in this action in convincing Oduber Agencies to participate. During his surprise visit at the harbor, he also brought along more pallets of water and juices, medical equipment and so on (from Visser Trading), helping to make the donations to the Red Cross effort even more worthwhile.

In this picture we see how the marines stored a great part of the donated material in their trucks. The trucks were later hoisted on board of the Pelikaan.

To the right, the director of Red Cross Aruba, Mr. Michell La Haye, escorting Mrs. Michel Winklaar, Minister of Economy and Social Affairs (middle) and First Lady, Mrs. Doina Eman (left) aboard the “Pelikaan” for an on sight inspection.

One of the storage areas aboard the “Pelikaan”. Dutch Marines are seen working swiftly with the pallets.

The Prime Minister in conversation with local marines ready to be deployed.


Some of our best….

Marines boarding: fully geared.

Some Red Cross volunteers: tired but content.

The intention of this pictorial report is to demonstrate that together we can, to thank all those who have made this humanitarian gesture possible, to motivate all Red Cross volunteers worldwide to keep up their great work, and to encourage one and all here in Aruba to donate their funds to the “HELP HAITI RED CROSS” fund drive organized by Red Cross Aruba to assist in the relief of those suffering in Haiti. You can help make a difference.

The President of Red Cross Aruba – Greg Peterson (photographer)

Submitted to the web site by Dufi Kock