This is an email from Alison Thompson sent to her parents in Sutherland Shire (Sydney) on 24 January 2010.
Alison, a Cronulla aid worker, has received an Order of Australia (OAM) this year on the Australia Day honours list.
Email Subject: Hell in Haiti
Hi mum and dad –I won’t be around when they announce my award on January 26th. I am with Sean Penn, diana jenkins, Oscar and 15 doctors embedded in the 82 airbourne ( USA) Dante would describe it as hell here. There is no food and wAter and hundreds dying daily. The aid is all bottlenecked and not reaching here . The other day i assisted with amputation ( holding them down) while they used a saw to cut a young boys leg off with no pain killers. Today I went with a strike force and army patrol in hummers into the streets and walked 5 miles through the camps set up on every street corner ..sewage and bodies stench is everywhere. As i attend to a patient 30 people crowd around me and it’s hard to breath. I nearly fainted today as the sewage smell went straight down my throat. I went white and dizzy but couldn’t sit down as sewage is running through the streets. There is much infection and it feels like the job is too big. No antibiotics anywhere.Good news, today our new york doctors evacuated 18 patients with spinal injuries out to miami and we’re all so excited. Our mash unit is in the 82 air base overlooking a refugee camp of over 50000 people. The refugees start singing Christian songs at 4 am and line up for food until the army hands it out at 8 am ( thats if there is any food)On the first night I was in the nearby jungle camping under the stars with my team and woke up to the beautiful music drawing me to them. I thought it was a church and we went to find it and came across the 82 airbourne camp and the refugee camp.( that’s how we ended up here) as it wasn’t safe to stay where we were even though we had our own security force. We are totally self suffient with food gas and medicines and have a private donor (Diana Jenkins who was a refugee in camps in Bosnia as a child – her family died of starvation in the camps. ) Sean Penn is here purely as a volunteer and is cutting through bureaucracy to get aid moving and food water and medicines to the people. There is no agenda but to save lives. Helicopters fly over head and it feels like vietnam. That night 50,000 people sung me to sleep and they sing every night for the world to save them. There is always hope but she’s not here right now.Alison xxx
My writing is a mess as it’s on iPhone and keeps changing my words and the generator is on for a few hours but I know it’s important to tell the world.Please send to any press who may call or family and friends.