Scott Campbell, who directed the CRS disaster response in Banda Aceh, Indonesia following the Indian Ocean tsunami, worked for five years to complete the reconstruction plan, and then decided it was time to pursue a graduate degree. He enrolled in the University of San Diego and began taking classes. And then, the Haiti earthquake struck. Who had the experience to coordinate such a massive relief effort? Well, Scott of course. He was summoned back to CRS, where he led the Haiti program for the next year.
Scott is now back at the University of San Diego completing his degree. He recently had the opportunity to talk to his fellow students about the work he did for CRS in these two mega-disasters, and the Vista, the USD student newspaper. covered it.
Although the disasters that struck Haiti and Indonesia were broadcasted throughout the entire world, relatively few people had the opportunity to assist in the rebuilding of the country, economy and community life. Scott Campbell, a senior at USD, was given the opportunity to help with the relief efforts in both countries through the commitment of the Catholic Relief Services.
Beginning by providing an exposition of the earthquake that struck Haiti at 4:53 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2010, Campbell explained the necessary emergency measurements taken to ensure safety for those who survived. Campbell and the employees of the CRS were able to serve over 10 million meals to over 900,000 Haitian survivors. Approximately 230,000 deaths were caused by the earthquake in Haiti, affecting almost the entire country.
Campbell divided the emergency response phases into three separate and equally important stages, and he discussed the first, emergency phase. In this stage, Campbell and the CRS focused on immediate health care, nursing for the wounded and distributing food, water and temporary shelters. Over 114,000 emergency shelters were distributed in the form of tarps. There were approximately 600 latrines and hand-washing facilities established to prevent the spreading of disease and infection. Throughout the month, CRS alone provided 375,000 gallons of water.
Campbell was asked about how future leaders were emerging from this tragedy during the lecture.
“Those that were more democratic, inclusive and open usually fared better,” Campbell said.
Through the CRS’ execution of the program “Cash for Work,” Campbell said Haitians used a machine to crush the rubble from the earthquake and constructed it into cement blocks that were later implemented in the building of new, permanent homes. In three simple phases, the rubble was crushed, gravel was created and the cement blocks were assembled.
“Haitians were able to assist in the reconstruction while also receiving the money needed to purchase other essentials needed to restart their lives with greater independence,” Campbell said.
Over 1,000 emergency surgeries were performed in converted operating rooms constructed from the buildings that were not damaged by the earthquake. There were over 70,000 outpatient consultations given in the courtyard of the hospital complex, because over 80 percent of the St. Francis de Sales Hospital was destroyed.
“There is an enormous amount of coordination conducted directly between relief agencies in the field that extends from their existing relationships prior to the disaster,” Campbell said.
The disaster that struck Indonesia on Dec. 26, 2004, was the service project to which that Campbell devoted majority of his time. He was one of the leading liaisons for the planning, development, and execution of the rebuilding of Aceh, the city most devastated by the tsunami. The tsunami hit Aceh about 20 minutes after a magnitude 9.2 earthquake hit off the coast. After showing clips of the demolition caused by the massive waves that flooded the city during the lecture, Campbell detailed the various reconstructive and developmental efforts.
Kits that contained toothbrushes, soap and food were handed out to the surviving individuals. A total of 160,000 people were killed by this tragedy, while almost all of the homes and buildings in specific areas in Aceh were swept away with the waves. The before and after photos Campbell used from Google Earth to illustrate this disaster showed an entirely empty plot of land after the tsunami passed through Aceh. Campbell used the term subsidence, which described the shifting of the ground further down into the earth, to describe the reason why certain villages disappeared into the ocean.
Through the presentation, Campbell encouraged members of the USD community to be driven and to make a change in the world.
“It was really devastating to see the clips shared through the presentation and to see how others throughout the world are dealing with these natural disasters,” Sophomore Taylor Cabalse said. “After attending this event, I was inspired to help in any way I can. Campbell showed how much these efforts had helped both countries, and it really made me consider how I can help too.”