Yesterday, I received a call from Tom McCormick. He had told me months ago that he was sending two 40 foot containers to Panama from the US. The containers had clothes, hospital equipment and many items that are difficult and expensive to get in Panama. He had spent a good bit of time in the US obtaining these donations.
Yesterday morning around 7:00 AM, I met Tom at Panama’s new Emergency Operations Center in David hoping to take some photos.
If I interpret the plaque correctly, this building was opened in January of 2008.
Here is a photo of local donations that had come into this location.
Tom’s containers were supposed to arrive at 7:00, but didn’t arrive until around 9:00AM and they arrived at the SINAPROC location behind McDonald’s.
They had spent the last three months in Colon, held up by government bureaucracy and paperwork. When the recent flooding crisis hit Bocas and the Chiriquí areas, it was even more important to get the containers released.
The containers had been in Colon so long, that they now had a $700+ fine to get them released. A Panamanian learned of the fine and paid it to get them released. Tom’s container shipping expensed was $7,000+.
Tom is not a new comer to helping his friends in Panama. When I first met him I learned of his “Women Helping Women” program in David.
When I got to SINAPROC a little after 9:00, Tom was giving instruction to a group of US Peace Core workers.
Here is a photo of the Peace Core members with Tom in the back and middle.
Here is a some closeups.
This container was mostly hospital equipment.
This one had bikes, mattresses, hospital beds, children clothes and more.
The first task was to unload all of the contents in to an appropriate area.
After the containers were unloaded, then they would figure out how to distribute them
The big problem in getting supplies to Bocas, is that the roads are closed. Tom said there had been over 700 mud slides. Some covered the road and some took the road with them. At the present, the only way to get items to Bocas is via air. DHL is making some flights and the Panamanian government was using helicopters.
Tom said that Bocas has had no water in over 5 days. He told me an interesting story. While he was at SINAPROC, a Panamanian road up on a bicycle. He has a sack in his hand with two small bottles of water. He didn’t have much money to spare, but he still bought some water to help the needy.
It is terrible to have crisis such as these, however, it does let you see how the good people come from every direction to help.
Thanks to all for giving to the country of Panama. Thanks to all for caring.
UPDATE: I received the following information from Tom relative to the contents of his two containers.
You ask for a list of what was in the two 40ft.HC containers.
Here is a partial list.
- 20 elec hospital beds(elec)
- 65 wheel chairs
- 300 walkers
- 300 pair of crutches
- 50-4 footed canes
- 3000lbs of clothes
- 2000lbs misc. hospital equipment
- complete new dental equipment including x-ray for dental surgeon
- 900lbs of kitchen items(pots and pans)
- 1000 lbs of household(blankets towels sheets etc.)
- 600 lbs books This is a partial list. I think tomorrow more people packing boxes at SINAPROC Most of the activity was at the airport today.