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Bulletin from Haiti

We estimate that there are 100,000 people affected in Satin Martin, one of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince and a further 250,000 in Martissant, another extremely poor area.

Water and food

There is no water and electricity lines have been severed. As we have already existing programmes in these areas we are looking at an initial six week emergency programme providing water and emergency nutrition.

We have already distributed medicines to health centres and our teams are now mobilising water distributions in Saint Martin.

Emergency stocks

Concern’s emergency stores are located in Saut d’Eau, in the central part of Haiti. Supplies of water, plastic sheeting, water purification tablets and jerry cans arrived from there by road to Port au Prince yesterday. These will be immediately distributed by Concern’s existing partners. However, the shortage of fuel is making distribution extremely difficult.

Partners and volunteers

We plan to distribute these items in the poorest areas using our existing local partner organisations, our youth volunteers and our peace committees. These groups have already been very pro-active in cleaning up and helping in the immediate aftermath of this disaster.

We have also been offered rice, beans and shoes by another organisation which we plan to distribute as soon as possible.

Assisting the government

The Haitian government is setting up 14 camps for people who have been left homeless. With our experience in providing shelter and managing camps, as well as our established presence on the ground, we are likely to be involved in this work.

On the ground

Susan Finucane of Concern is in Haiti. This is what she had to say about the situation:

We managed to fly in this morning; we were lucky as many planes were turned back. The airport is chaotic, lines of people, some wounded, frightened trying to get out – humanitarian supplies are being offloaded and re-loaded onto trucks. Many roads are simply impassable: they are full of people camping out, too afraid to sleep inside. Gradually bodies are being removed and rubble is slowly being moved back but everywhere families are camped out in the open. It’s hot and humid and there simply isn’t enough clean water.

We have already distributed medicines to health centres and our teams are now mobilising water distributions in Saint Martin, one of the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince where we have been working since 1994. People are extraordinarily patient, but they can’t wait much longer.

The destruction is profound, you see the devastation everywhere, but you see the depth of this tragedy most in the eyes of the people you meet as they struggle to survive, to respond and to grieve. The task ahead is huge.