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Haiti: “the hardest thing so far”

It’s a week since the earthquake and the heartache is still palpable. Driving down to distribute critical medical supplies to a health clinic in Carrefour, the epicentre of the quake, I witnessed the most horrific of images.

In an area, Saudelle, the houses did not simply collapse; they were pulverised by this disaster. Many homes are now merely dust. My colleague tells me, “This is my neighbourhood,” as tears fill her eyes.

Holding back tears

Out the window I notice three more bodies, lying, waiting to be cleared away. I had seen this yesterday and the day before but I had not yet seen a child; today was that day. A small boy, maybe eight or nine years old, was left decomposing on the street. This was the hardest thing I have seen so far and it took all my might to hold back the tears.

Resilience

We then entered a camp to distribute more supplies. The smiles on the faces of the children here were a breath of fresh air. Once again, I am struck by the extreme resilience of the people here.

More staff have arrived back in the office. A colleague’s brother-in-law was killed, only 20 days after getting married. He ran back inside his house to save his new bride – she survived. The stories I have heard have affected me deeply, but what is evident in all of them is the sense of “we are alive and we need international assistance so we can help our country.”

Monique is 26 years old and has been in a camp since Tuesday night. She has lost everything except her firstborn, Erlancia. As we talk, I become surrounded by children, laughing and smiling as they pull at the “blanc’s” hair. How amazing to see these smiles amidst this sadness.

Distributing supplies

Dr Johanne Desormeaux, part of the Concern nutrition team, tends to some children in the camp as we drop off the medical supplies. One six-week-old boy, Marc Juri Jean, is coughing. Dr Johanne shows his mother, Marie Jean, how to help him breathe more easily.

Along with the distribution of critical medical supplies to health centres, Concern has distributed water purification tablets, jerry cans and bars of soap to people camping in the St Martin area. Tomorrow, the bladder tanks will be filled and water will be distributed.

More aid on the way

As I type, our second cargo is in convoy from the Dominican Republic; 16 trucks carrying 35 metric tons of relief supplies. Two more cargo charters are to follow.

A heartfelt thank you

The aid is coming in so please keep the donations coming too. For those who have already donated – a heartfelt thank you from Haiti.