You are here

Haiti: aftershock

It’s 6am and I’m just getting ready to go to the office. The floor starts to shake, I start to shake. The door bursts open and my colleague wonders if we should run. We stare at each other. The shaking stops.

Damaged spirits

The aftershock today, over a week after the initial hit, measured 6.1 on the Richter scale. I am uncertain of the physical damage it has caused but I do know it has damaged the spirits of the people here. People whose houses remained intact decided to move back into their homes last night, only to be woken by this shock. The earthquake fear has heightened.

Peaceful distributions

Despite this, everyone turned up to work and distributions got under way. In the urban slum area of St Martin, our team peacefully distributed water and water purification tablets to 6,000 people. The tanks are being loaded again for another two distributions tomorrow. More health centres received critical medical supplies from the team and assessments were carried out in additional camps. The International Organization for Migration estimate there are 500 camps in the city today.

Our second cargo shipment has arrived in Port-au-Prince so we can continue to scale up our operations in the coming days.

“The water is flowing”

More good news came today from Dominic MacSorley, our Emergency Coordinator:

We have just completed our first water distribution in Place de la Paix, the site for approximately 8,000 homeless people in St Martin. The water is flowing from the trucks we have hired and they will keep doing rotations all day. The people – many of them young girls and boys – are lined up with their buckets in an orderly line.

There is no tension, no crowd control issues, just the noise of feet and buckets shuffling inch by inch to the flowing water. In fact, there is an air of excitement and lots of smiles as the full buckets of water are carried back to the hundreds of shelters in this market square. We’re also overseeing the construction of the platform for a 10,000 litre tank which will later be filled.

We’re in business and it’s great to see it!