Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Terraine D'Acra

Internet has been a major difficulty here in Port-au-Prince. I actually texted my last blog post to a friend to post.

There have been lots of developments since I last wrote. Yesterday, we began managing a settlement of 5,000 at Terraine D'Acra in the Delmas area of the city. I toured the very hilly settlement yesterday. (Wish I could send video, but it would certainly fail. Maybe a photo.)

People have begun putting up their own shelters in this area. Wooden stakes and tree branches stick up out of the ground everywhere. People are trying to get whatever materials they can to create shelter.

Fortunately, we had a shipment of tarps arrive from the United States yesterday and today by plane. (There has been an outpouring of support from companies in the form of tents, tarps, medicines, etc. It's terrific!) This morning, we're distributing tarps to the community so that people can get a roof up over their heads. Since the earthquake happened, no rain has fallen in the city. But the situation will become even worse if we begin getting rain and people have no shelter. We'll continue distributing tarps until all in the settlement have shelter.

We're also doing a clinic today. Dr. Bill Markle from Pennsylvania, an American Refugee Committee volunteer, has recruited a medical team to help him stage a clinic at Terraine D'Acra today. With medicines from our shipment, they'll be able to see patients who really need care.

In the coming days, we'll be working to construct latrines in the settlement and create spaces that are safe for women and children.

Yesterday, I met John, a 3-year-old boy living at the settlement at Terraine D'Acra. He offered our team a lick of the lollipop he was enjoying. We politely declined. John was goofy, fooling around, and having a lot of fun, as a 3-year-old should. It was a great thing to see. The hardship of what has happened to his family hasn't quite reached him yet. Our goal is to help John's family get shelter, water, essential supplies, sanitation and a safe environment so he won't have to worry about his family's situation.

Here is a photo of Perry Witkin, an American Refugee Committee board member who helped us organize the cargo plane shipment and distribution, traveling with it from Minneapolis to Haiti.

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