'More people could die in the aftermath than in the quake itself’
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Vincent Grammont lives in the Delmas neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince. The former aid worker has lived in Haiti since 2005. He sent the following email to FRANCE 24 on Sunday, describing the harrowing situation Haitians are facing.
There is a very little petrol available, and I only have enough fuel for three days. We have been lucky that we were able to get petrol on the black market, but it was expensive.
I live with 15 people and the responsibility for getting fuel, water, maintaining security and finding food has been delegated to various different people. There is also someone responsible for the children, who are becoming increasingly restive; we think this is due to the stress levels among adults.
The way we are organised is a direct reflection of the way Haitian’s are operating. Once we have dealt with our own needs, only then can we start to think about other people, otherwise it’s impossible.
One of the major problems of this crisis is that the aid workers on the ground (the UN, NGOs and the Haitian authorities) are themselves beset with difficulties and are in a state of shock. As a result, nothing is running efficiently.
An emergency aid station has been set up in the Meyotte district, but it has barely enough supplies to function. It is handling up to 200 consultations every day at the moment. Two more aid stations will be set up at Bristout and Bobin in the next couple of days.
Around 50,000 people now have access to medical aid, thanks to the WHO and PROMESS, Haiti’s procurement agency for drugs and medical supplies, managed by the Pan American Health Organization. Consultations take place in extremely difficult conditions and are largely managed by local volunteers made up of doctors, nurses and students.
I have the feeling that the strategy of aid organisations will be to operate from the edge of residential districts rather than the centre despite the roads being clear. More people could die in the aftermath than in the quake itself.
In Bristout and Bobin, in the Pétionville district, everyone is living completely in the open. Every single space that appears is immediately taken over. These are people who have lost their homes or others (the great majority) whose homes are too unsafe for habitation. People are too afraid to even enter their homes, never mind sleep there.
Huge refugee camps have sprung up spontaneously, bit by bit, all over the place. However, there is an urgent need for plastic sheeting for shelters and tents.
I am really worried that if proper aid does not reach these people soon – particularly in terms of food and water – we could be in a situation where more people could die in the aftermath than in the quake itself.
People should know that the help from these organisations is going a long way to help relieve suffering. It is also imperative that money transfer companies, such as Western Union and CAM, move so that money can get through to non-Haitians who are stranded in the country.
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