“Poverty is at the root of this catastrophe.”
“Thousands of patients with major fractures, major wounds, that have not been treated yet.”
“Time for a UN Crisis Corps.”
…These words taken from headlines ranging from The New York Times to Reuters are alerting the international community just how difficult the task of restoring Haiti is. Soon after many troops landed into Haiti to provide humanitarian relief, an alarmingly strong aftershock,that was reportedly 5.9 on the Richter scale, struck 35 miles from the capital yesterday (Wednesday, January 20), just after 6 a.m. While there was minimal injuries and devastation from this aftershock, many civilians were forced to return to images of the terrible night when the original earthquake hit last week. Seismologists are even concluding that more aftershocks will arrive shortly. Since the earthquake last week, Haiti has already experienced nearly 50 aftershocks.
Rene Preval was scheduled to address the nation via radio yesterday afternoon, but due to the tumultuous aftershocks, his words to Haiti continue to be prolonged.
More detailed information is finally obtained. Brazil, who has led a peacekeeping mission through the UN since 2004, lost 18 soldiers this past week, its largest loss of soldiers since World War II. More than 11,000 American troops are now present in Haiti, but relief efforts are still a struggle even for these large forces and superpowers. According to the Economist, “The main arteries in Port-au-Prince are blocked by rubble.” The first step is getting the aid to those who are in need. International Action is fighting the same battle as these institutions and countries. Even through the difficulties, we are working to reach impoverished neighborhoods and provide sanitary water to all. Because of the aftershocks, even more debris has been tossed around, making it more difficult to locate clean, safe water nearby.
As of yesterday, Dalebrun had obtained 2 truckers. Today, there were 10 truckers made available (We hope for 14 tomorrow). Dalebrun has continued to make trips, serving nearly 35,000-40,000 Haitians with one gallon of water or less per person. Other water areas, such as MAC, are providing minimal water even with plastic bags.
The Haitians are grateful for the water, but also remain agitated. The dilapidated jail has allowed for many criminals to escape making it difficult to maintain order. Additionally, Dalebrun has found it imperative to acquire staff for protection purposes. Although he is still negotiating the salary, he said he might spend $1,600-$1,700 on the new staff. We went through the list of water tanks and he told us which ones are broken but function, which ones are totally broken, and which ones are undamaged.
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