Yes, there is still reporting being done from Haiti. Even though it has slipped from the headlines efforts continue here to keep it on our minds and in our pockets.
Please view this video, and read the following sobering report:
Rain Complicates Problems in Haiti
Demonstrations are happening around the capital Port-au-Prince. These Haitians say they have nowhere to sleep because their tents are soaked from the rain. A demonstrator there said conditions are rough.”We are out in the street since midnight. There is nowhere to sleep. They (authorities) didn’t give us any tents. They have put some in the streets so that you can see them, but we haven’t gotten any.”
The Caribbean hurricane season is only a few months away. And the rainy season begins earlier in Haiti, with downpours heavy enough to cause landslides and enough water to bring disease.
Ruth Destile is a mother of two children who have been sick since the day of the earthquake.Her tent is soaked from the rain and she doesn’t even have a place to take care of them. She said, “When it’s raining, children are getting wet. I have to come here, because I don’t have a place where I can take care of my children.”
Aid agencies say the top priority is to bring hazard resistant shelter which can withstand heavy rains and even hurricanes, but officials say there are still nearly 750,000 people who have not received basic shelter like tents and plastic tarps.
Though the World Health Organization has announced that there is a vaccine available now for dengue, rain, and the squalid conditions in the “camps” will become a deadly disease factor.
Wiping out Dengue Fever in Haiti — And Everywhere Else
When most people think of a deadly mosquito-transmitted disease, they usually think of malaria. Those who have traveled far and wide, however, know that dengue fever is brutal and, in many Asian and Latin American countries, is one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death in children.
In recent years, there’s been concern that dengue could even terrorize the U.S. (http://www.sphere.com/health/article/dengue-fever-americas-next-health-crisis/19317350). In the past week, dengue has made its way back onto the radar screen because it is endemic in Haiti. And, with infrastructure there in complete shambles, dengue has the potential to spread and create even more havoc.
Let me stress the closing line from the news report above:
The UN says that out of the estimated 1 million homeless, around 250,000 have received temporary or medium-term shelter.
Rain soaks homeless Haitians, collapses shacks
A predawn rain shower soaked tens of thousands of people Thursday, turning dirt to mud in their makeshift camps and giving an early warning of the misery that the impending rainy season could bring to this earthquake-ravaged country.
Rain collapsed cardboard shacks and soaked clothing and bedding at the Marassa 14 camp, where about 2,500 displaced people are living in a dry riverbed. Most of the estimated 1.2 million people who the U.N. says are living in temporary camps across Haiti dwell in simple structures made of bed sheets and plastic sheeting. Officials warn that more permanent shelter must be in place before the rainy season begins within weeks.
Downtown, hundreds of Haitians marched from the destroyed National Palace to the temporary government headquarters Thursday, demanding shelter and the resignation of President Rene Preval, who has been mostly out of sight since the disaster. “They’re not giving us tents. It’s raining, and now we are in trouble,” said one protester, Saintel Petit.
The European Union, criticized for its slow response to the earthquake, said Thursday that it will mount a military operation to bring shelter before the start of the rainy season, usually in April. Officials did not immediately give details on what kind of shelter the EU plans to provide.The official estimated death toll, according to the Interior Ministry, is between 217,000 and 230,000, although there are suspicions that nobody knows how many died in the Jan. 12 quake.
Food has yet to reach all the 3 million people who need it.
More conditions “on the ground” from Reuters.
Downtown at the Champs de Mars, a landscaped public space between the collapsed National Palace and Haiti ‘s big museums, pools of rainwater mixed with rubbish and urine began to reek in the hot sun that followed.
“When it rained everyone got up and waited for it to stop. We couldn ‘t lie down, ” said mother of seven Jeanne-Pierre Nourette who now lives there with 16,000 other people in increasingly squalid conditions.
Only four mobile toilets were visible from one side of the area. Fly-covered faeces lay in polystyrene fast-food boxes in growing rubbish mounds, or just on the ground.
Homeless people in Petionville – in a camp overlooked by villas of the rich in the hills – said they go the toilet in plastic bags which they dump in a ravine.
Today is Valentine’s Day. Perhaps instead of, or in addition to a box of chocolates for a loved one, you could contribute to a Shelter Box:
in the attempt to house someone in Haiti.
I keep hearing Bob Dylan’s plaint about Hard Rain.: