CHF Haiti Update, Saturday January 16 2010 - News from affected areas outside Port au Prince

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Yesterday CHF International received the good news that CHF Haiti had been able to account for all 170 staff members. No one was hurt in the earthquake. But please keep our staff's family members and friends in your thoughts and prayers as we find out about them. We are establishing a supply line from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and our emergency response experts have been able to meet with our existing staff so we can begin responding.

CHF has been assisting immediate relief efforts throughout earthquake afflicted regions by giving supplies to rescue workers such as gloves, face masks, pick axes, shovels and sledge hammers; and we will soon be providing logistical support in the form of vehicles and drivers.

CHF's main focus in an emergency is on transitional shelter and cash-for-work livelihoods work. This means creating sanitary, safe temporary homes for those whose houses have been destroyed that they can live in while reconstruction occurs, and also employing earthquake affected communities in the clean-up of their area, removing debris, taking down unsafe constructions and repairing those that are still able to function. This way the people can earn money, keep busy, learn some useful skills for future work, and be a part of their own development - they become empowered in their own relief and play the key role in securing their future. So please don't forget about Haiti when it leaves the headlines, because the Haitian people will face challenges from this for years to come.

Most of the media focuses on Port-au-Prince the stricken capital, but we have received images and news from Petit-Goave, a coastal town of 12,000 people 40 miles from Port-au-Prince, where CHF has been undertaking school rehabilitations and rural work. Our Field Office Director, Robert Fagen, reported the following:

Petit Goave was hit hard, and so was the whole region including Grand Goave and Leogane. The road to Port-au-Prince is back open as of Wednesday. Some preliminary statistics and information includes:

- About 1,000 dead so far (cadavers still being discovered)

- 1,813 confirmed injuries

- Petite Guinee completely destroyed (built on rubbery land not rock)

- Downtown roughly 5-10% destroyed instantly, especially old brick buildings and churches without iron reinforcements

- Public buildings and hospital damaged or destroyed.

- Virtually everyone is living in the streets

- Most water pumps were electrical rather than manual pumps, so much water is inaccessible

- Very limited gas/diesel supplies

- Very limited potable water options

- No outside aid has reached Petit Goave yet

CHF is assisting the following organizations:

- Red Cross/Boy Scouts - we have given tools like wheelbarrows and shovels, plus loads of facemasks, shirts, hats, and gloves

- The local Mayor - we gave some gloves and facemasks

- And we are partnering with more local Haitian organizations during their relief efforts

We plan to try to clear a path from the Route National to the Port, with a few backups to the biggest tent cities (at the Football Field in particular).

All five of the schools CHF built are intact and are being used as emergency shelters, complete with latrines and basic water supplies.