EMERGENCY HEAD ON HAITI RELIEF FLIGHT WITH SECRETARY CLINTON
The Director of Concern Worldwide's Emergency Unit, Dominic Crowley, flew into Haiti today with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Read quotes from Secretary Clinton and Dominic Crowley in January 16 New York Times.
"A big aftershock hit Port-au-Prince
this morning just before noon. Everyone ran outside, and we will be sleeping
outside tonight for fear of more tremors. The Concern team are working
all hours, with very little sleep or food. We began distributing water
today, although it's possible that crowd control could become a concern."
-Concern Worldwide US Operations Director Dominic MacSorley
(follow Dominic MacSorley from Haiti on Twitter at http://twitter.com/aidwkr)
"Water is sold in plastic bags,
but is very scarce. The slum community of Martissant has requested health
assistance as well as water, food, and shelter. Other aid agencies report
similar needs. Bodies are everywhere, in houses and on the streets. People
are covering them with sheets, plastic tarps, and rugs-many are left lying
without any cover."
-Concern Worldwide Country Director Elke Leidel
(Updated Saturday, January 16, 2010)
An aftershock of 4.5 magnitude shook Port au Prince on Saturday, January 16, further traumatizing the city's population. The most powerful earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years hit Haiti on January 12, with the epicenter just 10 miles from the capital, killing an estimated 100,000 people and affecting over 3 million, according to UN and Red Cross estimates.Concern has launched an urgent emergency appeal in response.
Concern's US Operations Director Dominic MacSorley and our Rapid Deployment Unit (including our Head of Emergencies, a water and sanitation engineer, 3 logisticians, and an emergency IT Officer) are providing additional expertise and support to our team on the ground. Food, water, shelter, and medicine are the most urgent needs for survivors. Shops in Port au Prince are quickly running out of food, and water is extremely scarce. The capital of Port-au-Prince is the worst-affected area. Concern has on-going programs there and on the island of La Gonave and in Saut d'Eau, which do not seem to be as badly affected. The hospital that houses our Emergency Nutrition Stabilization Center in Port-au-Prince is still standing, but creasing levels of malnutrition among children under the age of five are a very grave concern in the aftermath of the quake, when lifelines to even the most basic health services have been disrupted.
The death toll is expected to keep climbing. Most of the structures in Port-au-Prince's vast and overcrowded slum communities are built with raw concrete walls and metal roofs, and the majority have been utterly razed, causing widespread devastation. Hundreds of thousands of traumatized residents in the surrounding areas of Port-au-Prince have now been made homeless and have been forced onto the streets.
Telephone and power lines are still down, making it difficult to communicate and assess the extent of the damage, although search and rescue efforts are underway to to dig people out of the rubble.
CONCERN IN ACTION: OUR RESPONSE
Our immediate response includes the following activities:
- Water distribution (underway as of Friday, January 15)
- Sending in 2 charter cargo planes with supplies of blankets, water purification tablets and water storage containers, shelter materials, emergency therapeutic food for children under five (high-protein biscuits called BP-5, therapeutic milk formula called F100, and plumpy'nut)
- Assessment of most urgent survival needs for affected populations in Port-au-Prince, Saut d'Eau, and the island of La Gonave
- Distributing water, food, shelter, and medicine to families in greatest need in slum communities
- Continuing to assess and monitor the impact of the crisis and respond as needed in the coming days and weeks
Concern has working in Haiti since it launched a disaster relief program in 1994 in response to Hurricane Gordon. Our current programs focus on helping the poorest communities lift themselves out of poverty with long-term development programs in the areas of health, education, HIV and AIDS, peacebuilding, livelihoods, and disaster risk reduction and emergency interventions. Concern works in three parts of Haiti: the island of La Gonâve, the communities in and near Saut d'Eau in the central plateau, and in the poorest neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.
Concern has worked with the national civil protection authorities in Haiti in response to civil conflict to help establish and train local civil protection committees and in peacebuilding initiatives in violence-torn slum neighborhoods. We have also provided lifesaving disaster relief and humanitarian aid in response to past earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. Our focus is on the extreme poor and the most vulnerable.