Haiti: World Vision distributes relief to those left homeless

News and Press Release
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By James Addis

World Vision distributed clothes, hygiene kits, dried biscuits and bottled water to 750 homeless families in Canape Vert and Petionville, Port-au-Prince, over the weekend.

The distributions were made at a car-wreckers yard in Petionville and in a disused lot in Canape Vert where the homeless had camped out. Some slept under roughly erected tarpaulins, others under the stars.

Beneficiary Dine Paul held on tightly to her 1-year-old daughter Julissa as the crowd jostled around her.

"It's good to see the aid coming but we want to see more," she said.

Critical needs: food, clean water

Community organiser Mazard Guy, speaking at the car yard, said it was the first time the 457 people camped there had received a formal distribution of aid. They had relied on people in the neighbourhood generously giving out basic supplies.

"Our biggest need is food and water," he said, adding that a number camped at the yard were suffering from dehydration.

Mother Marie Joe said sometimes there was not even a sip of water to be had with which to take her medications.

It was not her only concern. Her son Jean Stevenson, 8, sustained head injuries when one of the walls in his home fell on him during the quake.

Marie said he still suffers headaches and is scared to go indoors. As she related her story, many more beneficiaries pressed forward pointing to their bandaged arms and injured legs. Many also wore head bandages like Jean.

Missing loved ones

Another mother Gina Jean related even deeper cuts. She explained how she was pulled from the rubble of her home shortly after the quake hit. Bewildered, she ended up sitting in a street full of screaming people. When she eventually composed herself, and was able to thank God that she was still alive, and her children had also got out. She was then struck by a fresh fear: what about her husband out at work?

He has not been seen since the events of Tuesday. Gina has since checked the local hospitals without success. If things were not bad enough, she now lives on a patch of waste ground with her two children. One of them is only 4-months-old. The other is 10. A few strung up bed sheets and a washing line hung with clothes, are their protection from the sun. These things amount to their home at the moment.

"It is shameful for my children to have to live like this," she said.

Another beneficiary Prednor Metellus, a school librarian, was asked what he would say to the outside world right now.

"Pray for us so that God will remember us. Our needs are getting bigger. We need everything." Prednor lost his home in the quake.