While roads are starting to clear and food and aid are reaching hundreds of thousands of people, the needs are still enormous in Haiti. Toppled buildings, sprawling camps and tented homes set up on the roadside are sobering reminders of the long road ahead.
New fears loom about the oncoming rainy season and the critical needs for emergency shelter and sanitation. “It’s going to turn into Woodstock out there,” says Lane Hartill of Catholic Relief Services, as he explains that the grass has all but worn away under the tents in Pétionville at the former golf course turned into a CRS-led organized camp that attracts as many as 50,000 people during the day and up to 80,000 at night. To help prepare for the coming rains, CRS and our partner, Caritas Haiti, have ordered materials for 20,000 temporary shelter kits, and are planning for more.
Nevertheless, we are making strides daily and reaching more people than ever. CRS and Caritas Haiti are distributing an average of 62 metric tons of food per day. In addition to Pétionville, CRS has been designated as lead agency for coordinating relief efforts in the town of Léogâne, as well as for serving around 50 smaller church-identified sites. As a result, CRS and Caritas are anticipating helping hundreds of thousands of people in the next few months.
CRS and Caritas Haiti medical teams are treating an estimated 300 people per day. They are seeing a gradual change in needs from acute wounds to more waterborne illnesses, such as diarrhea and typhoid, so a public health campaign has been created to encourage better sanitary health practices to limit these outbreaks. Additionally, CRS is working with a team from the University of Maryland shock trauma unit, which will be performing round-the-clock surgeries and saving many more lives. The 22-person team brought 8,000 pounds of donated and purchased medical supplies, equipment and medications.
CRS is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support we have received in response to this terrible crisis.
However, the unprecedented level of destruction in Haiti leaves us anticipating that many millions more dollars will be needed. CRS had been working in Haiti for 55 years and we will be there responding for years to come, long after the media spotlight fades. Please donate today to help CRS’ response in Haiti.