Volunteer Helen Hawkings' Diary: What I see in Haiti (Jan. 16)

By Helen Hawkings
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, January 20, 2010
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Saturday 16th January

Helen Hawkings

Today we were back at the golf course, previously an exclusive area for the rich of Port au Prince, it is now home to an estimated 10 – 15, 000 people during the day and 50, 000 at night. Our mission for the day is to start distributing water.

People staying in the camps have organised committees to manage the site. There seem to be more committees than are absolutely necessary and they do not always agree on how things should be done. Unfortunately when the water distribution started there was a disagreement regarding which committee was in charge and the situation became rather heated.

Every day many people approach me asking me what can I give, what am I doing here, why am I only working in this camp when there are so many people still staying in the communities near their homes who need help? I am not God, I tell them that today we are starting with providing water here. There is a colossal amount of aid pouring into the country so I tell them that we are starting in areas with the biggest concentrations of people so that we can reach lots of people in a short space of time but that we have not forgotten them and that we are doing as much as we can.

This evening the team of Oxfam staff that we have been working with in Cap Haitien in the north of Haiti arrived at our door. We have been training them and working closely with them in emergency preparedness so that when disaster strikes they are ready to immediately respond. This was a wonderful end to the day.

While I would like to believe that the loud bangs that rang out near our house just before midnight last night were fireworks, I think that would be slightly naïve of me. Reports of pillaging are rife. This afternoon we passed 2 bodies on the road, which were left there uncared for. We were told that locals killed them as they were looting and stealing. An unofficial curfew of 10pm has been proposed.

Helen Hawkings is an Oxfam public health promoter in Haiti.

Volunteer Helen Hawkings' Diary:

January 15

January 14

January 13

January 12


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