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Haiti – “Australians need to know the situation is pretty dire”

RUTH MLAY, World Vision Australia’s country program coordinator for Haiti, was in the Caribbean nation when the earthquake hit. Now located about an hour out of the capital, Port-au-Prince, she speaks of her experience in a communication to World Vision staff in Australia on Thursday, 15th January…

Ruth Mlay

Ruth Mlay

“I am concerned that as people flee Port-au-Prince the surrounding areas will also quickly run out of basic supplies such as food and water. The price of food went up this morning.”

I spent today trying to support the team here to give medical support to Haitians who are teaming in from Port-au-Prince in search of medical support, water, and food. The people were coming in by car, truck loads, and motor bike. 

The search and rescue teams have finally arrived, aid organisations are distributing water, and giving supplies to support the dwindling supplies from hospitals. So many people had to wait outside.

The only hospital here was full to capacity and people were waiting on floors and in the street. People also waiting outside. 

They soon ran out of simple first aid supplies and so we have given them our own personal travel kits.

As the hospital is really small and was not expecting the large group, they quickly ran out of supplies and we had to give them our personal first aid kits to use. 

I have given the hospital my supplies of water, juice and anything else I have to assist.

They ran out of plaster of paris for making casts and had to use whatever was available to them

I’ve also been trying to help people who are streaming out from the capital in search of food, water, medical support and shelter.

I spoke to several people today, through a translator and one woman was unable to speak and her neighbours told me that she had lost her husband, six sons and one daughter.

Very soon Port-au-Prince could become a ghost town as people return to their rural homes in search of shelter.

I am concerned that as people flee Port-au-Prince the surrounding areas will also quickly run out of basic supplies such as food and water. The price of food went up this morning.

Australians need to know that the situation is pretty dire. There is a lot of help coming in to the country but due to the wreckage there is no easy access to the most affected.

There is also potential for disease break out as there are still bodies strewn in the streets. Someone arrived from Port-au-Prince today and said that birds, dogs and chickens were beginning to eat the corpses that were lying in the streets. It has been extremely hot and the capital gets extremely humid so the air is also begin to foul.

World Vision has prepositioned supplies and has been using these to respond to those in need. We have supported about eight hospitals since yesterday, we have also been handing out water, shelter and are working on getting food out by tomorrow as this is becoming an increasing concern.

World Vision has launched a major emergency appeal. To donate or call 13 32 40.



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