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HAITI: Aid is getting through despite enormous challenges

Despite news that aid is not getting through we can definitely report to the contrary.  Save the Children in Haiti has been distributing food, water and hygiene supplies over the weekend and today – reaching 2,200 people already. We’re finding the humanitarian situation in towns such as Jocmel and Leogane is dire so we’re also setting up local bases there as well as continuing to work in Port-au-Prince.  It seems outside of the capital very little aid or rescue teams had reached those affected until this weekend.

However, the operational challenges remain enormous. The fuel situation countrywide is becoming more and more critical. The national telecommunications system has been partly restored, but without access to fuel, the mobile network will be cut off within days, which will have serious implications for the humanitarian operation.  We need to remember that its very rare that an earthquake of this magnitude affects a capital city – and Haiti was incredibly poor even before the disaster struck. Every aspect of the country’s infrastructure has been affected.

We’re hearing that all of the schools in Port-au-Prince have been destroyed – and half of the schools across the whole country have been damaged or destroyed.  Children faced a tough time in Haiti before the disaster – with some of the lowest literacy and school enrolment rates in the world.

This Alertnet article gives a lot of information about this.  I can’t begin to imagine how they’re coping now. Children have been orphaned or become separated from their families.  They are scared, traumatised, injured and hungry.  We’ll do all we can to help them in every way.

We’re already running ‘child friendly spaces’ where children can come and play safely giving them a sense of normality and support, whilst giving their parents/carers time to start rebuilding their lives.  We will be setting up temporary schools and rehabilitating classrooms over the coming weeks and months – children need to get back to school as soon as possible.

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