If ever there was genocide - this is it! People who are very sick are being left in camps where no help is available (see a piicture of one of the camp sites, made only of bed sheets hang up by flimsy sticks).
I interviewed thirty eight women and every single one of them was hungry. One lady who gave me her phone number, said that supplies were only distributed once and since there was pushing and shoving, they never came back to her area. She said that some of the bags of supplies were being diverted to private warehouses, re-packaged and then re-sold to them. She explained how some of this is being done by the elites. She gave me her phone number and asked me to please help them.
See picture of how women and children are living in the camps - those who are lucky enough to at least have a bed-sheet covering over their heads. Some had not seen any supplies for days. Pregnant women are having miracle babies on the bare ground in tents where there is no running water, no chances of getting emergency help, if there are complications. The most painful part is to see sick children and disabled people forced to live on the sidewalks. One of the pictures shows the way people are living on the sidewalks with no shelter. The only place for a desperately sick child (in the same picture) is for him to be slumped over a bucket, with the middle part of his body hanging into the bucket.
I tried hard not to be overcome by the agony of sight in the many areas where human suffering is most severe. A Human Rights activist in Haiti told me about a French newspaper report (in France) regarding French doctors chopping off limbs when it was totally unnecessary, so someone should check this out.So many people are starving and hungry.
Haitians are demonstrating because too many of them are left without food for extended periods. One must really ask why, when so much has been donated and so much is available for distribution? I have seen people carrying American labelled bags of rice and other goods. There are distributions in some places and I did see areas where there were lines for women only, but the bottle necks continue. If something is not done, there will be more demonstrations and eventually, riots for food. Is that the intention? Is this being done to justify the need for millitary intervention? People are being pushed to an unacceptable, unconscionable limit. I am very worried about the way people are living, because when the rainy season starts, the genocide by omission will be multiplied many times over.
Haitians are the most resilient, most creative people on the planet! I cannot begin to explain here, the way people are organizing and helping each other in this tragic situation. One woman made a stove/grill, with material from the rubble and it is being shared by the other women in her camp. She proudly showed me her invention (see photo).
I believe that Haitians will overcome, but we must reach out to them. CARICOM can make use of so many of us in the region who speak French and Creole. It is very clear that the international agencies cannot handle the scale of the problem, so CARICOM should ask them to collaborate and provide some of those resources (especially as Caribbean citizens have been donating) so that Caribbean citizens can assist wherever possible.
I think there is a lesson in this for us in the Caribbean. We need to be more organized for disasters which can happen to any island because the same things which are happening to Haiti, could happen to any of the islands where we live. And if international agencies do not cooperate with CARICOM, then we should have a campaign to advise Caribbean citizens not to donate to any of those institutions, but rather to a Caribbean Disaster Fund.
I see the hope in the children of Haiti. All is not lost. I have a beautiful photo of the baby who was born to a double amputee, thanks to our intervention and support. In some areas people are beginning to hustle for survival and organize their lives in whatever way the can; all things considered. Some women vendors are already selling produce by the roadside. We can learn a lot from the creativity and tenacity of our Haitian brothers and sisters.