"The only good news here is that Hurricane Ike's path was far enough north that Haiti did not take another direct hit," said Wesley Charles, World Vision's national director in Haiti. "But the rains from Ike have made it even more difficult for aid workers to get into some of the worst-flooded areas. People are becoming increasingly desperate."
Access to many of the hard-hit areas remains a critical challenge, Charles emphasized. In the devastated city of Gonaive, 10,000 people are crammed into 115 shelters. An assessment found that just 10 of the 115 shelters had food. Flying into the cut-off areas will be difficult, as it's believed that all but one of the runways in the northwest are flooded. Helicopters are needed, but few are available in Haiti.
Despite ongoing access challenges, World Vision managed to provide 10-day food rations to about 450 families on the island of La Gonave, 1,100 hygiene kits to displaced people in the Central Plateau, and clothing and shelter materials to 300 families in Jean Denis, which became cut off from the capital overnight when rains from Hurricane Ike washed out the last remaining bridge into the area.
"In Jean Denis yesterday, I met scores of distraught and burdened families," said Steve Matthews, World Vision's emergency communications manager. "With the last bridge now destroyed, the needs in that cut-off region will continue to climb.
"Dirty water was everywhere as we traveled to Jean Denis," Matthews continued. "Children played in the filthy water. Women were washing clothes and dishes in overflowing streams. The farmland was absolutely drenched. Everything has become waterlogged, making it nearly impossible to cook, even for those who were able to salvage some of their rice."
Because cooking is currently a challenge for flood-affected families, plans are underway to provide ready-to-eat food such as high-energy biscuits.
"Bread is scarce and will soon be gone, and much of people's stored brown rice got wet when Hurricane Hanna went by," explained World Vision relief coordinator Elvire Douglas. In a brief period of no rain on Saturday, people were trying to salvage their wet rice by drying it on tarps laid out on roads and in fields.
Three ways you can help
| Please pray for children and families affected by the multiple storms and severe flooding that has pounded Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Pray for organizations like World Vision that are working hard to bring life-saving relief to those who need it most.|