from Amber Lynn Munger
The gunfire spread last night to our zone. At 1 am it started. It
was off in the distance a ways when it first started but got closer
and closer up until about 2:30 and then it seemed to stop. All of the
homeless on the streets and in the refugee camps again met the chaos
with loud singing, clapping and prayers.
I am at the Matthew 25 house in Delmas 33. Here we have set up a
triage hospital with more than 1,300 refugees on a soccer field. The
people at Matthew 25 have been traveling all over the city trying to
figure out what clinics and hospitls are operational, what services
they can provide and what the needs are.
There is no visible coordination effort from international agencies on
the ground. There were no planes coming in yesterday. One of my
coordinating partners, AMURT-Haiti, worked to find a plane of 30-40
doctors and supplies that could come, but the plane was not allowed to
land in the PAP airport. We have teams in the Domiican Republic with
truckloads of supplies, but they were stopped at the border and were
not allowed entry.
The situation here is desperate and getting restless. The John
Hopkins Students who were visiting Rights based Haiti and AMURT when
the earthquake hit, have been doing surveys and assessments of the
clinics and refuggee camps in the nearby zones. The surveys that they
conducted two days ago show that none of the people in the camps had
food or water to last them more than a day.
Here at Matthew 25, we have been doign amputations, and other painful
surgeries, with no painkillers, no anesthesia, nothing to work with.
There are no tools for our doctors. We have numerous Haitian doctors
and nurses here but no supplies! We have run out of antibiotics twice
but then found them by searching at nearby clinics run by missions and
We have heard nothing from MINUSTAH. I have not seen any of the
international agencies on the ground. I have seen belgian doctors and
cuban doctors all doing amazing work – but we have not seen or
received any contact or assistance from higher agencies ourselves.
The city has run out of water and food – but the biggest problem is
gas and diesel. The little that trickles in to the one or two gas
stations is the subject of fights that will soon become rioting. At
matthew 25, there no diesel to run the generator. We are using the
last power that the inverter has that may cut out at any time. Our
vehicles are all on their last ounce of fuel. I have sent one of my
trusted staff and friends who worked closely with me during the
gonaives emergency in 2008 to find gas this morning. I am afraid for
him. There is no way for him to communicate with me because there is
no phone service in the country. Now we are also running out of
money. I gave my last cash today to pay for gas, a little bit of
food, and a spare tire for one of our vehicles to replace one that was
stolen. The nearest western union is two hours north in St. Marc and
we are not sure if that is still functioning.
An added pressure on the city right now is that, due to the lack of
communications, many people from the provinces are coming to search
for their loved ones. They then add to the numbers of people stuck in
PAP with no way out, no food, or water.
All of the problems that exist in catastrophes, we are expereinceing
now. how to dispose of the bodies, the human waste, how to move
people out of the city. Everyone here is fearing rain because they
think that the first rain will move the earth under the standing
houses causing those buildings to fall as well. Each day more things
I am coordinating with AMURT, KONPAY, Beyond Borders, Matthew 25, and
many other partners on an integrated response that will help us get
through the next week as well as prepare us to deal with the coming
months of insecurity. We have coordinated the shipment of diesel from
the open port in cap-haitian, the use of a shipping company to haul
fuel from the DR to PAP, the use of a large protected storage compound
to store the fuel. We have Haitian volunteers working with the John
Hopkin team to conduct the surveys to provide us important data on the
numbers and locations of people who are in need of medical care, so
that when help and supplies arrive, we are able to efficiently get
people to where they need to go. We have worked with grassroots
leaders in Commune Anse ROuge to gather information throughout the
commune on family names and locations in PAP so that each village can
send on e or two people to serach for loved ones in PAP rather than
everyone from the villages going into the disaster zone.
in general, we are being used as a place for information exchange.
journalists, and organizational representatives are checking in daily
to give updates and share information which i then share with my
contact at KONPAY who then shares the information with the larger
network of NGOS that we are coordinating with. until MINUSTAH is able
to re-establish a coordination base, we are making the MAtthew 25
house the coordination headquarters for our operations.
Haitians are helping each other in glorious acts of compassion and
kindness every where you look. These people have endured so much
unspeakable and unnecessary suffering. I am today, as always, blessed
to be walking with them in their struggle to overcome their awful and
unfair circumstances, and am even more blessed to be sharing in the
strength of spirit that makes each one of them my hero.