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Haiti Tent City Residents Cope With Shortages


Residents of makeshift tent cities throughout Port-au-Prince say that conditions have improved since the earthquake three weeks ago, but shortages of food and relief supplies still make life difficult.

Nine thousand people are crowded the camp on the grounds of a damaged school. Some residents sell food to those who can afford it.

Water is available, thanks to international aid organizations. But the process of getting it is not always smooth.

An angry crowd stands outside the office of the local aid organization in charge of water distribution. A spokesman says relief workers hope to improve the process of water distribution, and that they desperately need more food, tents, and medical supplies.

Camp resident Rosemonde Desmesier says free food deliveries do not always reach those who need them most. "When they bring them, we get nothing. Those who can get access prevent us from getting it. The men take everything, but the women - nothing," she said.

This is the dry season in Haiti. But in a few months, the rains will come and camp residents worry about their tents - many made of bed sheets.

Alex Ocean, an elementary school teacher whose Port-au-Prince school is now closed because of the quake, says he hopes that aid distribution in the camp will become better organized and that there will be international help with reconstruction. "The future of Haiti is important. I would like that they help to rebuild the country. For now, the people need food to eat," he said.

Local Port-au-Prince Boy Scouts have come to help, but they are waiting for a tent and supplies before they can assist those in need.

A medical van is expected to arrive tomorrow. One man alerts camp residents that vaccinations will be available at the mobile clinic.

Teenage boys play basketball in the shadow of a high school, damaged and closed for now, as camp residents do what they can to get on with their lives.

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