News / Americas

Relief Efforts in Haiti Slowly Take Hold

Frustration grows among Haitians as they still have no access to food, water and medical treatment
Frustration grows among Haitians as they still have no access to food, water and medical treatment

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Aid workers in Haiti say earthquake relief efforts are starting to make an impact in Port-au-Prince.  But frustration is mounting among Haitians who say they still have no access to food, water and medical treatment. 

Fresh water is being delivered to the weary in downtown Port-au-Prince.

But as former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited the quake-ravaged capital promising to step up the delivery of aid, the people in the city say they are still going without.

Inoge Laviette is with the international aid organization Action Against Hunger.  This is the first time he has delivered water to the people who camped across from the presidential palace.

"The people have to walk around and go blocks away to find what water they can.  Sometimes when they are desperate; they will drink any water - even dirty water with bacteria - to survive," Laviette said.

Mirland Xavier's house was destroyed in the  quake.  She and her family have been sleeping under a tree for almost a week. They are quickly running out of food and money. 

When we asked her what she planned to do, she said, "I don't know," "No one has distributed anything to us," she said. "Whatever we have, we manage to share.  So far, we have managed to feed just ourselves, with no help from any government, politicians or international organizations."

The European Union has offered Haiti more than $575 million to help in the recovery effort.

Pledges from Europe and other nations are making Haiti's recovery the biggest global relief effort since the 2004 Asian tsunami. Canada says it will host a meeting next week to coordinate the efforts of Western donors and the United Nations.

But future pledges are of little interest to the people of this devastated city.  Their concern is the present.

We stopped at a Chinese medical aid tent were a baby was having her wounds treated.  Philipe, with the Chinese International Search and Rescue Team, told us they are doing all they can.  But he acknowledged it is not enough.

"I have never seen anything like this in my life.  I am here with a Haitian colleague and I am very sad to see the Haitian people experience a terrible moment like this," he said.

For now, people here are doing what they can.  Up and over a pile of rubble, past a corpse rotting in the hot sun, some men found cases of drinking water in what was once a convenience store.  They asked us not to photograph their faces.  They were not looting they told us. "This is survival."

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