Haiti: Substantial worries regarding the imminent wet season

by Saskia Hankel/RBU,  2010/03/10

80% of the small town of Léogane have been destroyed by the earthquake. The meaning of this figure becomes clear when driving through the town. Houses which seemed to be solid have collapsed, buildings have either fallen down completely to one side or the individual levels of the buildings have collapsed on top of each other.

Most of the inhabitants of Léogane have lost their homes and now – after the earthquake – they are living either in the open or they are finding shelter in tents and under canvas which have been distributed by international relief organisations.

ZAt the moment, using tents as emergency accommodation is still a good solution, but unfortunately not a permanent one. Photo: humedica/Susanne Merkel

Unfortunately there are by far not enough of these shelters for everyone and hence a majority of people use cloths or shreds of fabric, garbage bags and old wooden boards as a protection from sun and rain. Some of the victims of the earthquake, however, simply go on living between the ruins and rubble.

You can see naked children washing themselves amidst the ruins of the buildings. Nevertheless, they wave to us cheerfully. And although many people are still deeply traumatized, we realize the progressing cleanup efforts in Léogane and also the personal healing process of those traumatized.

The ruins of buildings are being removed and cracks in the street which have been caused by the earthquake are being filled in and repaired. Men and women are paid wages for this work and hence, everyone profits. Seeing that the people do not give up or lose their hope is a wonderful and admirable experience.

On the other hand, it is unfortunately just as obvious that the people cannot shoulder the burden of building up their town all by themselves and that international aid is still essential. And with the hygienic conditions in Léogane already being disastrous, all of us are substantially worried about the imminent wet season. Heavy rain showers during the last few nights have been foreboding this season and we can already imagine its consequences.

Saskia Hankel, trained paediatric nurse and medical student, works as coordinator in Léogane. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

As a result of the comparably little rain which has fallen up to now, puddles have formed and faecal matter has risen to the surface, offering optimal living conditions for malaria mosquitoes and other germs causing e.g. dengue fever or leptospirosis. In comparison to the past few weeks we are experiencing a new outburst of malaria and we are expecting that the number of those affected by the disease will rise even further.

When seeing the aid which is currently offered, but also thinking of how much support will still be needed in the immediate future, I am glad and grateful for having the opportunity of being here and helping the people. We also need your support in order to continue our relief measures!

humedica e.V.
Donation reference “Earthquake Haiti”
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00
Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Please also donate online. Thank you very much.

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