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Haiti Earthquake Appeal: Security concerns lead to armed escorts for Aid

Haiti orphans have a hard life
Haiti orphans have a hard life

Increasing instability in Haiti makes the safety of SOS Children Aid an issue, leading to armed security guards.

The first trucks from SOS Children, which is running its emergency earthquake relief from over the border in the Dominican Republic are expected in Port au Prince today. As well as emergency supplies the convoy will include SOS experts from Costa Rica and Peru on disaster management as well as a team of 15 trauma therapists, reflecting SOS's special role dealing with actually distressed orphaned children. However the trucks will have an armed escort. The regional director of SOS Children, Patricia Vargas, explained that an increasing tendency towards violent attacks and rioting among the population of Haiti made the armed escort for the convoy indispensable. It is tragic that people might attack Aid convoys but is also a reflection of just how desperate life has got in Haiti. Would you attack an Aid truck if it was the only way to stop your own children from starving?

Haiti Earthquake; buildings collapsed around the SOS Village

A fly over of the road route into Port au Prince yesterday gave concerns about groups of desperate men alone the route. The security situation in Haiti was an issue before the earthquake. "We only hope that the situation will not escalate to delay aid getting to those in desperate need" said Andrew Cates, CEO of SOS Children UK.

On a more positive note, the fact that SOS has intact infrastructure (amidst devastation, see photo of neighbouts) is already being put to good use with the soccer pitch of the SOS Village in Port au Prince being the most likely site for the first mobile hospital unit (with the village still having working sanitation and generators). This will be finalised in the next day or so as NGOs meet on the ground and find the best ways to work together.