As at midnight 21 Jan we can report:
Our third shipment by road arrived today in Santos from the Dominican Republic (we have had air shipments of equipment too). Each road shipment is around ten tonnes of emergency supplies and the third shipment will start being distributed tomorrow through the six working community centres in the poorest communities. In round numbers 10 tonnes provides enough supplies including water for 120 families (of on average 8-10 people) for a week. As the amount of relief is still small, we are being careful to ensure that it gets to the poorest and most vulnerable families whom we identify and keep helping rather than just to families with strong adult men who can pick up goods from central distribution points.
Regional Director Patricia Vargas writes that
"we are continually reviewing and trying to improve our operations. We have added two external experienced consultants to our team to help with planning the emergency response. The senior one is Lorena Alpizar, with 15 years experience and who has worked for organisations such as Economic Commission for Latin America (CEPAL ), PAHO, University of Costa Rica , and national emergency committees in several countries in Central America who will arrive on Monday in the Dominican Republic where we are planning. "
As well as providing emergency relief we are trying to meet with people and improve co-operation between NGOs where there is room for short term improvement. We have been given free use for one month in the village of Santo, of satellite equipment to make phone calls of high quality from the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) for. This equipment will be installed by technicians from the ICE on 22 January directly in the village of Santo.
Plans with the Dominican Red Cross on the mobile hospital have made good progress. Today's meeting (21 January) of Johann Denk with the CEO (Gustavo Lara) and president of the Dominican Red Cross moved it forward and extended discussion from a mobile hospital to an operations hub for the Red Cross. This would include provision of health services, primarily first aid for the beneficiaries of the SOS emergency programme, the current population of family strengthening programmes, and other beneficiaries of the area of intervention, children in the “safe place” (SOS temporary shelter), SOS families and co-workers.
This would give increased security at the village from social recognition for the work of the Red Cross (military protection from the Dominican Republic is no longer possible in Haiti). Parallel food distribution by the Red Cross is being evaluated for implementation in a later stage, but for the present only our supplies would be distributed. Close co-operation with the Red Cross and a hospital would also help speed up identification of lone children and making them safe in our shelter