Report from staff from SOS Children Dominican Republic on returning from the first convoy delivery into Haiti.
"We found SOS Children's Village Santo, east of Port-au-Prince, in a general atmosphere of calm. However all families are doing everything outdoors and even sleeping in the courtyard of their houses, so great is the fear that aftershocks will endanger their lives inside the houses."
The national director in Haiti was clearly relieved when he saw we were there to support him. As staff from SOS Haiti had lost their homes, they were living in the SOS Children's Village Santo, short term. Despite the village being a safe and quiet place, among staff and children there is an air of sadness and distress.
Importantly, the basic conditions for implementing our work are limited since there is no mains electricity, phone and internet services. In all the meetings held with our staff we gave absolute and unconditional support and commitment.
Our general assessment was
SOS Children's Village (CV) Santo: There is some normality in its operation, there is food for approximately ten days, the water supply works while there is gasoil for the plant and there is not too much damage to infrastructure. The two injured SOS youths have received medical attention and are on track to recovery. No special measures required except for the assurance of food.
CV Cap Haitien in northern Haiti: There are some minor damages in infrastructure and no specific action is required at the moment except for the assurance of food.
SOS Schools: the operation of schools was suspended until 17 February due to national government orders. The building is mainly intact and available for distribution.
SOS Family Strengthening (FSP) / Outreach Programme Cap Haitien: Community centres are not operating at this time for national mourning but operations will commence in the coming days.
FSP Santo / Port-au-Prince: None of the 16 community centres are open, people are scared and have left for the countryside with relatives. A high percentage of the homes of the families SOS supports have collapsed. It is known that ten mothers of nine community centres are injured, four parents have died and many others are missing, and there are children living in the streets, but not in the vicinity of the children's village. People are camping outdoors. The lack of food is increasingly worrying, and it is the most important priority.
Bringing together parents' committees to organise the distribtuion of food (although at present in small amounts) and to restore the operation of community centres - later this week.
Providing food for a period of up to two months to needy families in the vicinity of the children's village in Santo and also to needy families residing in the area of a community centre.
Immediate implementation actions:
- Immediate delivery of food and distribution to the community centres
- Relocation of National Office to CV Santo (community hall)
- Establish satellite communication
- Continue contact with UNICEF, WFP, CRS, CARE and other aid agencies
- Establish basic conditions (water, food, electricity, etc ...) for visitors / volunteers
- Organisation of work teams by areas