Haitian Quake Victims Rush Help Websites And Take Meals And Provides : NPR

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Police on Friday in Les Cayes, Haiti, confronted residents who temporarily overtook a truck loaded with relief supplies. Fernando Llano / AP Hide caption

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Fernando Llano / AP

Police on Friday in Les Cayes, Haiti, confronted residents who temporarily overtook a truck loaded with relief supplies.

Fernando Llano / AP

LES CAYES, Haiti – Haitians, hungry and homeless by a devastating earthquake, swarmed with aid trucks and in some cases stole much-needed goods on Friday as the poor Caribbean nation’s leaders struggled to coordinate aid and reiterate their chaos Avoid responding to a similar tragedy 11 years ago.

The attacks on aid supplies illustrate the growing frustration of the homeless following the August 7.2 earthquake that killed nearly 2,200 people, injured more than 12,000 and destroyed or damaged more than 100,000 homes.

“I’ve been here since yesterday and can’t do anything,” said 23-year-old Sophonie Numa, who was waiting in front of an international aid station in the small town of Camp-Perrin in the hard-hit southwest of Les Cayes region. “I have other people waiting for me to come back with something.”

You can't afford Haiti fatigue.  So they accumulate as further catastrophes

Numa said her home was destroyed in the quake and her sister broke her leg during the quake.

“The food would help me a lot with the children and my sister,” she said.

George Prosper was also in the large, frightened crowd waiting for help.

“I am a victim. I was taken out from under the rubble,” said 80-year-old Prosper. “I don’t feel good standing right now. I can barely hold on. ”

Local residents crowd in front of a truck loaded with relief supplies in Vye Terre, Haiti, on Friday. Fernando Llano / AP Hide caption

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Fernando Llano / AP

Local residents crowd in front of a truck loaded with relief supplies in Vye Terre, Haiti, on Friday.

Fernando Llano / AP

In the small port town of Les Cayes, an AP photographer saw people steal foam insulation pads from a truck parked in Red Cross compound while others stole food intended for distribution, said Jean-Michel Saba, a civil society official at the State protection authority. The police managed to escort the food truck safely away, Saba said. He did not say how much was taken. In a community outside of Les Cayes, people also stole tarpaulin from a truck.

Similar thefts appeared to have taken place in the small town of Vye Terre near Les Cayes, where a second AP photographer witnessed a group of men pulling large sacks from a half-open container truck. Then the people packed the sacks and hurried away. A man who got away with a package of food was immediately surrounded by others who were trying to snatch it from him when people shouted nearby.

The frustration at the pace of aid has been increasing for days and is reflected in the growing number of people who crowd at the aid distribution points. But Friday was the first time it was that widespread.

A woman carries food aid at Camp Perrin, Haiti on Friday. Fernando Llano / AP Hide caption

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Fernando Llano / AP

A woman carries food aid at Camp Perrin, Haiti on Friday.

Fernando Llano / AP

Some of the looted trucks were part of the convoy of the US-based nonprofit group Food For The Poor. The trucks carried boxes of water, sacks of rice and beans, and boxes of wiener sausages.

“Although this unfortunate situation took place, our drivers were able to stay safe and the trucks were not damaged,” spokeswoman Soraya Louis said in a statement. “… Our employees in Haiti are working on assessing the damage and finding out how they can continue with the tasks at hand in order to reach even the most remote places in need.”

To make relief affairs more difficult, officials began restricting access to the bridge connecting Les Cayes to the small earthquake-hit port town of Jeremie, which meant that relief supplies had to be brought there by boat or plane.

The quake wiped out many of the sources of food and income that the poor depend on in Haiti, which is already grappling with the coronavirus, gang violence and the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Most of the devastation occurred in Haiti’s already impoverished southwestern region.

According to Serge Chery, head of civil defense in the southern province, which also includes the small port town of Les Cayes, it is estimated that more than 300 people were still missing on Wednesday. In that community, a group of Mexican rescuers focused Friday night on an earthquake-damaged two-story house where devices that allow them to detect noise under the rubble are picking up noise.

Pressure for coordinated relief increased this week as more bodies were pulled from the rubble and the injured continued to arrive from remote areas in search of medical care.

International aid workers on the ground said hospitals in the areas hardest hit by the quake are largely incapacitated and that medical equipment is urgently needed.

People stand in line for food aid in Camp Perrin, Haiti on Friday. Fernando Llano / AP Hide caption

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Fernando Llano / AP

People stand in line for food aid in Camp Perrin, Haiti on Friday.

Fernando Llano / AP

Prime Minister Ariel Henry on Friday called on international governments and relief agencies to channel all of their donations through the country’s civil protection agency, “which will specify the needs of every city, village and unvisited remote area.”

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed met Henry on a two-day mission in Haiti on Thursday and also visited earthquake victims in the city of Les Cayes. She said Friday that she was “particularly impressed with the work” of the Haitian civil protection agency, which “needs to be empowered to lead a coordinated response”.

Henry said earlier this week that his administration would work to “not repeat the story of mismanagement and aid coordination,” a reference to the chaos that followed the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake when the government was accused not to get all the money raised from donors to the people who needed it.

Mohammed said doing things differently “will require investment in long-term development and governance support”.

The Core Group, a coalition of key international diplomats from the United States and other nations that oversees Haiti, said in a statement Wednesday that its members “are determined to work with national and local authorities to ensure that the people and areas affected are affected get adequate help ”. as quickly as possible.”