Wednesday, 20 January 2010

First Report from Port-au-Prince

The situation here is unimaginable. The country is in a state of total collapse. The catastrophe is so enormous that, a full week after the earthquake, even the combined resources of the international community have barely made a dent. It is only the US Army Southern Command that has any organization, but it is stretched to it's very limits.

The biggest logistical problem is getting aid to the people that need it. After we had deposited our aid from LDS Charities at its destination we passed by a hospital and, among the hundreds of people lying in the grass, saw two people die of septicemia because of a lack of simple medicines. Tetanus was taking hold of many others. We also witnessed amputations without anesthetics. We were so appalled we rushed back to the airstrip and grabbed some aid that an NGO had deposited there days before, claimed it as our own, and took it back to the hospital. The overworked doctors were ecstatic.

Dogs are tearing at the thousands of rotting corpses in the streets with the stench so dreadful that desperate inhabitants are using precious gasoline (now going for $100 a gallon) and old tires to burn them. There's no food, not even for the likes of us.

Not even Hollywood could reproduce a horror show such as the one we experienced today. It will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

Nancy and Dave Rivard

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