Over the past month we have seen a shift in our emergency relief as some camps have emptied, with the people moving on to other areas of Port-au-Prince or, if they are able, to the provinces. Other camps have either grown or shrunk in size. Currently we are serving 11,440 displaced persons in 14 camps near our Bourdon Center. We are providing latrines, tarps, food, water, diapers, vitamins, clothes, and ongoing medical care to those most in need. In April and May 2010, eight of the camps are being forced to relocate due to the threat of flooding from the approaching rains. Currently our community organizers spend time each day meeting the camp leaders and the women, finding out what is most needed, what are the biggest concerns, and then translating this information into action as we find ways to help the people find solutions.
The Sitron Camp
Sitron is one of 14 camps that AMURTEL supports. Many of the people in the camp had decent housing before the quake. Now they are living in very small spaces divided by metal and cotton sheets. Roofs leak, there is mud everywhere and preparing food is a huge challenge. But even within these grim conditions we see signs of hope – people laughing, women clustering around a new-born baby, small shops selling basic supplies and children playing soccer.
In a recent women’s meeting led by our community organizers, 200 women were shown how to use new water filters that would help reduce the increasing number of intestinal problems our medical teams are treating. The women took turns speaking of their situation and almost all requested help in getting back to work. In fact, this was a common request from everyone in Haiti. No one wants to continue relying on outside aid. All are anxious to find a job or rebuild their own businesses that were lost in the earthquake.
The need for ongoing medical care is great, with our teams treating an average of 100 people a day. The problems have shifted from crushed limbs to illnesses more associated with extreme poverty and cramped living conditions.
For more information on AMURTEL’s work in Haiti please visit www.amurtelhaiti.org.