Confusion and bottleneck frustrate aid efforts in Haiti

By January 18, 2010

Haiti (MNN) — United Nations peacekeepers say anger is rising over the
slow distribution of aid to victims of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti last week. 

Steve Bostian with
CURE International spoke to us from the airport in Port-au-Prince. He describes masses of people
wandering in a daze in the streets, all of them homeless, many still searching
for loved ones.

City parks have turned into impromptu refugee camps, with the
ever-present tarp tents and small fires. A minimal police presence has Haitians
tensing the potential for an explosion of lawlessness.

Bostian says those planning the distribution operations are heeding the
warnings of the peacekeepers. "For
the military convoys of food and supplies that are being planned right now,
they're planning the same level of security that they would plan for a warzone

Emergency teams and supplies flew into the damaged Port-au-Prince
airport; others were sent by sea, arriving at a damaged seaport.  

However, with no functioning government, there is no one to organize
where they go once they land. High
security, a rush of supplies, coupled with a lack of organization, space and
fuel means there's a bottleneck at the airport, which is slowing distribution

That also means that getting bigger aid teams in will be more difficult, and
hospitals are short handed. Bostian
explains, "At the hospitals I visited, less than 25-percent of their
personnel showed up for work–which means they're either dead, or they've got
their own family crisis that they're dealing with."

Bostian says their help is needed. The
CURE team established a base in the city. They are working in
cooperation with the UN, USAID and other organizations. "We were the first medical mission to
come in and assess their medical situation and to offer assistance." 

CURE is mobilizing more assistance. Next to search and rescue teams,
the biggest need will be for surgeons and skilled medical professionals to
treat the injured. CURE is coordinating with organizations on the ground to
provide their expertise.  

Team members responding to the need go with a dual purpose. Bostian says, "That always lends itself to people asking the question, 'Why did
you come? Why did you do this?' During those times, we have the opportunity to
share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and answer that question fully."

Donations to CURE's Haiti Relief Fund will be used
to provide emergency medical assistance to victims of the earthquake. Click
here if you can help.


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