Interview and explainer - Tony and Myrta 8 15 2300 USA CST
We do not have many new updates yet, late this evening, the government of Haiti declared a one-month state of emergency so all government staff is called to mobilize to bring the help they can to the victims in the south and greatest affected areas. Also, to help assist and even rescue people stuck under the rubble and debris.
From the last update, it was reported 304 were dead so far but the news says more.
Our information states all the Star of Hope projects is safe. We have talked to all the leaders of every project, and we know they are safe. Also, we do not have any reports of any child being injured or harmed.
We know little about what's happening in the rest of Haiti because the government and the news are not providing Haitians with information, we are getting a lot of information from friends in WhatsApp and the outside international news services.
Also, due to the government is not sharing enough data, making it very difficult to make decisions on humanitarian interventions. We have received a few photographs from the South so we know that most of the heavy damage is near Les Cayes and Jeremie and along the South West coast.
Of course, there's a lot of different problems brewing at the same time it's not just the earthquake the gang activity is huge now and it is very violent. About one month before the president was shot 3 different gangs camped out in Martissant, a small village just east of Carrefour. Blocking carrefour and all traffic from Port au Prince to west and south to the most damaged areas. All flow is blocked.
The 3 gangs, (think small armies) are fighting over control of the area. Gang violence has never been more prominent. This activity again is important because the town of Carrefour is the only traffic intersection to get from Port-au-Prince to the South because of the geography of Haiti and the mountain road south is also blocked.
The compounded problem now is the gangs are stopping all transportation, they have made holes in the walls in the towns near Carrefour and shoot with rifles through the holes. They shoot at anyone who travels through the area. Travelers on foot or in vehicles run the risk of being robbed at the least, being killed is also a risk. Murder seems to be more than the norm in order to take their cargo.
The police are helpless, we heard the government had asked the United States to help but so far we have not seen anything from them.
The government has just announced that they will mobilize the Army and more Police force to secure the main road going to the south. We do not know if we'll be able to go outside next week or maybe later, simply put "we are stuck”.
Again the gang violence problem has created compound situations on top of all of this and it is a gas shortage, no one is willing to drive gas transportation trucks so there is no gas. Now due to this, the food trucks are not moving.
One result of this is the people in the South who have no storehouses or ports where they can get food from will run out of food fast and there will be a new type of humanitarian crisis.
The only way we'll be able to do a humanitarian intervention is by helicopter or by actually taking a ship to the South to the port of Les Cayes.
During Hurricane Matthew, we helped two villages down in the Les Cayes area. In Roche-Jaboin we assisted with fishing motorboats and food distribution. The children also received school supplies, in Debouchette we did a two-time food distribution and delivered children's school supplies.
It would be good to plan to attempt to help them again when safe but that under no circumstances can he accept a foreigner, right now he can't simply guarantee his safety and doesn't want to take a foreigner’s life on as his responsibility.
Also, there are a lot of injured people too, all hospitals are full, many injured just lay down outside waiting for help but most of the hospitals are run out of medical supplies and also have a lack of qualified staff. Medical help in terms of supplies and doctors’ team are highly needed and can’t reach the South because of again, the armed gangs who stand on the main road from Martissant to Carrefour.
I am not sure at this time what is needed because the fact finders and reporters are not being allowed through. Communications are choked and we still don't have a good idea of what's going on in our country. One hopeful news is that the bandits might cease their activities long enough to start to let humanitarian transports flow because their own families and their people might be injured and in need of help. Of course, we don't know how this will play out
Again, we are stuck.
Myrtha Dor, Director of Star of Hope Haiti says, I just experienced this morning another earthquake in Haiti that revived some bad memories from 11 years ago; the noise of the collapsed houses and cries of people in heavy dust that covered the country. I was still in my sleep when I felt the heavy shake of my bed. For me, I thought it was a trick by my husband to wake me up. But, as I realized I was in the room alone and the noise that came with it. I knew it was an earthquake and ran in no time reaching the outside. Today I feel and understand the turmoil of the people living in Les Cayes and Jeremie; two locations largely affected by this earthquake. Hospitals are full and help is still in queued to reach them as armed gangs invest the main road to reach the south.
I hope in this new humanitarian crisis, Haiti will find a friend country helping the nation to reach other areas and each other by helping this new government to resolve the gang’s problem to free the south side locked down since 2 months back.
Tony Bursiquoit, operations manager says "This earthquake is one more disaster that has been added to several existing disasters such as the health crisis, the food crisis, the armed gang crisis, the long-lasting political and economic crisis that has plunged the country into chaos.
The whole country is in a total humanitarian crisis which requires an emergency food aid intervention and full support for children's education to avoid parents paying their children's school fees over the next year of school.
If Star of Hope cannot go to the south to help earthquake victims, we can help those affected by multiple existing crises with food and special back-to-school support to eliminate all school fees for parents:.by providing two school uniforms instead of one, all books and supplies instead of a few, two meals a day instead of one, comprehensive teachers' seminar to improve the quality of education and health care for kids.
End of report.
To donate to the earthquake victims or to the children in general please visit www.starofhope.us/give
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