As you should guess by now this blog will partly be devoted to great articles and insights about social media and part dedicated to spreading word for my friend’s nonprofit about the current situation on the ground and their work in Haiti. This may seem like a drift in mission but if you know about social media and social networking it really isn’t. If you don’t understand why, don’t worry, I’ll be talking about this over the next few weeks, possibly longer. And soon there will be more posts about social media and some of the things I’ve learned this week. Because I don’t want them to get lost here and because many who came to this post specifically aren’t necessarily interested in that I’m only posting about Haiti today. Tomorrow a bit more insight into what I’ve learned and a few really eye-opening articles. (I’ll give you a hint, if you’re not on twitter you should be).
So as for Haiti. As you know from my last post I posted here because my friend Kathy is simply too busy (as are other people in her tiny org) getting aid to people, not writing, tweeting, blogging or advertising. This is what I can do for her and her organization. Help spread the word about what’s truthfully going on, share with people who care- there are sooo many of you! and give the truth from the ground a bit more publicity then it’s currently receiving.
My last post on Haiti raised a lot of questions. Here they are with the answers to them direct from Kathy:
What organizations are requesting the forms to be filled out?
We are hearing reports that Minustah (the UN overseer in Haiti) is requesting these forms before aid can be authorized for an area. Although we understand the need for over sight and coordination the 100 question form contains questions that most would not have the answer to (Haitian or other) such as the GPS coordinates.
Are these forms that individuals from a community has to fill out if they want to transport supplies back to their community? These are forms that an aid group or leader from a community has to fill out. I am unsure how the food is distributed once approved because we have now taken it upon ourselves to buy truck and boat loads of food and are bringing it to communities not being served.
Is there anyone else with first hand knowledge that can write about it?
We are hearing of similar reports from other NGO’s working on the ground. I am sure they have already written about it and as I said we have moved on and are focusing on delivering emergency aid. Some of the groups that I know have written about this are Konpay, Beyond Borders and Soil.
Are there any pictures we can get of supplies sitting at airport?
I do not have any pictures but even CNN was talking about this story and showing the back log of supplies.
Do they have any knowledge of locations that have received NO aid yet?
Yes we have a coalition of 25 small NGO’s working together in Haiti that send and share assessment reports. There are MANY areas that have not received any aid. I am also receiving phone calls from Haitians all over the country reporting no aid. The large aid relief efforts are focused on the tent cities in Port au Prince and in Jacmel. However there are hundreds of thousands of affected residents that are not in these tent cities. To put it in perspective here are some numbers, there are 2 million homeless, over 250,000 killed, over 300,00 injured. Over 450,000 residents of Port au Prince have fled the capitol returning the countryside reaching every corner of the island. Over 60,000 have reached Jeremie alone one of the farthest point on the island and over 14 hours away from Port by boat. Some people walked 6 days to reach there.
It is not surprising given the vastness of destruction and mayhem that there would be some delays in getting aid distributed but a point to remember is that UN has been in Haiti since 2004 with over 7,000 peace keeping troops already on the ground through out the country with bases, supplies and a infrastructure that could have facilitated aid in the first couple of days.
HSDF is part of the Haiti response coalition and has brought food, water, medicine, doctor and volunteer teams into 4 areas that had not received any other aid.
We will continue to work on getting emergency critical aid to these areas and coordinate to serve other areas we know are still waiting several weeks after the catastrophe.
Hope that helps. I have heaps of other facts and numbers but literally have pages of reports.
I will be doing what I can to keep the information flowing. As I said, Kathy has worked quite literally since this thing happened to find her family and get aid to the unaided people in Haiti. I don’t know that she’s taken even a day off yet so getting more information isn’t something I’m willing to push for. I have told her to just spout information (emails, reports, you name it, well written or not) to me and I’d pull from them the relevent bits and pieces but even this is one more step in her insanely busy life. I will get more information from them as often as possible without adding more stress to an already insanely stressful time.
In the end I’d rather have people I know and trust making things actually happen in Haiti than having them spend even a fraction of that time writing, blogging or reporting. The good work doesn’t involve those things no matter how much we’d love to know what’s going on. Thankfully there are organizations more interested in getting aid to people who are suffering then paperwork and written documentation!