By Jos de Voogd, Cordaid/Caritas Netherlands Communications Officer
Caritas will have its first major distribution Tuesday.
So far distributions have been on a small scale because of security. But if you can secure an area you can scale up.
The information I get keeps on changing. We start off with the message of three trucks coming over, two with water and one with food. But in the end seven trucks arrive on the site. Two trucks come straight from the Dominican Republic, the other five from the CRS (Caritas USA) warehouse.
The distribution is at Petain Ville club, the area of the golfclub of Port-au-Prince, where the US soldiers of the 82e Airborne Division have made camp. There are about 25,000 people there who have lost their homes and are surviving under plastic sheeting.
When we arrive, there are about 1000 people waiting for the distribution. They are behind a line of US soldiers. But the number of people is growing fast and soon there are about 5000 people present.
The seven trucks bring about 1000 family food kits in large buckets, each good for one family for two days, packages of water, plastic sheets and non-food items.
All the items are handed over by the Caritas volunteers to women only. It may not be enough for everyone present, but it’s a good start.
I talk to Rose St-Preux, 32 years old. She was at work in the travel agency when the earthquake struck. The building is damaged but did not collapse.
She immediately went home and found it totally destroyed. She lives with her mother, sister and three brothers who luckily survived. Now they live in a courtyard very close to the Petain Ville Club with 60 other people.
“It’s very hard”, she says, “We have nothing. We live on what a small shop owner could save from his destroyed shop. This Caritas distribution is the first aid we get”.