Monday, January 18, 2010

Year 2010 - Earthquakes In Tow?

The year 2010, I was told, is to be associated with many catastrophic earthquakes.

I thought I heard it all wrong. 2010 is more likely to be linked with fire - My assumption.
Now - My honour to those well read seniors.

Around 3 million Haitians are affected with the 7 megatude Tuesday earthquake and 300,000 Haitians are made homeless. Estimation of 200,000 lives snapped. 

In emergency situation as this, the first 24 hours is the most critical moment - compromising the survivors' lives and health, wondering and living among the stench decomposing bodies in threes and fours that littered every streets - That will create mass health disaster - Infections and epidemics.

The nearest hospital had been crushed flat.

Escalation of major health problem and outbreak of diseases need immediate address.

After 5 days, I found myself still glued to the alternative news channels of AlJazeera, BBC, CCTV and CNA beside the local CNA.  

Scene of real survivors thirsty and hungry - Although provision of water had been distributed, the source of life did not reach everybody.
Immediate assistance needs extension. Although thousands had been provided with makeshift tents, many are still walking around searching for sustenance, hygiene and their loved ones.
The aftermath is similar to tsunami - Nobody ask anybody how they are moving on with life.

No ambulance in service.
Thousands of wounded are still waiting for surgery, treatment and medicine. There's doctors and nurses - Yet getting the aid to the people is the real challenge. Emergency health care is late.
The Port Au Prince Airport has only one runway.  International bodies are coordinating the airport. Some aids had to be circling midair 2 to 3 hours before landing and some aeroplanes had to be turned away.   

After 5 days of injury with no access to doctors is a challenge too.
International Red Cross had provided mobile hospital.    

After 40,000 out of 50,000 bodies found had been buried in mass grave.
The urgency to bury them, to let the living move on, ruled out that decency those dead bodies deserved.
Almost all bodies that were collected were within reach. Officials are struggling to deal with another more than 10,000 recovered dead bodies. Some were disposed at outskirt rubbish dump - The rest burnt.
Immediate families were unable to get the right information. 

Stories of hope -
A 5 year old boy was rescued alive after 3 days.

A toddler was asking for his mummy - No where to be found.
He was shielded by his father's dead body.
His rescue raised hope for more findings. 

Digging continued in retrieving human lives as faint voices could be heard amidst rubble.

"God, I'm dying." A woman under rubble was talking to God.

An 11 year old girl, scared to be under rubble only 10 feet away from rescuers was given water and anesthetic. The rescuers were contemplating to cut her right leg which had been trapped under concrete.

Search dogs continued sniffing scent of survivors.  Jackhammer was carefully used as time is running out for people trapped -After 4 days, miraculous survivors living under rubble is possible - God is everywhere watching His mortals. 

The destruction is likened to the end of war. Chunks of concrete everywhere. Those survived cannot live in their own homes - Fearing for another unpredictable quake. Thousands of people are found everywhere - trapped to living on the streets - Trying to steer away from buildings.

The weak and compromising infrastructures need fast effort in rebuilding. Roads need clearance. Reconstruction of Haiti and its development plan for those living has to take off soon. Very clear economic plan with the kind of development needed has to be in store.

Haiti had barely recovered from hurricane and this devastating earthquake is the worst natural disaster ever confronted by United Nations - They had never seen anything similar as these.

Average Haitians sustain their lives on US$2 daily. Faced with this mega scale calamities, worldwide assistance is much needed.
United Nations had appealed for fund and countries worldwide had responded with more than US$500 million contributions - More are needed to extend immediate assistance supporting the aid to 3 million Haitians.
8,000 of them are fed daily since the Tuesday disaster. The number that will be fed will increase to 1 million and more in 2 weeks time.
Fund had to be closely monitored in order for the aid to be properly channeled. It's the world's largest humanitarian  network ever engaged.
UN chief in Haiti was found to be dead among the 200,000 deaths - As the other 100 UN peacekeeping force officials who gave their lives away.
Bodies of 8 Chinese UN peacekeepers had been found under the rubble of UN building.

The fight for survival in Haiti can mean all man to himself. Not all drop-off supply managed to get through and in this chaotic situation, they are angry with the slow pace. Struggle for food, struggle for water and struggle for survival.   

With this regard, some daring people found looting for survival. The largest supermarket was looted of food and water. With little or no aid within reach, they do what they need to do.
Residence with no expertise or equipments, struggle for basic supplies. Even if aid is a little too late at the moment, it's better late than never at all.

It was reported that some a thousand men or so armed with stones, knives and hammers were seen. Officials hope and pray that its not the scene of riot although some UN doctors and medical personnel  were recalled, ordered to leave for safety reason. They left, brought with them medical supplies.
A doctor who stayed back had little to work with.  

In the meantime, massive aids are straddling at the airport.
Haiti, with 43% of its population 18 years and younger, will face another obstacle - The young will be more affected psychologically when they are away from their family members. Restoring family links is vital. They are told to pull together - Neighbours and families and friends. Volunteers help them to help themselves.

19,000 of Haitians are known to suffer from HIV / AIDS - Another major obstacle.


Mr. Stupid said...

The whole event was a disaster for Haiti. As you mentioned, they are a very poor country indeed. Maybe this was another major reason why so many buildings collapsed. They couldn't afford better construction techniques.
I pray for all those who were killed and hope people who survived can overcome their loss!

Ummie said...

Maybe it is God's message to the rest of us that our friends somewhere in some corner of the world are in desperate need of help.