Smaller charities like MCC cannot hope to help on the scale that is needed when disasters of this magnitude happen. But we can do what we can. While we do not have the resources to help with the rebuilding of the infrastructure, we can instead focus on the most basic of priorities: food and fresh water. Please consider a donation, no matter how small.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that while the relief effort in Haiti is beginning to gain its footing, providing food for more than two million people a day represents the most complex task it has ever faced.
Relief agencies have tried to buy goods locally and regionally, but such efforts have been hampered because local markets affected by the earthquake have been slow to reopen, and Haiti’s subsistence farms have been unable to ramp up production. This has forced the WFP to use nearly all of its stores of high-energy biscuits and nutrient-rich meals which do not require water.
Aid agencies will begin to distribute staple foods such as rice, beans, vegetable oil and salt – instead of just emergency ration packs – once cooking equipment has been distributed widely and safe water supplies have been established.
There is an acute shortage of drinking water in areas affected by the earthquake. The water supply system, which before the disaster only provided 40% of the population of Port-au-Prince with clean water, has effectively collapsed.
Aid agencies are shipping in massive quantities of bottled water and distributing water purification tablets. Many people, however, have complained that they have received little, if any, of either.
The rapid response phase is expected to last two months and will need to be followed by longer-term activities, such as providing reliable water supplies for rebuilt homes and new settlements.