More about the crisis and how you can help:state.gov/haitiquakeAbout the Author: Gordon Duguid serves as Acting Deputy Spokesman. He is presently serving with the Haiti Joint Information Center in Port-au-Prince.
I am packing, preparing to leave after two weeks in Haiti. Tomorrow, I will take a helicopter from Port-au-Prince to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and from there a flight to Washington. It will take some time to collect all my thoughts about Haitians themselves. This was my first time in their society, and I have come to respect much of their character. Yet I know them only under the most trying of circumstances, and it will take some time to reflect upon what I have learned. But if anyone should ask me how I think we've done so far, I would say that we have done well.
Port-au-Prince and some surrounding areas have water and food. The markets in Port-au-Prince are well supplied at present, and the aid distribution networks are effective, with some problems when facing large crowds and remote areas in need of more regular food deliveries. The health situation is good, but the risk of contagious diseases is high. We are working to minimize that risk. Water is plentiful and potable in most areas, but in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps there is an urgent need to continue with on-going distribution of sanitation kits, creating better shelter and digging more latrines.
Several of my colleagues spent the day at distribution sites with IDPs. Among the people they spoke to, American help is welcome and needed. The people we see are calm and dignified as long as they know that the supplies will be distributed fairly and regularly. As they know we are fair and consistent, we have had no serious security problems at our distribution sites.
We were the first nation to respond to this crisis. We have helped Americans who wanted to leave get out of the country. We have saved people trapped in the rubble. We have treated the injured, helped the orphans, fed and clothed the poor and provided security for the weak. A fairly substantial tally, and one we can be proud of. I am content to return home knowing that my newly arrived colleagues will carry on the work.
Read Gordon Duguid's previous entry from Haiti.