U.N. says 750,000 in SW Haiti re­quire ‘life-sav­ing as­sis­tance’

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By David McFadden and Ben Fox

MARFRANC, Haiti — At a cramped po­lice sta­tion serv­ing as a makeshift clinic, Dar­line Derosier fas­tened IV drips to jail cell bars, wiped the brows of cholera pa­tients and tended to the wounds of those in­jured when Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti’s south­west­ern penin­sula.

She was the only health worker help­ing about 40 pa­tients Mon­day in­side the sta­tion bereft of po­lice as she waited for help to ar­rive in the hard-hit town of Marfranc nearly a week af­ter the Cat­e­gory 4 storm struck Oct. 4.

Among the pa­tients was an el­derly woman ly­ing un­con­scious on a jail cell floor with a leg ban­daged in an old rag and a man with gashes around his neck, his eyes flut­ter­ing.

“Peo­ple will die soon if we don’t get some aid,” Derosier said.

The town is a 45-minute drive south­west from the coastal city of Jeremie, where food, medicine and fresh wa­ter are fi­nally ar­riv­ing but still slow to reach in­creas­ingly des­per­ate com­mu­ni­ties.

“We haven’t re­ceived any­thing from Jeremie,” Derosier said, adding that she has made sev­eral calls re­quest­ing help and med­i­cal sup­plies.

The United Na­tions hu­man­i­tar­ian agency in Geneva made an emer­gency ap­peal Mon­day for nearly $120 mil­lion in aid, say­ing about 750,000 peo­ple in south­west Haiti alone will need “life-sav­ing as­sis­tance and pro­tec­tion” in the next three months.

U.N. of­fi­cials said ear­lier that at least 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple across the re­gion need as­sis­tance and that 2.1 mil­lion over­all have been af­fected by the hurricane. Some 175,000 peo­ple re­main in shel­ters.

Elec­tric­ity was still out, wa­ter and food were scarce, and of­fi­cials said young men in vil­lages along the road be­tween the hard­hit cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie were build­ing block­ades of rocks and bro­ken branches to halt re­lief con­voys.

A con­voy of food, wa­ter and medicine was at­tacked by gun­men in a re­mote val­ley where there had been a mud­slide, said Fred­nel Kedler, co­or­di­na­tor for the Civil Pro­tec­tion Agency in the Grand-Anse Depart­ment, which in­cludes Jeremie.

The Na­tional Civil Pro- tec­tion headquarters in Port-au-Prince raised the of­fi­cial na­tion­wide death toll to 372, which in­cluded at least 198 deaths in Grand-Anse.

But lo­cal of­fi­cials have said the toll in Grand-Anse alone tops 500.

The U.N. also said the hurricane has in­creased the risk of a “re­newed spike” in the num­ber of cholera cases. A cholera out­break since 2010 has al­ready killed roughly 10,000 peo­ple and sick­ened more than 800,000.

Peo­ple in the south­ern sea­side com­mu­nity of Les Anglais and sur­round­ing ar­eas said lit­tle to no aid had reached them by Mon­day. An aid group tried to dis­trib­ute food and other emer­gency sup­plies by boat on Sun­day, but it was forced to leave af­ter a large crowd gath­ered.

“There were too many peo­ple fight­ing. They went to give it some­place else,” Claude Pierre Louis, 63, said an­grily.

She said Les Anglais needed build­ing sup­plies be­cause al­most ev­ery house was dam­aged, and most were de­stroyed. She added that peo­ple al­ready had cre­ated a com­mu­nity group to help clear the streets of de­bris and re­build on their own. Haitians re­ceive med­i­cal as­sis­tance on Mon­day in the coastal city of Jeremie.


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