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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June, 2004, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Diary: Haitian flood relief II
Marie-Josette Pierre
"We only have rations for 1,700 families"
Marie-Josette Pierre is a Haitian woman who has worked for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) since 2001. She has a daughter Cindy, five, and a son Jerry, 16 months. Here she describes for BBC News Online a day spent distributing aid relief to flood survivors:

0400 - I think I hear a noise. Maybe it is Jerry asking for his milk.

I am still sleeping, but I can hear the noise of the alarm clock. That means my son did not wake during the night. I am lucky because I was exhausted.

I have to hurry because the car is coming to collect me for our trip to Fonds Verettes and I have to get my daughter ready for school.

0605 - I get to the office. The others are there before me because I am the only one who lives out of town.

0615 - I concentrate on the road. After Ganthier the road gets rocky, we go past the ravine and then into the mountains.

0840 - I see stretching out in front of me the scene of a place that, just three weeks ago, was the village of Fond Verettes.

It is market day, and in the ruins of the village there are a few stalls with hardly anything to sell, charcoal and a few cereals. Local leaders and members of the Civil Protection Corps are also there waiting.

1000 - The first trucks arrive. Journalists are also there as well as the Japanese ambassador who is bringing gifts for the disaster-struck families.

The packers put the food into bags and then start to unload the trucks.

The rest of the team gather round the committees in charge of checking the lists of people to receive the rations.

Food queue
Most people have lost a relative in the floods
1210 - Distribution starts. A crowd of around 5,000 people is gathered in front of the school that is the distribution point.

Their faces show no emotion. They do not want to show their distress. Haitians are proud people.

Even so everyone here has lost at least one relative in the floods and with so many houses destroyed they are crowding in to those houses that remain.

Unfortunately we only have rations for 1,700 families.

I do the rounds of the crowd to explain the situation and to tell them it is not worth waiting in the sun if they do not have their ration cards.

Some pretend to leave but after five minutes they are back and the crowd gets even bigger.

I go back to my station. The distribution is slow because we have to check to make sure none of the cards are forged.

I am worried because time is pushing, rain clouds are gathering and the mountain of goods to distribute is not going down.

0300 - Distribution continues. From the top of the pile of goods, I explain to each group of beneficiaries the size of their ration whilst keeping an eye on the packers to make sure they do not make off with the cans of oil which are the lightest thing to carry.

Until now there do not seem to have been any thefts.

0430 - Not a single bag of food left, but the crowd is still gathered in front of the school.

WFP is the only organisation to distribute food after the floods. I feel afraid.

How are we going to get through the hungry crowd who didn't yet get anything to eat.

My supervisor tells me to get in the car and Dulaurier clears the way for me through the crowd.

It seems like an eternity, but finally I make it to the car. We are all hungry and devour the biscuits and juice waiting for us.

0510 - We get back to Port-au-Prince tired but happy to have done our job.




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