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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Diary: Haitian flood relief III
Flooded Haitian village of Mapou viewed from helicopter
"Looking over the whole of Mapou is like looking over a huge lake"
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 seeking ways to get food aid to those still trapped in flooded areas:

0735 - The big challenge for us this week is to go to the places in Mapou that remain inaccessible after two weeks of deadly floods. Getting there by road is impossible.

While I read my emails, Belkacem, the head of logistics, comes to tell me that the small helicopter WFP has rented is ready to take us to Mapou.

We will be investigating possible landing sites in the areas cut off from the rest of the world.

0915 - I take my rucksack and rejoin my colleagues.

In the car I remember that we don't have any drinking water. I ask Joseph the driver to stop by at the supermarket where I buy four bottles.

1015 - Time to go. We fly over Port-au-Prince in the helicopter, over huge mountains and then we see Mapou. The whole area is still under water.

From the helicopter I can easily make out rooftops and gardens. Some people say there are still corpses floating in the water.

1055 - The helicopter lands at Bicentenaire, the only place it can land, where last week, two colleagues and I carried out some food distributions.

Here there is an emergency clinic opened by Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Red Cross.

I see a line of people waiting for first aid. A very sick looking little girl is lying on a plank of wood that serves as a bed.

The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) tell us that malnutrition is widespread, especially kwashiorkor.

Treetops emerge from flooded villages in Haiti
Many areas are inaccessible, even by helicopter
About 20 cases of Dengue fever have also been reported.

We discuss with the people in charge the importance of having a list of the disaster victims to be able to plan the next food distribution better.

1320 - I am feeling a bit disappointed. According to the people I spoke to, we cannot reach the villages of Nan Roche, Saint Michel, Didier, Nan Galette and Barroi by helicopter.

We decide to survey the area from the air to see if it is true. Looking over the whole of Mapou is like looking over a huge lake.

The pilot says it is possible to land at Didier but nowhere else.

My sense of powerlessness at not being able to get to these abandoned zones just 20 minutes from the capital city makes me feel uneasy.

1425 - Back to Port-au-Prince. Still the same uncertainty about how we are going to distribute food in Mapou over the coming days.

We have to do something however or people are going to die.

1620 - Meeting with the logistic and programming staff.

What are we going to do? We unanimously agree to carry out a distribution on Thursday at Didier for the inaccessible areas and another one on Friday at Bicentenaire for the other places.

I am relieved we have at least found a temporary solution.

Meanwhile we also plan the next two distributions at Fond Verrettes for next Wednesday and Saturday where more than 3,000 families have already benefited from WFP food aid.

1640 - I go back to the pile of paperwork on my desk.

1710 - My interphone rings. It is logistics, the planning meeting is fixed for 0730 tomorrow morning.

1835 - The telephone rings and makes me jump. It is my daughter Cindy. She wants me to buy her a pizza for supper. She is already in front of the office with her father.

She tells me that my 16-month-old son Jerry is still awake in his car seat. I close my computer quickly because I want to see my son before he falls asleep




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