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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Diary: Haitian flood relief IV
A group of Haitian children near a flooded river
Children are among the worst affected by the floods on the island
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:

0520 - My husband Patrick wakes me. I have to get ready quickly, because the driver is coming to get me at 0615 so that I can take the helicopter to Mapou. 15 minutes later, Jerry wakes up and starts crying for me.

0630 - The car is already waiting for me outside the gate.

0720 - I arrive at the airport. The flight has been delayed to 0740. Meanwhile, I get acquainted with two representatives of the Red Cross and Unicef who are travelling with me. I am the only WFP person on the trip.

0750 - The helicopter takes off. We arrive in Mapou 35 minutes later. Through the porthole, I see Mapou with its destroyed plantations and remains of houses.

0830 - We arrive at the makeshift clinic. It is the same queue and the same desperate faces waiting their turn. In one of the rooms of the clinic, representatives from the different Red Crosses are already planning Thursday's distribution.

I get involved in the discussions by asking the local civil protection committees if they have finally drawn up a list of families affected. They say they are working on it.

0927 - I still don't have my lists. Without this information we will not be able to do a distribution Thursday.

A doctor from the Red Cross asks me to take a little girl who has been haemorrhaging back to Port-au-Prince

Meanwhile, a member of the Red Cross and German's Agro Action went by helicopter to a place called "Nan Gallette".

He went to see if the large helicopter that WFP has rented and which was due to arrive on Wednesday would be able to land there.

1010 - I still don't have my list, but am feeling hopeful, because the civil protection people seem to be working on it. They copy the lists for me by hand which I have to take to Port-au-Prince to prepare the ration cards.

1022 - A doctor from the Red Cross asks me to take a little girl who has been haemorrhaging back to Port-au-Prince. It is a complication of the mosquito-born dengue fever, which two weeks after the floods is rife. They do not have the equipment to treat her.

1055 - My first lists are ready and I let out a sigh of relief. Mission accomplished. Now I can start working out how much food we will need.

1135 - I meet the representatives from the different local committees to explain to them our distribution strategy.

I tell them their participation is vital. They will be in charge of distributing the ration cards and maintaining order during distribution.

The flooded village of Mapou
Treetops are all that remains of what was once the village of Mapou

1240 - Good news from the Nan Gallette mission. The people who live there are going to prepare a runway for the big helicopter which will carry the goods.

The Red Cross has to check Thursday. As we say in Haiti, "Hope Brings Life."

1250 - I'm hungry. I devour the last chocolate bar in my bag. I drink every drop of a litre of water. It is hot, very hot. Strange the Mapou "lake" isn't going down.

1305 - I get in the helicopter. This time we go back via the coastal route via Jacmel. The journey seems longer to me. We take the sick girl with us.

1350 - Back in Port-au-Prince, the man in charge of planning the helicopter flights to Mapou shouts at us. We should have been back at 1230.

He doesn't understand that humanitarian work isn't like maths. We have to discuss and negotiate. That takes time. On the way back to the office, I pick up a sandwich and some juice.




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