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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 June, 2004, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Diary: Haitian flood relief - V
Marie-Josette Pierre, an aid worker with WFP
'I am fast becoming a local here in Fond Verettes'
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:

0450 - Patrick leaves his alarm clock ringing to force me out of bed.

I start to have a wash. Jerry gets up and starts crying "Mummy, Mummy..."

My husband picks him up. I quickly get dressed, drink a coffee and grab my rucksack.

0525 - Pierre Richard, the driver, is already there. I make him wait 10 minutes while I prepare Jerry's milk.

0610 - I arrive at the office.

0645 - Time to go. On the way we pick up Renand from the UNDP and Carroll the national director of programmes supported by WFP. Finally we leave for Fond Verettes.

0850 - The inhabitants are already assembled at the distribution point. Waiting.

The civil protection team and police officers have prepared everything.

A space has been cordoned off for us. The beneficiaries are lined up in rows according to their district.

It is starting to rain. The sky is very cloudy. I am worried because the convoy of goods is on its way.

0935 - I have spotted the seven-vehicle convoy.

The packers are already in their positions for unloading. The operation begins. Ration cards are checked and the names ticked off the list.

The rain keeps falling. I put some plastic sheeting over the stack of food sacks.

It is starting to rain. The sky is very cloudy. I am worried because the convoy of goods is on its way

1010 - The strategy of distributing by area seems to work.

The eight-family groups leave with bags on their heads.

Meanwhile, I meet some representatives from NGOs who go back and forth between Fond Verettes.

They want to know what WFP are doing and I explain our mission for the umpteenth time.

As usual, they take some pictures of the queues and leave 30 minutes later.

1310 - I go back to the school where we are doing the distribution.

There has been no school for the children since the disaster because families who were made homeless by the floods are now living in the classrooms.

A woman calls me, I recognise her. I am starting to become familiar with the faces of Fond Verettes.

It is my fourth distribution and I am fast becoming a "local".

She has brought me some rice and peas with a sardine sauce from a tin. The food must have been prepared from her rations.

I am surprised and touched. I don't want to take it, but she looks disappointed and insists.

1420 - Distribution is nearly finished. I take advantage to peek into the part of the school building that has been turned into a warehouse.

I am outraged - the piles of cooking utensils, work clothes, water bottles, sterile gloves and so on have been thrown into an untidy heap.

I ask the civil protection guys where these gifts came from and he explains that lots of organisations send things without first working out what is needed or how to distribute it to victims.

I am in for a shock: the helicopter that was supposed to be taking the food has not yet arrived

The tireless civil protection guys distribute the goods as best they can.

1510 - The team that left to make the road assessment from Fond Verettes to Mapou come back empty-handed.

There is no way can we make the journey with our trucks full of food along that road. We leave.

1610 - I call Sony, the logistics assistant, to get an idea of Friday's plans for distribution in Mapou.

I am in for a shock: the helicopter that was supposed to be taking the food has not yet arrived.

1640 - Magda calls me by radio. I have to pop in to the office to change the distribution plan with logistics.

I am disgusted because everything had already been arranged with the people in Mapou for the distribution.

I can already see the beneficiaries that live in the cut-off areas arriving by foot at the distribution centres two hours before they have to be there, ration cards in hand.

I cannot go home to bed with this image in my head.

1820 - I find someone to pass the message on so that people do not wait for hours in the sun for nothing.

I call Nancy, Dulaurier and Myrtha to tell them the mission has been cancelled.

1938 - A little body in a red dress and a head covered in bunches appears. It is Cindy who has come to get me. Patrick is in the car with Jerry who is already sleeping. I go back home exhausted.

2130 - Patrick's mobile rings. It is Belkacem for me. They must have found a way to distribute food in Mapou.

He would not have called at this time otherwise.

I was right: the American contingent of the multi-national force - which suspended flights from Mapou since 1 June - have agreed to transport the goods to Mapou.

Our plans are back on track. It is a good end to a difficult day.




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