Archive for January, 2010

Meeting 35-year-old mother Ndoole in DRC

Posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 at 10:39 am

This is Ndoole who used 26 of her 28 vouchers on school fees for her children. Photo: Feargal O’Connell, Concern Worldwide, Masisi, DRC.

This is Ndoole who used 26 of her 28 vouchers on school fees for her children. Photo: Feargal O’Connell, Concern Worldwide, Masisi, DRC.

Trading vouchers for school fees is something we have integrated into the fairs here, and it is proving to be very successful, even among the poorest families. The person that I spoke to at the Cash Voucher Market that affected me the most used all but two of her vouchers on school fees for her kids.

Ndoole is 35.  She has seven children and has been living in an informal camp for seven months since she was forced to flee conflict and her home village.  She fled to a place called Bukombo where other displaced families were taking refuge.  We ended up chatting with Ndoole because one of Concern’s drivers, Eddie, was helping her with her vouchers – the Cash Voucher Market is a new experience for all those participating, so some need a helping hand. Read the rest of this entry »

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Haiti declares an end to its rescue operation

Posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 11:09 am

Concern nutrition officer Imacula Pierre performs a MUAC measurement on 2-year-old Richard as 28-year-old mother Josephine looks on. They will be among the first patients at Concern's newly reopened nutrition unit.

It is now 11 days after the earthquake, and the Haitian government have declared an end to the rescue operation. It is a sad day for many people as the awful realization sinks in – whoever has not been found alive by now, never will be.

What strikes me, is the acceptance of this tragedy by so many people, ‘this is gods will’ they say, but is it? Over the last 11 days the only chance I have had to really think about this atrocity is when I sit down to write this blog. My head starts swimming and I think of all I have seen during the day, conversations I have had, comments I have heard and it is difficult to digest it all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Your Questions on Haiti Answered

Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 8:20 am

Why did it take so long to get the aid flowing?

Tom Arnold CEO of Concern Worldwide speaks with Concern partners in Haiti. Photo: Ed Kenney, Concern Worldwide

The sheer devastation of the earthquake was one of the main reasons for this. The airport traffic control towers collapsed. The port was destroyed. Roads were full of rubble and fuel stations were destroyed. People who would normally deal with an emergency were themselves affected, with loss of life, family members and homes. Under such difficult circumstances, it is unsurprising that the aid effort needed time to get going.

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Haiti: More than 13,000 reached as Concern continues water distributions

Posted on Friday, January 22nd, 2010 at 3:06 pm
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Evans, aged 24, surveys his destroyed home

We did another water distribution today. Standing patiently in the queue was Evans, a 24-year-old teacher whose house was destroyed during the earthquake: “You are the first agency to come and help us here. There are more than 2,000 people in this camp and we need more help.” Evans invites me to visit his house—or to put it more accurately, the remains of his house. Read the rest of this entry »

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Large scale water distribution gets underway in Haiti

Posted on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at 8:05 pm
Young boy at Concern Water distribution, who just poured a small bucket over his face. Photo: Ed Kenney, Concern Worldwide

Young boy at Concern Water distribution, who had just poured a small bucket of water over his face. Photo: Ed Kenney, Concern Worldwide

It’s 6am, I am just getting ready to go to the office: the floor starts to shake. I start to shake. The door bursts open, and my colleague asks, “Should we run?” We stare at each other. The shaking stops.

The epicentre of the aftershock today was only 35 miles away from Port-au-Prince and it measured 6.1 on the Richter scale—this only over a week after the initial hit. No one is certain of the physical damage from today’s quake, but I do know it has damaged the spirits of the people here. People whose houses remained intact had decided to move back in last night, only to be awoken by this shock.  The earthquake fear and tension has increased significantly. Read the rest of this entry »

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Susan Finucane’s daily blog from Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Posted on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at 11:00 am

The heartache, a week after the earthquake, is still palpable. Driving down to distribute critical medical supplies to a health clinic in Carrefour, the epicenter of the quake, I witnessed some horrific things. In an area called Saudelle, the houses did not simply collapse, they were pulverized. So many homes are now merely dust. My fellow Concern team member says, “This is my neighbourhood, Susan,” as tears fill her eyes. Out the window, I see three bodies, lying in the open, waiting to be cleared away. I saw many bodies yesterday, and the day before: but I had not yet seen those of children. Today was that day. A small boy, maybe eight or nine years old, was left decomposing on the street. This was the hardest thing I have had to witness yet, and it took all my might to hold back my tears.

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Situation worsens in Haiti as violence escalates

Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 5:53 pm
Camp at Place de Paix in St. Martin, Haiti

Camp at Place de Paix in St. Martin, Haiti

The situation is becoming more difficult and violence is filtering out onto streets as the Haitian people demand more assistance. Their patience is faltering but their needs do not lessen. Many of our staff returned to the office today, and emotions were mixed. I was so happy to see them but then saddened as they spoke of their losses; one colleague lost her husband; another, her child. Read the rest of this entry »

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First Days in DRC

Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Cash for Work beneficiaries (and local partner staff in green t-shirt) preparing rocks for rehabilitating the Loashi-Masisi road. Photo: Reka Sztopa, Concern Worldwide, Masisi, DRC.

Four continents, five countries, six flights, four lines of latitude, eight time zones, an early Christmas lunch in London with my family, a 90-minute wait for baggage and three hour/75km journey along awful roads through stunning scenery brought me straight to a Concern distribution in Lushebere, Masisi, North Kivu, DRC.

When I pictured arriving in Masisi I imagined maybe a team meeting, unpacking my bags or maybe even a lunch.  I didn’t picture arriving in the midst of a distribution serving 600 displaced people but to be honest, it was exactly the reason I had chosen to come to DRC: the needs here are staggering.

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Haiti Crisis UPDATE

Posted on Monday, January 18th, 2010 at 10:22 am


Author is: Susan Finucane is a Program Officer for Concern Worldwide US, and was until only a few months ago, Documentation Officer for Concern in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she lived and worked for over two years. She has been deployed to Haiti to help our team on the ground respond to the catastrophic humanitarian crisis caused by the January 12th earthquake, which utterly razed Port-au-Prince and has left 3.5 million in need of food, water, shelter, and medicine.

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Initiating Concern’s “Pro-Sante Child Survival Project”

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

I am en route to Niamey, Niger’s capital city, and from there I will continue on to the Tahoua region, where Concern works. I am travelling to help set up a new five-year Child Survival program that we are undertaking in collaboration with the government of Niger. The program will deliver child health and nutrition services in a rural area. Read the rest of this entry »

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