Tonight, my heart is hurting for a country I love. I was in Haiti for most of the month of May--I came back to the U.S. on 5/31. I'll be here in the U.S. for most of the summer before heading back to Haiti in August. Tonight I am feeling helpless as I read Twitter and Facebook status updates such as these:
Michel Martelly: (Haiti's new president):
"Prezidan an ak tout ekip ijans li an ap travay tout lannwit pou vini an èd a moun ki viktim nan gwo lapli aswè a."
"We are currently responding to a mudslide between Petionville & Rou Frere"
"So far much body recovery, still keeping hope we will find some survivors."
"Our crew is rappelling down the hill to find survivors @ the mudslide. If u are in PaP and can help please call 34387073"
"At daylight we found 2 injured girls, took them to @medishare4haiti."
"Our crew rappelled from house pile to house pile on the hill checking for survivors."
"Many people trapped in their homes, not many survivors."
I also received a forwarded e-mail from someone who has lived in Haiti for much of her life, saying these are the heaviest rains she has ever seen.
I have been in Port au Prince during massive rains. It is crazy how fast severe flooding occurs in that city. Port au Prince is almost completely deforested, has essentially no functioning storm sewer system, and has hundreds of thousands of people living right at sea level, with the city rising sharply upwards from the sea (meaning the floods roll downhill). Not to mention the hundreds of thousands still living in tents, many precariously placed on steep hillsides.
I try not to be a pessimist when it comes to progress in Haiti, and I try to focus on the positive things that are happening there (though I'm not sure I always do a great job at this). And I know that like so many other challenges, the people of Haiti will get through this somehow.
But I am sad and I am so worried about friends and former patients who I am sure are wet and cold and scared right now. And as my friend Terri just wrote, "how much suffering can one little country bear?"