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Assessing Haiti's precarious water situation

Haiti, January 17, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Five days after the earthquake the survivors of the quake are displaced from their homes and living in open public areas, such as parks, or in vacant lots and unused space around the city. Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps

Today I am out visiting spontaneous camps of families displaced from their homes to determine their water situation — how much they're getting, where they're getting it, etc. — info that will be used to design our relief effort.

Driving through Port-au-Prince, everyone wears a handkerchiefs as a mask to block the smell of rotting bodies. On the radio name after name after name is recited — they are announcing the identified dead, but of course most of the dead here are just anonymous bodies being buried in mass graves.

We have four people here already with more on the way. We're assessing the most pressing needs and meeting with the UN and other humanitarian groups to ensure aid is distributed to most needy and we're not duplicating efforts.