Aid amounting to 100,000 dollars for 210 families in Haiti.
The Greek Caravan of Solidarity transported tents, toys and money in its "luggage", altogether a total of 100,000 dollars for 210 families in Haiti.
In the capital city of Port-au-Prince, the smell of garbage and the remains of 200,000 corpses left in an advanced state of decay under the rubble was overpowering. The children are the biggest victims of this wretchedness. After the earthquake, many children have disappeared, and there are many who believe that a huge market in the sale of human organs is going on.
15,000 kms separate Greece from the distant and fragile country of Haiti. A mission from the Greek Caravan of Solidarity travelled there almost four months after the catastrophic earthquake of the 12th January.
It took approximately that long to complete the Caravan's programme of economic adoption, which began immediately after the disaster. The earthquake had literally wiped out the devastated and abandoned west part of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean.
Two hundred and ten Greek families contributed 100,000 dollars for purpose of supporting the corresponding number of 210 famillies in Haiti.
Organization of the programme began five days after the earthquake, when Dimitris Mognie, a doctor and member of the Greek Caravan, arrived in Port-au-Prince together with other doctors, in order to set up an outdoor clinic to help the casualties.
“The reality here is tough”, Mr. Mognie warned us on meeting us at the airport. He had enormous experience having carried out over two hundred missions in war zones and in areas that had been hit by natural disasters.
In collaboration with a local humanitarian organization “The Foundation for Lost Children” and its President, Floran Green, they tried, amidst the chaos, to put together lists of families who would be given aid. A necessary prerequisite for assistance was to have had one’s house destroyed and for one parent to have died.
A particularly difficult procedure if one bears in mind that 85% of Port-au-Prince has been razed to the ground and complete anarchy prevailed.
The word chaos does not begin to describe the reality of a country which has been completely devastated and where absolutely nothing was functioning. "I have never before set eyes on people living under such conditions," said Kostas Papadigenopoulos in a shocked voice.
"We have carried out difficult and dangerous missions over the last 20 years of our operations but the reality in Haiti is beyond belief”.
But you close your eyes, open them again, and the images are even more distressing as we move further into Port-au-Prince. People, pigs, and skeletal dogs wandering around in the mud and rubble searching for water or maybe even a scrap of food. Eventually the cameras stop, the lights go off, but the tragedy continues.
The Greek Caravan of Solidarity tries, in those difficult moments to offer its presence. “Certainly the problems are not solved that way, but at least we help as many as we can," remarks Mr. Papadigenopoulos.
Internationally, another NGO does not exist which gives money directly into the hands of the beneficiary. But this way ensures that the help will be received and not go astray.
The result was that a measure of optimism was restored for a little; optimism on the faces of the 210 families that received 300 dollars, an amount of economic help offered by the corresponding number of Greek families. The money was a godsend for the Haitians especially when coming from a country that nobody had heard of.
The biggest victims are the children who see their parents – those who still have them - to fight for a plate of food. The children who often never know a father, and who, from one moment to the next ,are in dangerous of falling victim to illegal adoption, or even to become victims of organ trafficking.
If the international community does not decide to actively help, then for these people this will be just the beginning.