Thursday, 21 January 2010

Arrival in Haiti

SOS Chidren's Village Santo near Port-au-PrinceIt is now one and a half days ago that I arrived here in Haiti. I am writing this blog sitting in the SOS Childrens Village in Santo, close to the destroyed capital Port au Prince. On a first view life in the village seems to be just as I have seen in other SOS Villages around the world. The atmosphere is friendly, visitors are welcome. But if you look closer, you recognize that the children are not really laughing, that they are in general quite silent, and at night time you can see how they are living in fear. They are still sleeping outside their houses, especially after the new earthquake from Wednesday morning.

Surroundings of SOS Children's Village SantoAnd still it is remarkable that inside our SOS Villages nearly nothing was destroyed. Because immediately outside the safe and secure place of our Village, the situation is unbelievably dramatic. All the TV-pictures I have seen before I arrived here, could not show how horrible the disaster really is. Only 35 seconds destroyed most of the town here in Port-au-Prince and also around here. 35 seconds changed the life of millions of people dramatically, and will last in their minds and hearts forever,  especially in the life of the children.

SOS co-workers of the emergency-relief-programme uploading donation-truck in Santo DomingoAn SOS Emergency team is doing a great job here, also the local staff of Haiti works hard, to stabilize the situation of the children in our Villages and to help lone children from outside. This is going to be the main task of the next days, bringing children left alone in to the village, and to give them a stable and secure shelter. And while we care for them SOS will be trying to search for their parents or other relatives, to reunite families.

I really have the feeling that SOS is following a good long term strategy, because we will still be here, when many other organizations have gone. But, what really concerns and a bit scares me, thinking about the long term need of the people here, is that at the moment most of the media people here planning to leave next week. This means they are leaving before the rebuilding of Haiti and the rebuilding of lifes starts.


  1. Hi Georg,

    your work over there is very much appreciated, please keep us updated on your experiences. To all our colleagues doing an amazing job in extremely difficult conditions, keep it up, we're with you in spirit!
    The job doesn't end when the reporters are gone, let's give those children a real shot at a prosperous future!
    Matt from IO

  2. gOOD WORK - And pls try to get the media to stay for a while longer - they are necessery to bring out how things are going - without their focus there will not be any action taken. It is too soon for the world to drop the focus already.
    I have had some suggestions - is it possible to bring som children over to other countries when and during the time for rebuildning homes and schools? is it possiblel or of need to send down staff that are pedagogs/educated in childcare?? who is in case of a positive answere the ones to organize it all
    Thank you again for letting us take part of your good work.
    Tinna Nilsson, Halmstad Sweden

  3. Hi Georg,

    Thanks for your good work! It must be a tough experience to be in place over in Haiti, and see all the devistation.
    I hope the people of the world keep Haiti in mind for a long time, and provide long term support.

  4. Thank you so much for your love and compassion and hard work. I am glad that there are people down there planning on staying and trying to help.

    I am a Paramedic in BC Canada and as soon as the quake hit I jumped into researching how I could get down there and help. There is so much red tape. My husband and I are interested in making the trip to help out in any way needed. We just need a way into the area and have no idea when that will be possible. How does it look from your end of things, is it still only large aid organizations being allowed in (aside from the media) can individual groups come down and help out? There is going to be a lot of help needed for re building and for humanitarian can we come and help?

    In a 5-10 years down the road, my husband and I are interested in adopting a child...we have much love and stability to offer, but in the mean time would really like the opportunity to give back and help those in dire need.

    Do you have any advice or information for us?
    Thank you for all you are doing.
    God Bless you.

  5. @Tinna Nilsson:
    We understand the wish to bring children out of the country for the time of reconstruction, but in many cases it is not at all clear whether there are still surviving relatives who are looking for them. In a situation where infrastructure has completely collapsed, reuniting families that have been separated in the chaos is an extremely complicated matter and the children have to be here for the purpose of registration.

    We appreciate your offer of helping us on the ground. Many people have offered us their help in these difficult times. However, these isues are not being handled by our co-workers in Haiti, since this would take up too much of their time. Please send your offers or questions to

    Thank you and all the best,