lunes, 10 de septiembre de 2007

GOOD AND BAD NEWS/ BUENAS Y MALAS NOTICIAS



El pasado sabado llego otro convoy a Mahahual. Con la ayuda de la armad holandesa, preparamos mas de 200 despensas (bolsas de comida que contenian arroz, frijoles, aceite, cafe, sopa y atun); unas 450 mosquiteras para hamacas;cajas y cajas de repelente de mosquitos, protector solar y espirales para mosquitos; un monton de mantas; bolsas de ropa donaday ropa interior para niños y adultos; lonas y como siempre bolsas de golosinas para los niños. Alex de la Armada Holandesa arreglo con la empresa Cristal mandar un camion desde Chetumal con 1200 galones de agua, que se comparron con un buen descuento y repartidos sin coste.

Estas son las buenas noticias. Tambien hay malas. Es lo que vimos y oimos pero no sacamos conclusiones.

Esto es lo que vimos (o lo que no vimos)....

1.- No hay signos de ninguna de las ayudas prometidas. No hay señales de la Cruz Roja, y no han estado aqui. Todo el mundo espera que esten llegando, pero son tres semanas desde el huracan.

2.- Muchas de las personas que evacuaron Mahahual por el huracan Felix (que gracias a Dios no daño Mahahual de nuevo) no han regresado. Algunas parts de Mahahual empiezan a parecerse a una ciudad fantasma. Sin agua ni comida, es facil entender porque la gente se rinde.

3.- No lo sabemos con certeza, pero alguien nos dijo que gente sin identificar ven el huracan Dean no como una crisis sino como una oportunidad: La oportunidad de reconstrur Mahahual de una forma moderna, turistica, orientda al turismo de cruceros. Este rumor dice que a los habitantes con pequeñas viviendas de madera y techos de palapa se les esta desalentando y disuadiendo para que no regresen y construyan.

4.- Lo qe si leimos personalmente fue un periodico local que dice que este estilo de viviendasno podran ser construidas de nuevo a menos que el propietario consiga un permisode el Gobierno local con un coste de 500 pesos. Cualquier intento de construccion sin el permiso, segun leimos en el periodico, significaria una clausura inmediate de los trabajos. Personalmente vimos un edificio, con el cartel de "clausurado", lo que indica que el pemiso no ha sido obtenido. Parece que los edificos que se construyan en concreto estan libres de ese permiso.

5.- Ademas observamos que ni la Cruz Rojani el Gobierno han ofrecido comida, agua o asistencia medica. Vimos algunos tasadores en diferentes lugares cerca de la playa. Paramos y les ofrecimos agua y les preguntamos quienes ern. Nos informaron que trabajan para el gobierno y que estaban haciendo estudios para la construccion del nuevo malecon.

6.- Le preguntamos aun local, al que le ofrecimos agua y comida, si habia recibido alguna ayuda de la Cruz Roja o del Gobierno. Nos contesto que solo una vez desde el huracan, vio a alguien ofreciendo despensas, pero no hubo sufciene para todos. Nos comento que un oficil le dijo que si alguien preguntaba por la ayuda recibida, el no debia mencionar la ayuda de los "gringos".

7.- A la entrada de Mahahual hay un gran cartel colgado que dice "No hemos recibido ayuda: Nos han olvidado". habia otras señales del departamento de Turismo diciendo que estan trabajando para reconstruir Mahahual.

8.- Kevin nos dijo que el comedor del peblo que daba de comer a 300 personas, a cargo de Francisco, desde justo depues del huracan, lo cerraron hoy.

POr favor saquen sus propias conclusiones de estas observaciones.

Con el descenso de poblacion, el Playa Pals disuio anoche para enfocar mas en las necesiddes particulares. Claudia hizo una peticion de parte de un residente local, ob, un señor de 70 años que trajo en la Rna Cansada. bob tiene una muy seria infeccion en la pierna y podria ser amputada, pero no consigue el tratamiento medico ue necesita y teme que si viene una ambulancia para llevarselo al hopital sera abandonado. Claudia pregunto a los chicos de Playa si podrian pagar una ambulancia y revisar el comienzo de su tratamiento. Pidio aproximadmente 500$ y lo aceptamos.

Del mismo modo, Williem y Ale de nuestra Armada Holandesa volvieron de distribuir alimentos con la triste historia de una familia, dos adultos y tres niños, viviendo en una de las partes mas pobres del manglar y estan desesperados por ayuda. Ambos pades estan tan afectados por una artritisreumatoide que no les resulta facil comenzar a recuperar. Nuestros amigos fueron invitados a entrar en la casa y lo que unico que tenian era una hamaca. NADA MAS. Los hicos sugirieron al resto del pequeño grupo tener una especial atenión con esta familia y a parte del agua y la comida conseguirles, con el dinero de las donaciones, algnas otras cosas como cacharros para cocinar, mesas y sillas de plastico, ropa para niños, zapatos (ninguno de ellos tiene y elterreno y el agua estan llenos de parasitos), y cualquier otra cosa necesaria para que vuelvan a tener un hogar. Lo que pensamos como organizacion es que sin una ayuda institucional, posiblemnte no podremos dar comida y agua a todos en Mahahual, pero podemos ayudar a algunas familias en especifico.

NOs gustaria contar una historia mas. Mientras repartiamos agua y comida en un area, una mujer embarazada con un niño pequeño acpto la ayuda. Un poquito despues volvio con un bowl, que habia confeccionado ella misma cortando una botella de plastico. El "vaso" contenia agua y unos cubitos de hielo, y nos dijo que lo fueramos psando entre nosotros, insistiendo en que necesitabaos beber porqu estabamos trabajando muy duro. Fue en ese momento cuando Heather comenzo a llorar.

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Yesterday the Playa Pals did another convoy to Mahahual. With the help of the Dutch Army, we took more than 200 dispensas (packages of food containing rice, beans, cooking oil, coffee, soup, soap & tuna); about 450 mosquito nets for hammocks; boxes and boxes of mosquito repellent, sunblock and mosquito coils; lots of blankets; bags of donated clothing and new underwear for children and adults; many tarps and, as always, bags of candy for the kids. Alex of our Dutch Army arranged for Cristal to send a truck from Chetumal to meet us there with 1200 gallons of water, which they sold to us at a discount and delivered for free.

That's the good news. There is some bad news. We're going to tell you what we saw and heard and not reach any conclusions ourselves. We'll leave that to you.

This is what we saw (or didn't see):

1.
There was no sign of any of the promised help. There was no sign of the Red Cross whatsoever, and they had not previously been there. Everyone hopes they're on their way, but it has now been three weeks since the hurricane.

2. Many of the people who were evacuated from Mahahual for Hurricane Felix (which did no damage there, thankfully) have not returned. Certain portions of the Mahahual area are beginning to resemble a ghost town. Without food and water, it's easy to understand why people are giving up.

3. We have no personal knowledge, but we can report that some people told us of a rumor moving through town that unidentified people see Hurricane Dean not as a crisis but as an opportunity--an opportunity to rebuild Mahahual in a more modern, tourist-friendly, cruise ship-oriented tourist town. This rumor says that people with small palm thatched roofed wooden structures are being discouraged from rebuilding and returning. We have no personal knowledge whether this is true or false.

4. What we did observe ourselves was a local newspaper which stated that palapa style homes could not be rebuilt or fixed up unless the owner first obtained a permit from the local government at the cost of $500 pesos. Any attempt to rebuild without a permit, according to the newspaper article, would result in a government-enforced halt on work. We personally saw more than one building with "Clausurado" signs, indicating that no permit had been obtained. It appears that larger concrete structures are exempt from this permit.

5. Although we observed no Red Cross or governement aid offering food, water or medical assistance, we did see surveyors in several locations near the beach. We stopped and offered them water and asked who they were. They informed us that they worked for the governement and were surveying for the building of the new malecon (oceanfront walkway).

6. We asked one local resident, as we offered him food and water, if he had received any government or Red Cross help. He said that the government had been through once since the hurricane, offering dispensas, but there had not been enough for everyone. He replied that a local official had been telling people that if anyone asked about the assistance, he should not say that the "gringos" brought it down..

7. At the beginning of Mahahual there is a large sign hung by the people of the nearby areas of Placer and Ubero which says "We have received no help; we have been forgotten." There were other signs through Mahahual from the Department of Tourism saying that they are working to rebuild Mahahual.

8. We were told by Kevin that the community kitchen, run by the incredible Francisco since immediately after the hurricane, is closing today.

Please draw your own conclusions from these observations.

With the drop in population, the Playa Pals discussed last night focusing more on individuals rather than on large-scale relief. Claudia made a request on behalf of a local resident, a 70 year old man named Bob who once worked at the La Rana Casada. Bob has so serious an infection in his leg that it must be amputated, but he has no way to get to medical treatment and is afraid that if an ambulance takes him to the hospital, he'll just be abandoned. Claudia asked if the Playa Pals could pay for an ambulance and oversee his initial medical treatment. She asked for approximately $500.00 for this, and we said yes.

In the same vein, Willem and Alex of our Dutch Army contingent came back from their distribution of goods with a sad story of a family, two adults and three children, living in one of the poorest areas of the mangroves and were desperate for assistance. The family had lost everything, and both parents were so crippled from rheumatoid arthritis they could not easily begin to recover. The guys were invited into their home and found nothing but a hammock. NOTHING. The guys suggested to the rest of our little group that we give this family special attention and provide them with some of the necessities of life even beyond a package of food of water. We all agreed that we would spend some of our money and donations buying such things as cooking pots, plastic table and chairs, specific clothing for the children, shoes (no one had shoes, and the ground and swamp water is filled with parasites), and whatever else we could think of to help them create a home again. The thought of our group is that without institutional help, we cannot possibly sustain food and water for everyone in Mahahual, but we can help some specific families.

We'd like to tell one more story. As we were handing out food and water in one area, a pregnant woman with a small child accepted some of our help. A short while later she returned with a bowl which she had obviously made herself by cutting the bottom of a plastic container. The bowl was filled with water and a few cubes of ice, which she then asked us to pass around our little group, insisting that we needed it because we were working so hard. That's when Heather started crying the hardest.

1 comentario:

Hojuela Crugiente B&N dijo...

Hola, yo conozco Mahahual y a su gente... mi hermana vivio ahi durante 5 años y justo días antes de huracán Dean se fué de ahi, ya que está esperando a su bebé. Gracias a Dios no vivió el huracán fisicamente, pero moralmente estamos preocupados mi familia y yo. Sabemos que la carretera está intransitable y que se necesita ayuda, quisiera saber como poder enviar ropa y viveres ya que en este momento me es imposible viajar a Mahahual. Porfavor contactenme ya que yo puedo enviar algo de ropa y organizar a mis amigos para que envíen viveres o medicinas si es necesario. Gracias