Elderly and Abandoned, 85 Haitians Await Death -AP
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The old lady crawls in the dirt, wailing for her pills. The elderly man lies motionless as rats pick at his overflowing diaper.
There is no food, water or medicine for the 85 surviving residents of the Port-au-Prince Municipal Nursing Home, barely a mile from the airport where a massive international aid effort is taking shape.
"Help us, help us," 69-year-old Mari-Ange Levee begged Sunday, lying on the ground with a broken leg and ribs. A cluster of flies swarmed the open fracture in her skull.
One man has already died, and administrator Jean Emmanuel said more would follow soon unless water and food arrive immediately.
"I appeal to anybody to bring us anything, or others won't live until tonight," he said, motioning toward five men and women who were having trouble breathing, a sign that the end was near.
The dead man was Joseph Julien, a 70-year-old diabetic who was pulled from the partially collapsed building and passed away Thursday for lack of food.
His rotting body lies on a mattress, nearly indistinguishable from the living around him, so skinny and tired they seemed to be simply waiting for death.
With six residents killed in the quake, the institution now has 25 men and 60 women camped outside their former home. Some have a mattress in the dirt to lie on. Others don't.
Madeleine Dautriche, 75, said some of the residents had pooled their money to buy three packets of pasta, which the dozens of pensioners shared on Thursday, their last meal. Since there was no drinking water, some didn't touch the noodles because they were cooked in gutter water.
This makes me cry. And I keep hearing that we are better, that things like this won't happen here. I don't know that I trust that. Humans can panic, and things can rapidly deteriorate.
I am in a situation that keeps my mother close to me. My father died a few years ago. But many are not in a situation that can keep your older or severally mentally ill family members near them, or at home. Now, while all this is fresh in our minds, is the time to talk to the nursing home about what their preparations for a disaster situation. If you don't like their reply, their are a few things you can do.
1. Move your family member to a different home
2. Move them in with you
3 volunteer to help improve their preparations.
You as the responsible party also need to have your own plans. Find different routes from your home to the nursing home. Different ways you can get to and from in the event anything should happen. Stock up on some things you might need for that family member, diapers, special foods, meds if you can. Do research on different herbs that claim to be efficient at treating your family members illness. I don't suggest you take them off their meds. But in an emergency, when meds are unavailable it doesn't hurt to be able to sooth your family member.