Haiti nursing home still waiting on food deliveries for frail elderly patients

By Mike Melia, AP
Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haiti nursing home still waiting on food pledges

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The staff of a nursing home that crumbled in Haiti’s Jan. 12 earthquake gave the last of its food to the elderly patients Sunday, and caregivers said they didn’t know when or how the next meal would come.

“Now the food is finished,” cook Jeannine Laurore said as she scraped the last of the mashed corn into a patient’s metal dish.

The quake that devastated Haiti’s capital also halted the home’s food donations from the community. Medical assistance has trickled in since The Associated Press first reported on the plight of the dozens of residents on Jan. 17, but they are still waiting for aid groups to deliver on food pledges.

“There’s a lack of organization,” said Jean Schubert, a volunteer security guard who brought cookies from his house to help feed the old people Saturday night.

Private donors and the nursing home director have brought occasional food deliveries, but the patients lying outdoors on urine-stained sheets say they have been hungry since the quake.

“I’m eating but it’s not enough,” said Moise Jean, a toothless man who was going shirtless. “I take it as it comes because I have nothing.”

There have been some improvements. The Haitian Red Cross is providing drinking water, and an international contingent of doctors funded by the Venezuelan government is evaluating their health. One Venezuelan doctor, Said Lopez, said none is facing medical emergencies but many will need counseling.

“Many of them have mental problems,” Lopez said. “They have been traumatized by the earthquake.”

will not be displayed