By Stephen Gibbs
BBC correspondent in Mapou, Haiti








The village of Mapou covered in water
The village of Mapou remains almost entirely under water


Many haven’t eaten anything for five days since the catastrophic flooding destroyed what little they possessed.


The village itself remains largely under water at the moment.

It is an extraordinary sight, particularly from the air, to see nothing more than a lake with a few buildings around it. You have to imagine that this was once a village in a valley.

Eerie silence

Food and water are beginning to arrive by helicopter – the only way to reach this remote area. But aid agencies say they are struggling to cope with the numbers.

It’s eerily quiet in this area, almost all the community’s farm animals were killed in the deluge.

Nobody knows exactly how many people were drowned when the town was submerged early last week.






Aid delivery
International aid is beginning to reach the worst-hit areas
Scores of bodies have been recovered but many more are thought to remain under water or to have been swept out to sea.

Survivors tell extraordinary stories of being woken, if they were lucky, in the middle of the night realising that their house was about to be swept away.

Almost everyone that survived the disaster has a relative that was killed.

One mother spoke of seeing three of her children drown in a matter of minutes.

Others said they spent hours clinging to treetops as they watched all beneath them disappear.

The main focus of the aid effort here, and across the border in the Dominican Republic, is to keep the survivors alive for the coming week.

Disease risk

The aid agencies are confident that they do have the ability to reach these people, partly because there are a lot of helicopters in Haiti because of the international force here.

But it will be a challenge and they admit there are still some places they haven’t even visited yet.

Aid workers fear that another threat may be looming.

They say that unless decaying bodies are retrieved soon from the flood waters, the entire water system of this area might become contaminated, and those that were spared from the initial devastation might yet become its victims.