Marie-Josette Pierre
“We are ready to go at any minute”


Marie-Josette Pierre describes for BBC News Online a day spent planning aid relief for the flood survivors:

0630 – I get ready to leave my house this morning with my emergency “grab bag” that contains basic survival equipment should we need to make a quick escape.

My little daughter Cindy asks me in a sleepy voice “Mummy, are you going to feed the children whose mummies have died?”

For the past two days she has been asking me what she can give those children. It makes me happy she is so concerned.

0730 – The team for food distribution to Fonds Verettes and Mapou, the two zones worst-hit by the floods, is assembled in the office.

Nancy, Dulaurier, Myrtha and myself are dressed in our field clothes ready to go at any minute.

It all depends on whether the logistics department manage to find a means of transport to take the food.

There are no NGOs on the ground and the disaster-stricken families are completely stuck and in a state of shock.

For a week now WFP has been the only organisation delivering food. The food was arriving by helicopter but the multinational force suspended the flights on Saturday.

We are all very worried.

Marie-Josette Pierre
“The other work continues despite the emergency”
0930 – Meeting with the Country Director, Guy Gavreau. At last there is a way to get there by road.

We are going to try and get there because the week’s rations we distributed last week have perhaps run out already.

We have to be quick and start preparing for tomorrow’s mission.

1200 – I go to a meeting about an aid agreement that the UN agencies and principal donors are drawing up. Yes, the other work continues despite the emergency.

1410 – I call my daughter Cindy to let her know I love her and tell her I am leaving tomorrow. She doesn’t want to let me hang up.

I didn’t bring any lunch because I thought I would be leaving for the field today. Myrtha and Dulaurier share theirs with me.

I have just 20 minutes to answer my email and prepare the distribution plan for orphanages.

1430 – Meeting with the NGOs intervening in the disaster zones. They want to work with us on food distribution.

1500 – I arrive just in time for a coordination meeting. Everyone wants to know what our plans are for the coming days, all eyes are fixed on WFP.

1800 – I am exhausted. Patrick, my husband calls and says he is coming to pick me up. I am not ready to go and still have a lot of paperwork to do.

When I finally leave the office I see my husband with my young son waiting for me in the car and I think of the children in Mapou and Fonds Verettes waiting with their parents for hours and hours to receive their food ration.