Haiti relief volunteers express frustration on one year anniversary
Dr. Mana Kasongo helped in medical tents in Haiti one year ago after devastating earthquakes tore the country apart. One woman Dr. Kasongo helped until she died remains in her memories.
"We realized that nobody actually named her. She didn't have a name because in all of the chaos no one had actually gotten her name," she says.
Instead of taking a planned vacation, Dr. Kasongo took a detour to Haiti to volunteer. She documented her experiences on a blog featuring video entries.
Mission: Change, a local non-profit that raising money and supplies for those in need, collected goods for Haitians last year. The group served as the collection point for Southwest Georgia and some other states. Member David Blackwell says thousands of pounds of materials were sent over by cargo ship and airplane.
"In a matter of days at some times, those relief supplies were in the people's hands of Haiti," says Blackwell.
But many of the supplies have yet to make it to these people.
"I have a really good friend and he spends a lot of time there, usually once a month he's in country. He says you can see shipping containers lined as far as the eye can see that have never been unloaded," says Blackwell.
Dr. Kasongo says she's frustrated at the lack of progress in Haiti.
"250,000 people died and there were a million people that were displaced and put in tents. Those people that I met in tents, it appears that they're still in tents," she says.
Dr. Kasongo says a lot of the things that happened last year stuck with her for days after she returned and continue to even a year later.
"It was a tough situation, but the people were really resilient and very happy for the help," says Dr. Kasongo.
And according to her, the situation for Haitians is still tough.
"This are still bad there with the cholera outbreak now and with the elections weeks ago that were really violent. It's like one thing after another for this country," says Dr. Kasongo.
She says encourages everyone to donate to charities like Unicef in an effort to continue delivering support to Haitians. Dr. Kasongo says it's one of the organizations she witnessed giving help during her stay in Haiti last year.