CRS Distributes Rice in 3 Port-au-Prince Zones

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By Lane Hartill

Port au Prince has been divided into 16 zones. CRS is in charge of distributing rice in three zones. Starting Monday, February 1st, CRS will be distributing rice for more than 30,000 Haitians a day.

The first rice distribution happenend this morning.

Haiti food

Close to 50,000 Haitians now call the golf course at the Petionville Club home. CRS is distributing food to those living at the camp and will soon deliver to three zones in Port-au-Prince. Photo by Lane Hartill/CRS

I just talked to Jacques Montouroy, CRS’ long-time food and logistics guy. He said this morning’s distribution at Champs de Mars went extremely well. Known as one of the most challenging places to distribute food in Port au Prince, Champs de Mars has thousands of families living in the main square in front of the presidential palace. CRS’ experience with voucher distribution and staff like Jacques who has done food distributions in countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, and Central African Republic, meant CRS was suited for such a challenging spot.

Last night, about 20 people from the non governmental organization World Concern and CRS fanned out at four different displaced persons camps near the presidential palace, one of the most congested places in the city. Tickets were distributed to women at their shelters and tents near Champ de Mars, the main square in front of the palace.

This morning, starting at 5:30 a.m., CRS and the US Army helped organize people into three lines to receive rice provided by the World Food Program. The distribution started at 6:00 am. Exactly 1,691 people were given 55 pounds of rice. Only women were allowed to receive the rice. Experience shows that they know best who the rice should go to in the family. The US Army blocked off the streets and helped control the crowd.

Thanks to the early start—and the fact it was Sunday, when fewer Haitians are out and about—the distribution went smoothly.

Lane Hartill is CRS regional information officer for central and western Africa, reporting from Haiti

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