Saturday, February 13, 2010

Today in Port-au-Prince

Photo 1: Integration Systems at work. Figuring out best line of sight for WiMAX antennas. Ihave to lose five pounds.
Photo 2: Universitie building. Six floors before the earthquake
Photo 3: No one faint but in the top right of the photo is a green traffic light.
Photo 4: Now that's a view. From the top of the mountain SW of the city looking down on Port-au-Prince. Airport in the center of the photograph.

All I can say is that this city has returned to life.

I am staying with the owner of MultiLink and his wife in their home in the hills. It is a very nice place and comfortable.

Paolo and I were all over the city today doing quite a few things. Some related to MultiLink's network architecture. We spent half the day at the Government of Haiti's office. In all of the driving around I noticed a number of things have changed:

People are smiling on the streets quite a bit.
Much less horn honking in the traffic and the traffic is flowing much better.
One reason the traffic is flowing much better is the traffic lights in many intersections operate now on a solar panel/battery system. Traffic lights make a big difference.
Aid distribution points are literally all over the place. Lines are long at some (perhaps 100 people?) but appear manageable. People seem to be getting what they need.
A lot of electricity scattered down the hills into the city. A month ago the center of light in the city at night was the airport complex. That is still bright but there are lights scattered all over. Some are generators some is actually utility.
I was at a small field hospital at the site of the collapsed Universitie Quisqueya. A terribly tragic story there as all of the buildings collapsed and scores died. The field clinic had one patient come in during the 90 minutes we were there.

Many many changes of course and many tens of thousands of people still in tents in every park and empty space. One of the differences in the month is that all over those camps one sees big 50 pound bags of rice with the old red white and blue courtesy of USAID.
Water tankers seem to be on every corner; I know that is not true but there is water being delivered. I saw a number of places where people were washing cars; if there is enough water for that it is an indicator that problem has been reduced.

As I said we were at the office of Haiti's government today. Multilink is providing internet capability to the temporary office in the headquarters of the national police. There were some problems this morning and I went over with Paolo and we figured out what was going on. We got with the Cisco emergency response team that is working wit Multilink and got the problem solved. That's not bad for a days work along with the technical assesment I gathered data for today.

It is time to start getting the world community serious about the next stage. Haiti can be helped to become what it can be out of this situation. What better memorial to those who died than to rebuild Haiti for the future of all?

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I welcome comments, questions or anything anyone wishes to post on the situation in Haiti.