[News] Haitians are Helping Haitians

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 28 11:06:25 EST 2010


January 28, 2010

On the Ground in Port au Prince

Haitians are Helping Haitians


Hundreds of thousands of people are living and sleeping on the ground 
in Port au Prince.  Many have no homes, their homes destroyed by the 
earthquake.  I am sleeping on the ground as well - surrounded by 
nurses, doctors and humanitarian workers who sleep on the ground 
every night.  The buildings that are not on the ground have big 
cracks in them and fallen sections so no one should be sleeping inside.

There are sheet cities everywhere.  Not tent cities.  Sheet 
cities.  Old people and babies and everyone else under sheets held up 
by ropes hooked onto branches pounded into the ground.

With the rainy season approaching, one of the emergency needs of 
Haitians is to get tents.  I have seen hundreds of little red topped 
Coleman pup tents among the sheet shelters.  There are tents in every 
space, from soccer fields and parks to actually in the 
streets.  There is a field with dozens of majestic beige tents from 
Qatar marked Islamic Relief.  But real tents are outnumbered by sheet 
shelters by a ratio of 100 to 1.

Rescues continue but the real emergency remains food, water, 
healthcare and shelter for millions.

Though helicopters thunder through the skies, actual relief of food 
and water and shelter remains mimimal to non-existent in most neighborhoods.

Haitians are helping Haitians.  Young men have organized into teams 
to guard communities of homeless families.  Women care for their own 
children as well as others now orphaned.  Tens of thousands are 
missing and presumed dead.

The scenes of destruction boggle the mind.  The scenes of homeless 
families, overwhelmingly little children, crush the heart.

But hope remains.  Haitians say and pray that God must have a 
plan.  Maybe Haiti will be rebuilt in a way that allows all Haitians 
to participate and have a chance at a dignified life with a home, a 
school, and a job.

One young Haitian man said, "One good sign is the solidarity of the 
world.  Muslim doctors, Jewish doctors, Christian doctors all come to 
help us.  We see children in Gaza collecting toys for Haitian 
children.  It looks very bad right now, but this is a big opportunity 
for the world and Haiti to change and do good together."

Bill Quigley is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional 
Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a 
Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for 
years with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. He can 
be reached at: <mailto:duprestars at yahoo.com>duprestars at yahoo.com.

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