100 days have now passed since the January 12, magnitude 7.0, earthquake shattered Haiti, and especially its capital Port-au-Prince.
In the days that followed media agencies told a non-stop news story of what became almost 200,000 casualties and 300,000 injured, directly related to the quake. Today the needs of the Haitian people remains urgent, and the impact on their society as catastrophic, but the light of media attention has been switched off and left a disaster in the dark.
On the streets of Port-au-Prince all clear spots and open spaces are occupied by temporary camps and tents that are turning into more and more permanent housing for hundreds of thousands of people. Sanitation in the street camps is extremely poor and diseases related to the lack of access to safe water and sanitation systems are spreading and have high epidemic potential, a risk that is rising with the rainy season coming closer. Diarrhea and other simple diseases are claiming lives daily in the camps and in the hospitals.
In spite of an impossible situation that will take years to recover from, and call for many more casualties in the process, the Haitian people posses a strength and determination that deserves all admiration. The will to rebuild and move on is stunning and ever present! The urge to rebuild does however hold another threat, as the work to tear down building remains is extremely dangerous and safety equipment is non-existent. Work crews are seen all over town climbing around halfway collapsed buildings, taking them down by hand, brick by brick. The emergency rooms have a constant flow of workmen having fallen from or being crushed under buildings. Some are patched up and send back to their families, some pay with their lives in the effort to re-gain what was lost.
The need to secure food, water, sanitation and housing is immense and is far from having reached any acceptable standard. Please keep donating what you can to the Haitian people – they need it.
I am currently working on a story focused on orphaned children in the wake of the earthquake. Will post as soon as possible, sign up for the RSS feed to be informed of updates.
Separated by death, but still as if reaching for each other, bodies lie on the concrete floor of the hospital morgue in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on March 25, 2010. Two months after the quake the morgue remains overloaded due to conflicts and the general public health situation.
A young woman arguing with guards at the hospital gates to be allowed inside before nightfall.
Dirty instruments piling up outside the emergency tent outside the main hospital.
A young boy watches over his mother who has just come out of surgery a few minutes earlier. A fan in the corner is trying to keep the tent cool.
A boy is salvaging wood from a destroyed factory. In spite of the situation there is an immense will to move on and rebuild.
In a cloud of dust a wall collapses in a back-alley as the rebuilding process slowly begins. The work is extremely dangerous and casualties are high due to the unstable remaining buildings and complete lack of safety equipment.
A man with chest injuries is being supported to stand for an x-ray examination of his lungs.
With an injured foot and no clean water, a man is doing the family laundry, while his girlfriend is watching from their tent in a smaller camp next to the Presidential palace.
A destroyed government building downtown Port-au-Prince.
A father watches over his 2 days older daughter while she’s receiving treatment in the maternity tent in the general hospital. Much of the hospital was damaged and the remains are unsafe, most people are treated in tents outside, struggling with intense heat and no air-condition.
A medical worker is quickly scanning the shelves of medicine in the emergency tent, while patients are pouring in from the never ending lines outside. ItÕs a hectic and non-stop workplace for this American team of doctors and nurses.
A man is trying to catch a glimpse of what is happening in the neighboring tent of the hospital. After receiving treatments himself he is now bound to a hospital bed outside, with nothing to do but wait.
The hospital church is closed due to the danger of collapse, and a tent is now replacing it offering a quite place to pray and reflect in the shade.
A man sleeps in the street, head buried in deep in his hands in front of a building tagged with “No life”.
Empty metal coffins piled up in a corner of the morgue outside the cold and crowded storing rooms. A deep humming from the air-condition echoes on the thick walls, breaking the deafening silence of the building.
One of many desperate signs on the streets, calling for attention from the passing trucks of aid organizations and the rest of the world.
Long lines of hungry people gather under a burning sun, during a food distribution next to a central camp downtown. Getting to the food before it runs out can be a violent game and the atmosphere is extremely tense.