October 16, 2021

in Haiti, the despair of those who lost everything in the earthquake

Par Angeline Montoya

Posted today at 1:53 p.m.

” Nothing. We have nothing left at all. Nothing. “ The word comes back on all mouths. The terrible 7.2 magnitude earthquake that devastated the departments of Sud, Nippes and Grand’Anse, in western Haiti, on August 14, reduced small houses of stone, wood and earth to the state of rubble in this rural area of ​​Nan Kadé, in the commune of Pestel, 300 kilometers – and more than six hours by road – west of Port-au-Prince. The meager cassava and yam crops were crushed by landslides that killed peasants in their gardens.

Read the testimonials: “For now, it’s survival”: in Haiti, after the earthquake, the survivors are destitute

“Look, look where we sleep! “ Evelia Michelle, 35, does not take offense. She goes from shelter to shelter, lifting pieces of fabric with holes, trying to show how this makeshift camp which brings together 300 families from the surrounding area survives: four stakes planted in a rectangle form a space of 2 m2 at most, covered with a sheet, a blanket or an old barely waterproof tarpaulin for the lucky ones. Inside, men, women and children sleep on the floor, on dried banana leaves supposed to insulate them from humidity. Rickety berths have been set up for the most vulnerable, the elderly and pregnant women.

A man injured in the earthquake, in a tent in the courtyard of the Immaculée-Conception hospital in Cayes, capital of the Sud department in Haiti, August 26, 2021.

Immediately after the earthquake, they slept under the trees for three days, receiving the full force of the downpours of the storm Grace which befell the region, evil blow of fate, in this time of hurricanes. which is only just beginning and which promises to be more intense than ever. “A magistrate from the area came to see us after these three days, says Evelia, he distributed some blankets, said that we couldn’t form a camp and that we had to get out, and he left. How can he say that? I haven’t eaten anything for five days, we drink the water from the well, the children get sick, we had already suffered from Hurricane Matthew in 2016, now we don’t know what will become of us… ” Evelia runs her fingers over her eyes. She’s not crying. She’s just exhausted. “We see the aid trucks passing by, but none of them stop for us! “, she continues with the indignation of despair.

“Babies born prematurely”

Entire villages were wiped off the map in a few minutes, on August 14 at 8:30 am No house in Marceline, a small hamlet in the commune of Camp-Perrin, before Nan Kadé, was spared. Ten days after the earthquake, its inhabitants were still burying their dead. A few kilometers after Marceline, on the road to Jérémie, the landscape is Dantesque. Sections of hills (mountains) collapsed. The road has been cleared, but huge boulders still block a lane for hundreds of meters. On the right, a sign announces: “Panoramic view”, like the reminiscence of another life. Further on, two men are pushing back tons of earth and stones with a shovel, as one would try to empty the sea with a teaspoon.

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