FRANCE 24's special correspondents reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, give eyewitness accounts of the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck the poverty-stricken country on January 12.
“People are still fighting in some parts of the town; there is still looting going on. Many people have not seen any aid yet. This being said, it’s not like that in the whole city. For example, in the neighbourhood where I am now, if you were to go out on the streets, you’d be surprised. It’s very safe, people go about their business. It’s a new day, a new week, a new phase.
“Banks opened for the first time this morning with long lines of people, many shops opened for the first time. You don’t have long lines anymore in front of the gas stations. I even saw a few garbage trucks starting to clean the streets, and women sweeping the floor in front of their houses, so there is a sense of normalcy and people reclaiming their lives.
“In the long term, it’s a huge task to rebuild the city. In the short term they need to get people to tents; sometimes people are sleeping in the road, or in so-called tents that are just sheets and sticks. If it were to rain it would be a catastrophe for these people. The UN is trying to identify places where they can set up proper care. That has been very difficult because the city is very crowded and there are few places available to set up these camps. They’re looking around the city, looking how to get water to these people and sanitation. These people are living without toilets. The humanitarian aid still needs to get in. This city is very clogged. It’s going to be very difficult. It’s going to take time.”
Date created : 2010-01-25