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First-hand account from our special correspondent

France 24's special correspondent reporting from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, gives an eyewitness account of the devastation.


January 15: Awaiting help amid the chaos


Melissa Bell, France 24's special correspondent in Haiti, reported the following at 3pm Paris time (GMT+1):

"People have camped out on the sidewalks for 60 hours with nothing to eat, no water, no news, no advice from the government.

"However, humanitarian organisations are arriving. I spent the night at the airport, where we saw the convoys of food, medicine, and water arriving. The problem is that the government never functioned that well to begin with and what there was perished in the quake. A number of civil servants and government ministers lost their lives, so it's hard to get the government together to distribute the aid.

"When you are in the airport, you see UN peacekeepers and US soldiers building makeshift tents. 

"But when you leave the airport and come to the centre of the city, it is very difficult to see anything concrete on the ground [in the way of aid]. 

"Port-au-prince is built on a hill, so buildings collapsed one atop the other. It's difficult to imagine whether those buried under the rubble will ever be reached. 

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"Bodies have been left to decompose. People are living without sanitation. The stench is incredible. For the time being it is difficult to see any results on the ground.

"The first sentiment among Haitians now is resignation, a strange fatalism.  When you ask people why they aren't angry, one man said to me, "Angry at whom? There's no government left."

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