Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti that left over 2,000 people dead and heavy rains, a large number of people are without shelter, according to an expert. "We are having serious problems housing the people who lost their dwellings in the earthquake. The situation is confusing and chaotic. People are exposed to the rain," Jean Stenio Pierre, Unicef director in Les Cayes in Haiti, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. "There have also been some weak aftershocks. Many remain reluctant to return to the buildings that are still intact." After the quake, he said, everything was full of rubble, and hospitals were also damaged.
The south of Haiti was shaken by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on Saturday. In recent days, tropical storm "Grace" also made access to the affected areas difficult. In addition, criminal gangs have controlled the main road from Port-au-Prince to the south for months. Medical personnel and other aid workers had to be flown in by helicopters and planes to the region, 130 kilometers from the capital Port-au-Prince.
Initially, aid workers had "significant problems" reaching the affected area, "mainly because of the security situation on some communication routes controlled by gangs," Pierre now said. "The authorities and various organizations have managed to negotiate the establishment of a humanitarian corridor." Still, he said, some areas are inaccessible, and the rain is making aid even more difficult. "Meanwhile, seriously injured people are being transferred to other hospitals outside the disaster area with the help of the authorities, foreign governments and international organizations."
The authorities were not prepared for such a disaster, Pierre said. "Any kind of help is now urgently needed. The shortage is extraordinary." Aid should not be limited to urban centers, he said. "Especially in some peripheral neighborhoods, the destruction caused by the quake is frightening. All available forces must now be shared across the region." The Haitian government needs international assistance, he said. Overall, he said, the country urgently needs more stability.
Image by Angelo Giordano