- Posted January 16, 2010 by
Port au Prince, Haiti
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Haiti earthquake aftermath
We Need Help!
A handmade banner on ropes is stretched across the Route du Canape Vert with a poignant plea painted in yellow: " We Need Help - Aidez Nous". It is bilingual, it is a cry of desperation. Hundreds of Haitians are gathered in the street shouting that there are survivors under the rubble. The crowd has been feeding them water and food through openings in the concrete prison created by Tuesday's powerful quake, but now the water and food is running out. The crowd is frantic they know the survivors they have so painstakingly kept alive for four days now will be victims if help does not come soon.
Helicopters buzz overhead, but they cannot see the sign. UN troops drive by but they are afraid of the raucous crowd. I will speak for you I reassure them, but the truth is I have just criss crossed the heap of concrete graves that was once the capitol of Haiti, miles of devastation and saw only one team of foreign rescue workers with two dogs.
Until last Tuesday, January 12, at 5:00 PM Port au Prince was a city of two million people with no drinkable water, no sanitation, insufficient schools, inadequate hospitals. Now it is a city ruined by a 7.0 earthquake and virtually no organized relief effort.
Fifty percent of all structures collapsed and those that remain standing are treacherous as strong tremors continue to move the ground. Under the broken buildings untold thousands are rotting corpses or trapped survivors with little hope of rescue.
Streams of pedestrian evacuees are thinning, Port au Prince residents have been walking away from the ruins and smell since Tuesday when the quake shook every home rich and poor. Those still exiting cover their faces from the morgue their capitol has become.
Meanwhile US news crews and relief workers are apparently together near the National Palace and once popular Montana Hotel. Possibly they are at the airport where reportedly relief supplies are being delivered but I do know they were not in the hard hit Turgeau, La Ville, Canape Vert, Pacot, Nazon or Carrefour areas at least not while I was there today, or yesterday or the day before.