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A Black man with an amputated leg sits on a hand-operated scooter in Haiti. A Black man and two white women stand around him. One of the women is wearing a blue HI T-shirt
Haiti

Solidarity after devastating earthquake

According to the latest reports, at least 2,000 people have died, nearly 12,000 are injured and the damages are significant. Frédely Jean, inclusion project manager* for Humanity & Inclusion in Haiti, felt the earth shake on Saturday, Aug. 14. He tells us more about what life is like in Haiti following the recent disaster: 

On Saturday morning, I was playing with my 10-year-old daughter when my wife, who had felt the earthquake, came running in. All three of us ran out, taking our two-month-old daughter with us, and we sat on wasteland, away from the buildings. And actually, the tremors began to build, and in the distance, we saw the houses were swaying.

Since Saturday we’ve been sleeping on the gallery—the roof terrace. We don’t really feel like staying indoors. We always stay near an exit and we don’t let our daughter play at the bottom of the house where she’d find it hard to get out if the tremors started again.

The earthquake on Saturday obviously brought back a lot of bad memories from 2010. In some families in Haiti, we organize a party once a month for newborns and we were meant to celebrate the two-month anniversary of our daughter with the rest of the family, but we weren’t in the right frame of mind.

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I’m originally from Grand Sud and I have a lot of relatives there. Fortunately, everyone’s fine. The first day, the phone network was saturated, and we couldn’t get any news, but we managed to talk to them on Sunday.

We’re all very impressed by how people have pulled together. It’s been one disaster after another in recent years and we live in a state of constant uncertainty and anxiety, especially about the future. But it’s brought people together. In Nippes and Cayes, solidarity is the rule, because we share food, water and clothing. The earthquake has made it impossible to hold markets in the Grand Sud, and over the last few days it’s been harder to find food and basic products. Prices had already risen sharply in recent months because of the insecurity and because gangs have blocked the roads linking the region to Port-au-Prince. So, people share what they can.

This sort of earthquake makes you think about life and death. You want to spend more time with the people you love.

*Frédely works to adapt jobs for people with disabilities to ensure their inclusion in the workforce.

Top image: People search through rubble at a destroyed hotel after the Aug. 14 earthquake in Haiti. Copyright: Stanley Louis/AFP
Inline image: Frédely Jean, inclusion project manager for Humanity & Inclusion in Haiti, with his daughters. Copyright: HI

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