The residents of the Tent Cities in Haiti feel as if they have been abandoned by the entire world. Their condition is heart wrenching with very limited supplies of food and basic necessities. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 28/08/2010
The residents of the so called Tent Cities in Haiti are living in a miserable condition. It seems the entire world has turned their back towards them.
The residents have no food supplies, no medical facilities, no money, no job, no Government, no NGO's, no clean drinking water, no education, no sanitation, no security , no law and no hope whatsoever.
Most of the residents complained that they have never received any kind of food supplies ever. Some received small amount of food in the month of January and February. After that everything dried out. There are residents who can't afford a meal twice a day , not even to fill them partially. Lot of them are surviving on a small loaf of bread and a cup of coffee for the entire day. Some of them have the opportunity to eat twice a week. Yes, twice a week. Most of the time they are looking for some help from here and there. It is an unimaginable situation , especially for the older people and the kids.
Having no job adds salt to the injury. A thorough visit to the interior of the camps will reveal the actual situation. Young generations are frustrated, agitated. They spend their time either by playing cards or some kind of interior games. When asked about it , they replied" it is better to stay inside the tent city, rather than going outside and doing any crime". One can understand their disparity. Some of them are trying to do small business within the camps. For, example selling packaged water, ice cubes, drinks, small items for grocery . Some of them make small plates of food, some charges for charging your mobile phone or even having a small television set where one can watch movies . But ,the amount of money they earn is not sufficient for the entire family to remain alive. After all the seller and the buyer, both of them are victims.
Most of the Tent cities , do receive certain amount of water everyday, but most of them complained that it is not enough. As, they have to do their laundry, clean their utensils, take shower, use washroom and also drink that same water. Most of the time the water is finished in 4-5 hours. And moreover the residents also complained that in spite of knowing that the water is not suitable for drinking , they don't have any other option.
Most of the residents said that they have never seen any kind of medical facilities in the camps. Some of them do receive mobile medical clinics once a month, but those clinics according to the residents doesn't treat anything . All they do is listen to their problems. Some of them said that these clinics gives all of them the same drug, whereas they all have different problems and symptoms. But they did mention too that the emergency ambulance service of The Red Cross is available sometimes, not every time. People are basically surviving on there own .
Residents insisted that they have never ever seen anybody from the government visiting them. One camp said that a month ago a delegation did come in to say that "if your houses are not fully broken, then leave this place . We want this place to be empty". From corner to corner of the camps nobody has any hope or expectation from the Government. As they believe that the Government is basically "hopeless".
Sanitation condition in the camps is miserable. Every camp has stagnant water everywhere. Which gives birth to germs, flies, mosquitoes and who knows what. But there is nobody to clean them. Each and every tent is a den of germs and diseases. Most of the camps do have washroom and toilets. But their condition is even more painful. They are not being cleaned/replaced everyday. May be once in every two weeks ( if you are fortunate), else it can take a month sometimes. The residents have no other option than to use those dirty and fealty toilets. Because if they want to change or replace them on their own, it will cost them almost $ 40 USD per toilet structure. Which they can't afford. If ones goes around the camps it won't be difficult to find people who have become considerably sick since moving in to the camps especially kids and older generation. The condition is horrifying .
The law situation hasn't changed a lot. Haiti has been a lawless and corrupt country. This is the only thing that hasn't changed a single fold since the earthquake. Police is still corrupt and the ratio of police personnel to the number of residents is so high that there is literally no match whatsoever. And mind you , the police officers use probably one of the most ancient kind of riffles and pistols. The gangsters here have more contemporary and modern weapons. If you go around the cities all you would see is the police officers either standing in the shade ( it is pretty hot now) with their earphones and Mp3 players, or hey are just chatting around themselves. If you are lucky enough, you might just see them giving parking tickets to a poor hardworking guy. There are significant amount of UN forces in Haiti. But , if you ask any resident of Haiti, they will tell you that UN forces is basically a puppet and that even if they( UN forces) see a crime happening in front of them they won't do anything. But you will see their posts everywhere and cars patrolling. That is why people tend to solve their problems by themselves. Most of the camps become absolutely dark after sunset. Women do fear about their security and their has been numerous instances of rape inside the tent cities. They can't say anything because "whom do they go to"?
Residents were particularly aggressive towards the Non Profit organizations. According to them, after the first couple of months the organizations never brought any kind of food supplies to the camps. There are lots and lots of victims who got their tents from the organizations in the month of April i.e almost 3 months after the earthquake.And during his time they were living on the streets. If you walk around the camps you will see most of the tents are in a pretty bad condition. If you touch them, the outer surface seems to disintegrate. The residents after knocking on the doors of some prominent organizations that too in vein , bought their own . This in turn worsens their economical situation. Allegedly, the organizations would pay some visits in the small camps after promising their help towards the camp residents,they never come back. A world renowned organization, is open on weekends from 8a.m to 12 p.m. If anything happens before or after, good luck! For instance, two weeks back some tents in a big camp ( almost 25000 people living there) caught fire. When they( world renowned organization) were called up they said " it is too late in the night for us to do anything". Result? A 7 month old kid was burnt alive. The kid was born inside that tent just after the earthquake . The furious residents are yet to do the funeral, instead they have stored the body and will take out the moody and demonstrate on the streets this week. Such is their anger and frustrations towards the organizations. You can see that yourself, if you go around without even asking anybody