Categorized | Regional

Tent city is living hell

Jamaica Gleaner
by Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

A man paints a statue of Jesus Christ on the cross at a cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this week. The place of worship was severely damaged by the earthquake last year. - photos by Daraine Luton

Place Boyer Camp in Petron Ville, Haiti, has become home to hundreds of people since last year when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattened sections of the country.

Residents at the settlement, which is one of the many tent cities that have sprung up since the disaster, have not only been forced to endure the hardship of refugee-like living, but they also have had to battle with the deadly cholera which has infiltrated the camp.

“The problem of the people is dire. We have a (expletive) president. The (expletive) president has brought the people hell,” said Jerome Joel, a member of the council which runs the camp and who claims to be a pastor.

The hell Joel speaks of is an absence of running water and what he says is poor representation.

“We live there without anything. All we have is God because God is everything for us here,” Joel added.

Authorities have mounted several signs across Haiti which are aimed at ensuring the washing of hands and proper disposal of waste become second nature. And unlike in October when The Gleaner last visited Haiti, and even one year ago when food such as bread and sugar cane, which were being offered for sale was uncovered, these items are now in clear plastic bags.

However, the practice of street-side cooking remains. At one of the entrances to Place Boyer Camp, The Gleaner watched as a woman prepared rice and peas for sale. She had very little water, but made sure to wash her hands frequently and to cover the utensils she used.

Joel says efforts are being made to ensure the camp does not lose anyone else to cholera.

“We talk to the people every day to make an effort to live in a good condition and not to take disease. Many, many persons have died from cholera. When the community talks to the people to make an effort to live in a good condition, the cholera stays away,” Joel said.

Haitian nightmare

Meanwhile, as the anniversary of the quake was observed, Dorzin Freed, a tent city resident, said the past year has been a nightmare for too many Haitians.

“The life is bad for everybody. Everybody lives so-so. We need some help here because the government is not helping,” Freed said as he pled for food and job opportunities for persons in the camp.

“I don’t know what is going to happen to us in Haiti, but I know God will help,” he said.

Aside from causing the death of more than 250,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless and destitute, the earthquake has brought with it much pain for the people of this impoverished land.

Despite the streets being cleared of debris, countless buildings across the capital, Port-au-Prince, perch delicately, on the brink of collapse, while others have been reduced to a massive pile.
“It is real bad here. It is one year since we are living here and we see no hope of leaving,” Freed lamented.

For Joel, the people of his cholera-stuck camp are praying for God’s delivering hands to reach down and touch them.

A young child plays with a toy while her mother does laundry in one of many tent cities in Haiti

“The people are just living by faith. If one of my neighbours have something, they give me, and if I have, I give them. We go to seek for job and we don’t find as yet. We know that God is going to do something for us, not the politicians. We are here on God’s will, not men,” he said.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Jamaica Gleaner
by Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

A man paints a statue of Jesus Christ on the cross at a cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this week. The place of worship was severely damaged by the earthquake last year. - photos by Daraine Luton

Place Boyer Camp in Petron Ville, Haiti, has become home to hundreds of people since last year when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattened sections of the country.

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Residents at the settlement, which is one of the many tent cities that have sprung up since the disaster, have not only been forced to endure the hardship of refugee-like living, but they also have had to battle with the deadly cholera which has infiltrated the camp.

“The problem of the people is dire. We have a (expletive) president. The (expletive) president has brought the people hell,” said Jerome Joel, a member of the council which runs the camp and who claims to be a pastor.

The hell Joel speaks of is an absence of running water and what he says is poor representation.

“We live there without anything. All we have is God because God is everything for us here,” Joel added.

Authorities have mounted several signs across Haiti which are aimed at ensuring the washing of hands and proper disposal of waste become second nature. And unlike in October when The Gleaner last visited Haiti, and even one year ago when food such as bread and sugar cane, which were being offered for sale was uncovered, these items are now in clear plastic bags.

However, the practice of street-side cooking remains. At one of the entrances to Place Boyer Camp, The Gleaner watched as a woman prepared rice and peas for sale. She had very little water, but made sure to wash her hands frequently and to cover the utensils she used.

Joel says efforts are being made to ensure the camp does not lose anyone else to cholera.

“We talk to the people every day to make an effort to live in a good condition and not to take disease. Many, many persons have died from cholera. When the community talks to the people to make an effort to live in a good condition, the cholera stays away,” Joel said.

Haitian nightmare

Meanwhile, as the anniversary of the quake was observed, Dorzin Freed, a tent city resident, said the past year has been a nightmare for too many Haitians.

“The life is bad for everybody. Everybody lives so-so. We need some help here because the government is not helping,” Freed said as he pled for food and job opportunities for persons in the camp.

“I don’t know what is going to happen to us in Haiti, but I know God will help,” he said.

Aside from causing the death of more than 250,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless and destitute, the earthquake has brought with it much pain for the people of this impoverished land.

Despite the streets being cleared of debris, countless buildings across the capital, Port-au-Prince, perch delicately, on the brink of collapse, while others have been reduced to a massive pile.
“It is real bad here. It is one year since we are living here and we see no hope of leaving,” Freed lamented.

For Joel, the people of his cholera-stuck camp are praying for God’s delivering hands to reach down and touch them.

A young child plays with a toy while her mother does laundry in one of many tent cities in Haiti

“The people are just living by faith. If one of my neighbours have something, they give me, and if I have, I give them. We go to seek for job and we don’t find as yet. We know that God is going to do something for us, not the politicians. We are here on God’s will, not men,” he said.