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Haiti latest: “The clothes I’m wearing are all I have”

08 Feb 2010

"No food, no milk, if they are feeding the children, why don't they give us some too? I haven't eaten all morning and I am hungry."

This was the passionate plea of Antoniné, one of seven hundred displaced people who have been living in a temporary camp following the 12 January earthquake in Haiti.

As well as coping with the aftermath of the earthquake, Antoniné also told us that two of her children have died over the last nine months.

"The clothes I'm wearing are all I have"

She lost everything during the earthquake: her house, clothes, food, furniture, everything. "The clothes I'm wearing are all I have," she said.

Some of the main challenges in the camp include overcrowding and the outbreak of illness - flu, infection, intestinal worms and other viruses - due to a lack of water, sanitation and shelter. For many of the older people in the camp, these living conditions are particularly dehumanising and confusing; especially for those who cannot move around easily.

"I'm not sleeping, even my heart is crying"

Antoniné told us: "I'm not sleeping, even my heart is crying. Today is my son's birthday who died and I feel desperate."

Haitians are also extremely concerned about whether or not there will be rain. Antoniné revealed: "I don't feel comfortable, if it rains, we are in trouble!"

Antoniné told us that she needs food, clothes and shelter. She is also desperate to speak to her daughter: "My daughter lives in France and I want to go and find her, but I have no passport."

Relying on neighbours for food

On our second visit to the camp, we discovered that Antoniné had to rely on her neigbours' support for food as she wasn't receiving any at the camp.

Luckily, Antoniné had one of her wishes granted when she received a call from her daughter. She was so overwhelmed that she broke down in tears. Hopefully, she will be able to go to France if she is able to get a passport.

Read more about HelpAge's work in Haiti. 

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Author profile

Sarah Marzouk
Country: UK
Job title: Digital Communications

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.