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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/14/10

Misery and Despair Plague Haitians

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Misery and Despair Plague Haitians - by Stephen Lendman

Six months after Haiti's January 12 quake, inadequate relief has arrived, numerous accounts calling conditions hellish, unsanitary and unsafe - New York Times writer Deborah Sontag's July 10 article for one, headlined, "In Haiti, the Displaced Are Left Clinging to the Edge," saying:

Conditions around Port-au-Prince "contain a spectrum of circumstances: precarious, neglected encampments; planned tent cities (with poor sanitation); debris-strewn neighborhoods, (and only) 28,000 of the 1.5 million (or more) displaced moved into new homes," the affected areas "a tableau of life in the ruins."


Oxfam's Julie Schindall said "Everywhere I go, people ask me 'When will we get out of this camp?' " She doesn't know so can't say.


In her July 3 article, Montreal Gazette writer Sue Montgomery headlined, "Haiti's camps of despair," saying "life in Haiti's 1,300 camps is crowded, unsanitary and increasingly dangerous, (an ongoing) miserable, boring existence....proper housing (and pre-quake conditions) years away" at best.


In dismal slums, she describes traumatized Haitians living in "torn, sweltering and soaked tents suitable at best for weekend camping," surrounded by rubble and the stench of rotting garbage, their patience taxed to the limit, their lives shattered for lack of basic services, including housing, sanitation, and enough food and clean water.


Torrential afternoon rains leave "lake-sized puddles in which mosquitoes breed, then spread malaria. Deep, raspy coughs can be heard everywhere. Scabies and other infections transform children's soft skin into irritating red bumpy rashes. Bellies are swelling and hair turning orange from malnutrition. Vomiting and diarrhea are as common as flies."


On June 25, writing in the Los Angeles Times, E. Thomas Johnson from the Danish DanChurchAid relief organization headlined "Haitians still wait for recovery," saying:


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