Haiti: A Day Of Mourning, A Month After The Tragedy

Today, Haitians paid tribute to the victims of the unspeakable tragedy which ran amok on the Island exactly a month ago. The death toll defies imagination. It is currently estimated that 230,000 Haitians were killed by the deadly earthquake. Most were buried in mass graves, anonymous yet united in their gruesome death.

Haitians paid respect to the dead in the ruins of the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, and in the Champs De Mars ( Haiti’s central Square) which has become one of the biggest open sky homeless shelter of the Island. But what matters now is not the dead, but the livings. An estimated 1.2 million Haitians are currently left homeless from the earthquake.

According to the United Nations mission in Haiti, 750,000 homeless Haitians are still waiting for the most basic shelters such as tents or even rudimentary plastic tarps.

Yesterday in Port-au-Prince, where almost 90 percent of the buildings have been leveled, the homeless marched in protest demanding shelters. The 750,000 Haitians still without shelters are now facing more misery; this time from the sky above. The Monsoon season has arrived in Haiti, and the pouring rains will bring with them diseases such as malaria and cholera, due to the complete lack of basic shelters and sanitation.

“Already last night, it rained in Port-au-Prince. You can see all over the city the effects of this. We have mud everywhere, landslides, the possibility of larger landslides-so this is very worrying. We have established some rescue teams already that will be ready to assist the population when these things happen, because we know it is coming, we know it is going to happen,” said Edmont Mulet head of the UN mission in Haiti.

Since its independence won from France more than 200 years ago, Haiti has been too often the forgotten Island. It would be shameful and almost criminal for the global community to forget about Haitians again in their time of extreme needs. The international community has not done enough and not acted quickly enough in a coordinated fashion so far. It is time for all of us to shape up, and keep our attention focused on the fate of Haitians.

If you want to help, and to find out more about the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti click here. If you want to make a difference in Haiti, you can also donate to Oxfam & Doctors Without Borders.

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