"People don't have many options left"
Marjorie works as a rehabilitation specialist for Humanity & Inclusion (HI). She tells us what conditions are like in Grand Sud, Haiti.
Marjorie Denis, Rehabilitation specialist at HI. | © HI
Some 2,000 people died and 10,000 were injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti on 14 August. Our rehabilitation manager Marjorie Denis shares her own experiences and describes the situation in the field.
“My family are all fine. We live in Sud-Ouest. My relatives’ homes in Les Cayes were damaged but no one was killed or injured. I phoned a friend on Tuesday. She said her house has been destroyed and now she’s living with a cousin. Everyone sleeps under tents because there are cracks in the walls and it’s too dangerous to stay inside.
It’s going to take time to repair and rebuild everything. After the earthquake in 2010 and the cyclone in 2016, it took months, sometimes years for people to rebuild their homes. Even in Port-au-Prince, you can still see the rubble and debris from the earthquake in 2010 - some houses are still waiting to be cleared away. It’s all very worrying, very stressful. My friend ran a small shop from her home. She’s lost everything.
A lot of people have fracture injuries. There are no medical facilities and very few roads in the remote rural areas of Grand Sud. It’s hard to reach them. The people are very poor and they often live in basic makeshift houses. They’re in a desperate situation.
Things are chaotic in Les Cayes. There have been no markets since Friday, and there are no motorbike taxis - the main mode of transport in Les Cayes. The electricity is down. It’s hard to get humanitarian assistance through. I wanted to make a cash transfer to my relatives, which you can normally do by smartphone in Haiti - it’s called “Mon Cash” - but you still need to go to the bank to get your money. Now all the banks are shut; they were destroyed in the earthquake.
There’s a growing shortage of drinking water, and soon it’s going to be a problem. If people start drinking dirty, stagnant water because that’s all they have left, we could see outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and other diseases.”