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By Lawyer, Professor, Bill Quigley
Hundreds of thousands of people are living and sleeping on the ground in Port-Au-Prince. Many have no homes, their homes destroyed by the earthquake. I am sleeping on the ground as well - surrounded by nurses, doctors and humanitarian workers who sleep on the ground every night. The buildings that are not on the ground have big cracks in them and fallen sections so no one should be sleeping inside.
There are sheet cities everywhere. Not tent cities. Sheet cities. Old people and babies and everyone else under sheets held up by ropes hooked onto branches pounded into the ground.
With the rainy
season approaching, one of the emergency needs of Haitians is to get tents. I have seen hundreds of little red topped Coleman pup tents among the sheet shelters. There are tents in every space, from soccer fields and parks to actually in the streets. There is a field with dozens of majestic beige tents from Qatar marked Islamic Relief. But real tents are outnumbered by sheet shelters by a ratio of 100 to 1.
Rescues continue but the real emergency remains food, water, health care and shelter for millions.
Though helicopters thunder through the skies, actual relief of food and water and shelter remains minimal to non-existent in most neighborhoods.
Haitians are helping Haitians. Young men have organized into teams to guard communities of homeless families. Women care for their own children as well as others now orphaned. Tens of thousands are missing and presumed dead.
The scenes of destruction boggle the mind. The scenes of homeless families, overwhelmingly little children, crush the heart.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.