Thirty Humanitarian Days

/CHARITY

EXHIBITED/PUBLISHED

2012 “Zeitzeugen” – Künstlerhaus Wien 

2011 “Horizonte”  – Photofestival Zingst

HAITI EARTHQUAKE 2010

On the 28th on January i took off to engage myself for 30days. I volunteered as comunication officer and paramedic for LANDSAID. I took pictures whenever I could. We were based in tents on an open roof top at the Childrens Hospital of St. Damien. The place was crowded with volunteers from around the world.  We organized ourselves to form mobile clinics all over the island. Most of the time i spent at Cité Soleil, which is sayed to be one of the most dangerous slums in the world. It was not quite so. People were thankful for honest help. I spent my birthday there. I saw a lot. I learned a lot.

Here are some impressions.

SURVIVORS

DESTRUCTION,ELECTIONS, PROTEST, MOANING, A MASSGRAVE, SOLDIERS AND A PRIEST

CITÉ SOLEIL

TWENTY-EIGHT SECONDS OF RANDOMNESS

HISTORY

At the time of European conquest, the island of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western three-eighths, was one of many Caribbean islands inhabited by the Taíno Native Americans, speakers of an Arawakan language called Taino, which has been preserved in the Haitian Creole language. The Taíno name for the entire island was Haiti, which today only describes the western part of the island; The East is called Domenican Republic.

In the midst of the French Revolution (1789–99), slaves and free people of color revolted in the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), culminating in the abolition of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army at the Battle of Vertières. Afterward the sovereign nation of Haiti was established on 1 January 1804 – the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, and the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt.

The independence of Saint-Domingue was proclaimed by Dessalines on 1 January 1804. Fearful of the influence of the slaves’ revolution, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson refused to recognize the new republic, as did most European nations. The U.S. did not officially recognize Haiti for decades, until after the start of the American Civil War.

In 1892, the German government supported suppression of the reform movement of Anténor Firmin, and in 1897, the Germans used gunboat diplomacy to intimidate and then humiliate the Haitian government during the Luders Affair.

In the first decades of the 20th century, Haiti experienced great political instability and was heavily in debt to France, Germany and the United States. Fearing possible foreign intervention, President Woodrow Wilson sent U.S. Marines into Haiti in December 1914, just after the outbreak of World War I. They removed $500,000 from the Haitian National Bank for “safe-keeping” in New York, thus giving the United States control of the bank.

In an expression of the Theodore Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, the United States occupied the island in July 1915 after the assassination of Haiti’s president, Vilbrun Guillaume Sam.

The U.S. Marines were instilled with a special brand of paternalism towards Haitians. Mary Renda writes that “paternalism was an assertion of authority, superiority, and control expressed in the metaphor of a father’s relationship with his children.” During Senate hearings in 1921, the commandant of the Marine Corps reported that, in the 20 months of active resistance, 2,250 Haitians had been killed.

This chapter in the two nations’ histories reflects the imperialist foreign policy of the United States toward its neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean that is often characterized as “gunboat diplomacy”, or one of many “Banana Wars” that plagued the region in the early 20th century. U.S. Marines were stationed in the country until 1934, a period of 19 years, and were finally ordered from the island by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a demonstration of his “Good Neighbor Policy”. However, the United States controlled the economy of the island and heavily influenced elections in Haiti at least up through the 1980s.

On 27 September 1945 Haiti became a founding member of the United Nations.

THE QUAKE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne, approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. It lasted twenty-eight seconds.

An estimated three million people (full Population at 11 Mio.) were affected by the quake. Death toll estimates range from 100,000 to about 316,000. The government of Haiti estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged. The nation’s history of national debt, prejudicial trade policies by other countries, and foreign intervention into national affairs, contributed to the existing poverty and poor housing conditions that increased the death toll from the disaster. 

Delays in aid distribution led to angry appeals from aid workers and survivors, and looting and sporadic violence were observed.The Prison Civile de Port-au-Prince was also destroyed, allowing around 4,000 inmates to escape. On 22 January the United Nations noted that the emergency phase of the relief operation was drawing to a close, and on the following day, the Haitian government officially called off the search for survivors.

More than 1,300 schools and 50 health care facilities were destroyed. Many government and public buildings were damaged or destroyed including the Palace of Justice, the National Assembly, the Supreme Court and Port-au-Prince Cathedralandthe City Hall. The public telephone system was not available, and two of Haiti’s largest cellular telephone providers reported that their services had been affected by the earthquake. The Haitian art world suffered great losses; artworks were destroyed, and museums and art galleries were extensively damaged. The clothing industry, which accounts for two-thirds of Haiti’s exports,reported structural damage at manufacturing facilities.

Almost immediately Port-au-Prince’s morgue facilities were overwhelmed. By 14 January, a thousand bodies had been placed on the streets and pavements. Government crews manned trucks to collect thousands more, burying them in mass graves. In the heat and humidity, corpses buried in rubble began to decompose and smell. The government buried many in mass graves, some above-ground tombs were forced open so bodies could be stacked inside, and others were burned. Mass graves were dug in a large field outside the settlement of Titanyen, north of the capital; tens of thousands of bodies were reported as having been brought to the site by dump truck and buried in trenches dug by earth movers.

sources: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Haiti_earthquake 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti

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