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Jan-21-2010 00:32printcommentsVideo

Earthquake Refugees Flee Port-au-Prince

The exodus began shortly after the earthquake a week ago.
Photos and video courtesy: UN/MINUSTAH

(PORT-AU-PRINCE/SALEM) - Port au Prince continued to experience a mass exodus today (20 Jan) as Haitians left the capital for other provinces in search of food, shelter and security.

In the capital, there is an increasing lack of food, water, loss of jobs, destruction, medical care and a growing threat of crime and insecurity.

One resident in Port au Prince, Saint Ange, was seen fleeing to Cap Haitian, some 83 miles away from the capital. Saint Ange of Port-au-Prince, said many parents who have lost their jobs, do not know what to do anymore.

"We hear that the American government might help us. But the schools are destroyed. And we as parents don't know what to do, many of us lost our jobs."

Trucks have been transporting groups of 100 to 150 people each day, to the village of Camp Perrin. So far, over the last week, nearly a thousand have left Port au Prince for this village, about four hours away.

Maryese Shione, another Port-au-Prince resident fleeing to Cayes, looked forward to fresh air instead of the stench of destruction and death flooding the streets of the capital.

"It will be a lot better out there. When we get into the countryside, we can breathe fresh air again. Port-au-Prince has a stench, because too many people have died. So many died that I am afraid we will catch a disease."

The exodus began shortly after the earthquake a week ago. Haitian and Dominican authorities as well as aid agencies are welcoming the move to other provinces.

And every day more families in battered Port-au-Prince are making the same decision. Buses piled high with luggage clog the roads leading out of town. And, bus drivers lament, although they leave the city loaded with passengers, they always return empty from the countryside.

While hundreds of thousands of people leave the capital, aid agencies such as the International Organization for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are setting up temporary shelters and tents to accommodate the population displaced by the earthquake.

The video in this report was recorded by UN crews on the ground in Port-au-Prince:

Bonnie King has been with since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.

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jimmy January 21, 2010 8:36 am (Pacific time)

Genocide can only describe what I have been seeing on the news as of late. Where are all the supplies that our "relief" effort is supposed to be providing? The airport is choked with the US military but where is the "relief". I am proud of our nations people for showing the compassion and generosity in this dire time of need, but I am waiting for a "you're doing a heckova job there Brownie" comment from the administrations stooge that I have nothing but contempt for.

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