All around town I see cars that were totally destroyed by the earthquake. Many of the cars are upside down, smashed beyond recognition, or poking out from under a pancaked building. It is difficult to imagine the force required to crush an SUV.
We often see cars on the road – driving – that were heavily damaged by falling buildings and debris. I’ve seen cars with no windshields, cars with roofs crushed like aluminum foil, massively dented cars missing whole body panels and doors. Half the time the streets look like a demolition derby.
This poor guy was trying in vain to retrieve pieces of the V6 engine from his destroyed Acura.
No matter how brutal the stories and scenes, many kids are laughing. And posing. And making fun of me. They might not have much by way of clothes or toys or beds or schools, but I’ve seen a lot of kids with light in their eyes.
I’m fortunate to be working alongside wonderful colleagues and friends here in Haiti. Dan Leff took a few minutes to comment on the photograph below from Carrefour in Port-au-Prince. His words at bottom.
Thousands of houses like this one stand half-fallen around Port-au-Prince, next to others that have crumbled into piles of debris. The sign reads “House for Sale.” Morbidly funny under the circumstances, but it points to a probably long lasting consequence of the earthquake that can easily be overlooked in the face of the immediate humanitarian disaster. For the time being, most real estate is virtually worthless. The collapse of so many homes has created engineering challenges and urban planning dilemmas of an unimaginable scale. Clearing damaged or destroyed houses and rebuilding will take years. That is if the residents of Port-au-Prince decide to rebuild at all. Many are too traumatized to live inside, especially as geologists note the possibility of a stronger quake and popular rumors wildly exaggerate that possibility. For the time being, even money doesn’t guaranty freedom from sleeping in parks or streets as land, material, and the will to rebuild remain elusive.
– Dan Leff
Early this morning we waited to prep a bunch of dump trucks for duty at our sites:
Down a steep mountain road from one of our sites the UN was distributing food. The Marines were out in full force though it looked like they were totally bored. I talked to a couple and they were curious about other relief efforts. Haitians collected bags of rice and headed back up the hill:
Kids here are a bright spot. While so many are orphaned or homeless, going without food or medicine — or worse — they’re still kids. On the street today a few were hanging out and joking around in a “tap-tap” bus (that could also go in quotes). They kept yelling to me, “Mon blanc!”
The beauty of digital cameras:
From Carrefour the other day, my friend taking a minute to show off some rusty juggling skills:
I don’t know if it’s the Malaria medication or the long hours or the crushed buildings on every block, but every morning I wake up with heavy, colorful, vivid images in my head. Dreams that linger for hours and don’t fade. Whichever it is, taking photographs is one of the ways that I’m able to process what I see on the streets here in Haiti.
These photos are from Carrefour in Port-au-Prince. Click through to Flickr to see exact (GPS coords) locations.
Next to a school leveled by the earthquake minutes before classes were let out:
On a newly cleared street an older man listens to the radio on a boombox, a common site in Port-au-Prince:
On a newly cleared street:
A man hauls rubble as part of a neighborhood work crew’s efforts to clear a street:
Crawling under the watchful eye of a brother who whisked the baby away when it got near equipment used to clear rubble:
Thanks to everyone who left a comment on the last post — your support is appreciated.