Wednesday, February 17, 2010

First post-earthquake photos of Andre's family

Tony Hoffman, PhD, a lecturer at UCSC and specialist on children's rights in the third world, is now in Port-au-Prince and today he visited with Andre's family. He sent us back this report and two photos.

I was really impressed to see this wonderful tent that the family inherited from Andre's sister Marjorie and her in-laws when they left Port-au-Prince for Jeremie, a 7-hour trip by boat. Somehow Marjorie's husband had connections to get this 20-person tent from the Chinese at the airport. Andre and I will stay here when we go to Haiti in March, so we're hoping someone will donate an air mattress.

I was also excited to hear that Tony thinks the house in Port-au-Prince might be salvageable in the future. Of course they will need to get a seismic engineer to look at it and decide how to make it safe. It's so sad to hear that four or five of Andre's neighbors were killed when their houses collapsed completely and their bodies are still under the rubble. I originally got in touch with Tony a few days ago, through a UCSC writer named Guy Lasnier who's doing a story on him. Here's Tony's email:

Hello chelsea and andre:

I met with your family today. They are safe, no one is hurt, and their house
has cracks in it - but I think it is repairable. It is in a crowded and
unstable area, but the house seems somewhat intact. Just up the street are
three collapsed homes in which four or five people died.

Your stepfather seems concerned and worried that little aid has come their
way. Your mother is cautious but optimistic. [Brother] Reginald is looking for a
driving job.

The family is living in a tent in a front yard about 100 meters from the house.
It is very cramped, perhaps 70 families are in the two or three "camp" yards
right there. But they do have water and are using one or two functional

So their situation is bad, but not desperate. They are living by buying and
carrying water and food - no food or water aid has arrived, because there
are much worse situations with no money or shelter.

They DO need water filtration - so bring that when you come. I am not sure
what they should be doing to get their toilet and bathroom working - you
should plan on that. They mainly need money, because they are buying water
and food at rising prices...

I will visit them again. The biggest problem is the 70 families they are
with - no services at all, and some are in worse conditions with no home,
family or money.


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