Two months after the earthquake, thousands in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere still await a first glimpse of humanitarian aid. In the four makeshift camps we visited during our first days in Haiti, life is a daily struggle and conditions are dire to say the least.
People are without water, food, sanitation or shelter. Resilience and solidarity with each other are the only things these camp-dwellers can rely on.
Amnesty notes that there have been numerous reports of rape and sexual abuse in the camps since the quake:
The day we visited the police station, a male officer on duty at the table unwillingly counted for us the number of cases registered in the log book: 52 cases of physical and sexual violence since the earthquake.
He said that many victims were minors, aged between 11 and 16, and that most of the assaults took place at night.
Although he knew where to refer victims for medical attention after a sexual assault, he was unable to explain why, on the previous night, a mother seeking police assistance in the attempted rape of her 17-year-old daughter by four young men, was told that the police could not do anything and that the security in the camps was the responsibility of the President of the Republic. Quite a blow for the population’s confidence in the police…
Amnesty, which has sent a mission to Haiti, ends their update with the most pressing issue:
The rainy season looms and all the people we talked to fear the worst. Shelter is what they need and what they ask for. That is their priority.