News / Americas

Earthquake-Displaced Haitians Strain Family Resources

The Guerriere household has nearly doubled in size since taking in friends after the earthquake.
The Guerriere household has nearly doubled in size since taking in friends after the earthquake.

Multimedia

Audio

Irene Guerriere's quiet, tree-lined home in Gonaives is a 100 kilometers north of the epicenter of Haiti's January 12 earthquake and a world away from the destruction in Port-au-Prince. But even here in Gonaives, her family feels the effects of the quake every day.

Following the disaster, an estimated 600,000 people fled the devastated capital and surrounding areas to seek safe haven with friends and family, such as Guerriere, in the countryside.

But the extra mouths to feed are straining their hosts' resources to the limit and pushing more people into hunger.

Helping the Haitian countryside deal with the massive influx of people displaced from the earthquake-affected areas is one of the urgent needs being addressed at a United Nations donors' conference in New York.

All across Haiti, families that struggled to feed themselves before the earthquake now find themselves with hungry guests.
All across Haiti, families that struggled to feed themselves before the earthquake now find themselves with hungry guests.

The conference aims to raise $11.5 billion to rebuild the nation over the next 10 years.

The search for loved ones

When she first heard about the earthquake, Guerriere says, "My first reaction was, 'I have to get to Port-au-Prince because my daughter is there. I have to find out what happened to her.'"

To her relief, she found her daughter, Ivena, safe in the company of close friends. But those friends had nowhere to go to escape the devastation. They asked to come with her back to Gonaives.


"I couldn't tell them no because they were the ones who took care of my daughter in Port-au-Prince," she says.

With that act of kindness, Guerriere's household swelled from 10 people to 18; nearly twice as many mouths to feed but no extra resources to feed them.

Food, money running out

Now, 11 weeks later, her food reserves are gone.

She is forced to sell her livestock to pay for food. And with no money for seeds, and insects attacking her crops, the next harvest is at risk as well.

"We don't have money to buy insecticide," she says. "The little money we have goes to take care of the kids."

All across Haiti, families who struggled to feed themselves before the earthquake now find themselves with hungry guests.

The Guerrieres have been forced to sell some of their livestock to pay for food.
The Guerrieres have been forced to sell some of their livestock to pay for food.

"The people who left Port-au-Prince brought nothing with them but their appetites," says Charles Edie, chief of agriculture for the government of Artibonite department, where Gonaives is located.

An estimated 60,000 people arrived in Artibonite alone, increasing the population by about 20 percent in a matter of days. At first, food aid helped some families ease the burden. But Edie says that first stage is coming to an end.

Wanted: jobs, schools, opportunities

The next step, Edie says, "is to try to create work so that people who left Port-au-Prince have money so they can survive."

Experts see the exodus from Port-au-Prince as a chance to ease the strains on the overcrowded capital. And the newly arrived workers actually could be a boon to rural Haiti. Putting them to work improving food production could help reduce the country's chronic hunger problems.

But people were drawn to Port-au-Prince for a number of reasons besides jobs. For the Guerriere family, the capital was also where the opportunities for a better life began. Irene Guerriere sent her daughter Ivena to high school there because there were no good schools in Gonaives.

"Port-au-Prince is where I would like to live," Ivena says, "because I want to become somebody. Port-au-Prince is where I can learn something, and I can't in Gonaives."

Urgent needs

Creating rural jobs is on everyone's to-do list, from the government to the United Nations to aid groups.

Irene Guerriere
Irene Guerriere

But so far only a few small projects have begun. For families like the Guerrieres, the need is urgent and it's now.  

Ivena Guerriere does her best to be positive.

"Even if we eat only once, in the morning, we crack jokes all day. And we feel good."

If jobs don't come through soon, the food may run out for many Haitians. And the humor won't be far behind.

You May Like

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Chileans Continue Protest Against Bishop With Links to Abuser

Juan Barros, recently appointed to southern Chile diocese, is accused of having shielded country's most notorious pedophile priest
More

In Cuba, New York Governor Cuomo Seeks to Open Doors to Trade

Cuomo met senior officials in Havana Monday as head of high-powered business delegation looking to take advantage of the easing of restrictions with Communist-led island
More

Argentine Prosecutor Dismisses Case Against President

Allegations were originally leveled by late prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead in his flat with a bullet wound in January
More

UN Ready to Continue Anti-crime Commission in Guatemala

Guatemalan president expected to announce decision on two-year renewal of CICIG's work by end of the month
More

Colombia's FARC Rebels Vow to Maintain Unilateral Cease-Fire

Colombian government responds by reaffirming that it, too, was committed to peace process, but it blames FARC for renewed violence
More

As Petrobras Scandal Spreads, Economic Toll Mounts for Brazil

Key infrastructure projects have been suspended or scrapped, some suppliers have sought bankruptcy protection and job losses are mounting by tens of thousands
More