News / Americas

Relief Organizations Race To Find Unaccompanied Children in Haiti

Multimedia

Audio
Barry Newhouse

UNICEF is working with aid groups in Haiti to try to locate the scores of children who lost their parents in the earthquake. An informal grassroots networks in the tent cities of Port-au-Prince are a major part of the effort to find vulnerable children.

Arabic Dominique is a 12-year-old boy who until last Wednesday was wandering Port au Prince with hundreds of thousands of other newly homeless Haitians. He says "I was living in the streets until my Aunt saw me and picked me up. Then they brought me here."

Dominique is now in an SOS Children's Village in northern Port au Prince that has been caring for displaced children for some 30 years. Organizers now are quickly building temporary shelters for 150 new arrivals. Spokesman George Willeit says they are trying to find both children who are living on their own and those with only distant relatives who may not be able to care for them in the current situation. "One of the most important tasks now is to get unaccompanied children to safe places. To give them the shelter and the time they and the organizations need to trace if there are still parents or relatives to take care of them."

Haiti's prime minister recently said that child traffickers are  targeting the scores of children now on their own in Port au Prince. UNICEF and other international aid groups in the capital are focusing their efforts on the temporary camps across the city to find at-risk kids.

Gracielas Ceballos is a Peruvian organizer with SOS who says that  tent city dwellers in many parts of the city have organized ad-hoc leadership councils, that try to identify children who are not being cared for.

SOS and other aid groups then take the kids to temporary camps while they search for relatives. In the meantime, Ceballos says the children exhibit signs of serious psychological and emotional wounds. She says when the most recent group of children was driven to the shelter, they were traumatized by the vibrations of the dirt road. She says they thought they were back in an earthquake and began to panic.

Many of the children at the facility now only sleep in tents outside, even though the sleeping quarters were not damaged in the earthquake. SOS has flown in 20 additional staff members to this facility, including social workers and psychologists to help them deal with their trauma.

Dominique was being raised by his mother when the earthquake struck. His father died years ago. Minutes before their house collapsed, she sent him out into the yard to study. He says she never made it outside.

He says that now he is not doing very well. He says he did not hurt himself when the earthquake came, but he frequently wakes up at night shaking.

Arabic Dominique and the other new arrivals from the earthquake will soon be joined by many more. But aid workers say they have no idea just how many more children are now living alone in Haiti's desperate conditions.
 

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Coast Guard Rescues 33 Cubans at Sea

Because the overloaded boat did not make landfall, those rescued will be returned to Cuba
More

Western Experts Increasingly Fear Lone Wolf Terror Attacks

Slaying and assault on Canada's parliament building was followed by a hatchet attack on two New York City policemen
More

Search Underway at New Site in Mexico Missing Students Case

This week marked one month since the students went missing after clashing with police in mysterious circumstances
More

Public Transport in Latin America, Asia Most Dangerous for Women

Thousands of women and gender experts were questioned to create the listing
More

Kerry Lays Wreath for Slain Canadian Soldier

World has been witness to Canada's strength in face of tragedy, he says
More

Crowds Gather for Funeral of Canadian Soldier Killed in Ottawa

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, 24, was shot dead in last week near Canada's parliament building in attack allegedly carried out by convert to Islam
More