First Person Blog

Voices, video, and photos from Oxfam's fight against poverty

Morning in Camp Benediction

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Photo: Kenny Rae / Oxfam America
Photo: Kenny Rae / Oxfam America

Oxfam humanitarian response specialist Kenny Rae is currently in Haiti working on the recovery effort. Here’s a snapshot of his experiences this Monday, April 12.

Today marks three months since the earthquake that all but destroyed this city. But for many of the families affected, it may as well be the morning after. Early this morning, on a muddy hillside named Camp Benediction, hundreds of newcomers joined the thousands of families that call this place home. For many, this place and its adjacent neighboring camps–Camp Canaan and Village de Refuges–represents their last option, far as it is from the center of Port-au-Prince,  and without any services. As many as 7,000 people now reside here, without a single toilet or access to drinking water.

Ten-year-old Luc (pictured above) arrived here yesterday with his mother and sister Ayida. His family had being living in the grounds of a school near the center of town. In order to receive students, the school requested police to evict them and hundreds of other displaced families, and so they arrived here, really with little more than the clothes on their backs.

I met with colleagues from Haven, an Irish NGO that has been working in the area and we agreed that while Haven started to build latrines, Oxfam would set up tanks to get drinking water here as soon as possible.  Our supply of bladder tanks is now depleted, so I asked my colleague Tom Mahin to chase three of these down from UNICEF. When he told me later that he’d arranged this, I realized how much I’m going to miss his support when he returns to Boston at the end of the week. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll have three 10,000 liter bladder tanks set up and filled with water by Wednesday.

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