First Person Blog

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

In Haiti, uneasy sleep amid quake fears

Posted by

Oxfam’s Coco McCabe is one of several Boston-based colleagues on her way to Haiti to help with the relief effort, where they will join over 200 Oxfam staff already on the ground. Here’s her latest update, dated January 18.

I suspect tonight might be my last night of sleeping soundly. Aftershocks are continuing to rattle the nerves of people in Port-au-Prince.

“Be careful,” said Yves Gattereau, a program director for Oxfam Quebec in the Dominican Republic, as we gathered for a debrief in San Juan. “You won’t sleep a good night of sleep. You’ll hear it coming. You won’t know if it’s the big one.”

Oxfam water distrubution in Haiti, January 18, 2010. Photo: Oxfam
Oxfam water distrubution in Haiti, January 18, 2010. Photo: Oxfam

And after the 7.0 temblor turned much of Port-au-Prince to rubble, the big one is on the minds of everyone–including Gattereau’s mother.

After the quake, Gattereau, who had not received word from his parents, went to look for them in their neighborhood near Port-au-Prince and found them sleeping in their car . Though their house and a guest house next door were still standing, neither felt comfortable spending the night inside. They’re not alone.

“Everybody is sleeping outside their house,” he said.

When the quake struck, his parents, who live half the year in Montreal and half the year in Haiti, were just about to leave home to visit a friend. Gattereau’s mother was outside, waiting for her husband.

“She fell down and the ground just opened in friont of her eyes,” he said. The memory of that gaping hole is too strong to bear. Gatterau said his parents have now come to live with him in San Juan while they decide what to do next.

Save lives now by donating to Oxfam’s Haiti Earthquake Response Fund

Learn more about how Oxfam is responding

Share this story:

Join the conversation


    Thanks so much for these updates – it helps me get a clearer picture of the situation and how to help. The Channel 4 interview is just heartbreaking – my daily tasks here seem trivial compared to the pain and suffering that are unfolding. I try to connect people on the CNN boards, and email the president in case anyone is listening. I tell anyone who listen about Oxfam – that you are already there and delivering water, something the military should have gotten done day 2. Thank you for helping so much – be strong – please help all you can.

  2. Anna Kramer

    Hi Alexander, thanks for reading and thanks so much for spreading the word about Oxfam. Keep an eye out for more updates coming soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *