Haitians Fleeing Port-au-Prince Strain Countryside Towns

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This Washington Post story provides a perspective on the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti that, until now, we haven’t heard much about: How has the devastation in the capital affected the rest of the nation? Much of the coverage of post-quake refugees from Port-au-Prince has focused on those seeking entrance to the U.S., but many are staying much closer to home and moving into towns that in many cases are as impoverished as the place they fled. Click here to learn how you can support victims of the earthquake. – NewsOne Staff

From the Washington Post:

LASCAHOBAS, HAITI — The earthquake that struck Haiti’s capital city has also jarred the impoverished countryside, sending 600,000 people into the provinces — where locals are now overwhelmed with the task of feeding and sheltering desperate newcomers.

Haitian and international aid officials describe the migration as one of the largest and most wrenching in the hemisphere, as internally displaced people stream out of Port-au-Prince and head to struggling provincial towns in the aftermath of the earthquake like civilians fleeing war zones in places such as Rwanda, Kosovo and the Swat Valley in Pakistan.

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“They are everywhere. They are in the town, and they are sleeping in the fields,” said Gerald Joseph, mayor of Lascahobas, a farming and trading town about three hours north of the capital. “Our schools are beyond full now. Our hospital is full. All our houses are full of people. We don’t have an empty house. Where four people were sleeping before, there are now 14.”

The mayor said that by his census, his town of 60,000 had grown by 10,000 refugees from Port-au-Prince since the January quake. They leave the city with a bag of rice or a suitcase of clothes and arrive here with no jobs and little money, the mayor said. “They are poor people overwhelming poor people,” he said.

Click here to read more.

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