Downtown Express photos by Tequila Minsky
Haitians remember Miguel Junior Deroncy, a 24-year-old basketball player, Tuesday in what may have been the first funeral ceremony since last week's earthquake, which killed tens of thousands. Deroncy was in his house with his family when it collapsed.
Death and desperation: Waiting for aid in Haiti
Editor’s Note: Downtown Express freelance photographer Tequila Minsky, a Soho resident, was in Haiti last week and captured some of the first images of the tragic earthquake’s aftermath, which we published last week. This week, we asked her what she was seeing now, and if she was safe. Despite communication limits, she was able to e-mail us.
By Tequila Minsky
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2010 Much of the city is sleeping outside at night, and those in damaged homes have moved into the streets, courtyards, sidewalks, parking lots and public parks.
I have seen a few water trucks distributing water but water distribution is not on a grand scale. Many, many bodies are still buried in buildings. The earthquake happened just before 5 and many, many trade school students were in class. Many students were killed… the smell of decomposition coming from buildings.
Eighty N.Y.C. first responders (all 9/11 vets police and fire) rescued some people from a collapsed market yesterday they go out in teams of 30 and alternate day and night. Four dogs two per team.
Communication is the problem here with no electricity also people who were rumored to have been killed 3 different feminist leaders, were NOT at work when their buildings collapsed.
The Israelis set up this amazing field hospital but the N.Y.C. public responders weren’t aware of it when they rescued a man and brought him to an AIDS clinic (the locals told him that was the nearest hospital).
I’m safe yes inflation of food and drink at the hotel (but we do have food, unlike aid which seems not to be getting out.)
Haitians organize themselves and so far are helping each other...although major media might write about looting, and the killing of looters.
Haitians have been unbelievably resilient. N.Y.C. police and fire are having their eyes opened about the bad press Haiti gets.
Many doctors want to volunteer, including my nephew, but the infrastructure is not in place to absorb them.
* * *
Jan. 19, 2010 There is still the smell of decomposition from some buildings. People are leaving the city in droves, to provinces, by bus, truck, some with what’s left of household items many by boat to Jeremie (boats are very dangerous).
There are refugee camps inside the city still 200 here, 200 there, some with Coleman popup tents amidst makeshift shelters of sheets or bedspreads to protect from sun
(not much good if it rains). The people in the tent cities have not heard anything from the government.
Haitians have organized themselves in the most incredible way given the absence of any leadership.
There is talk of a donor conference that just or is taking place in the Dominican Republic planning the relocation of the city.
The infrastructure is so broken down, and now no institutions exist, no schools. More than half of the government buildings and housing stock have been decimated.
Now is the chance to really think about decentralization (my thinking) and building the institutions in the other cities to keep and attract talent there.
Something like 13,000 troops are expected to arrive here. This is like a bull in a china shop! The city has emptied. Might need some security but THIS IS NOT IRAQ!
I went to a funeral today, said to be the first at the cemetery. It was sad. It was a symbol for the country.