Profession: reporter. Haiti: a land that trembles and the world that looks elsewhere

Haiti. A child in a refugee camp in Les Cayes. (BORIS LOUMAGNE / RADIO FRANCE)

Boris Loumagne, lead reporter for franceinfo, is one of the few journalists who visited Haiti at the site of the epicenter of the earthquake a few days after August 14th. A balance whose provisional remains indefinitely: 2,200 dead, 12,000 wounded and one million people who will suffer severe hunger this winter. The alarmist prediction is published this weekend by the FAO.

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the southeast of the country around Les Cayes has destroyed agricultural production and everything that organizes food distribution. Infrastructure such as roads, storage sheds, markets. In a summary document published by FAO and written by UN agencies and international NGOs, nearly a million people “must be severely food insecure (stage 3 or more on a scale of 5) between September and February 2022, including 320,000 in phase 4 (emergency).”

The humanitarian emergency is also agricultural. Need for seeds, equipment, livestock. Repair destroyed or deteriorated infrastructure. O FAO estimates the cost of aid that could revive 32,000 rural families around the restoration of infrastructure at 20 million.

A grandmother and her granddaughter in a makeshift shelter after losing their home.  & Nbsp;
A grandmother and her granddaughter in a makeshift shelter after losing their home. (BORIS LOUMAGNE / RADIO FRANCE)

But the main project remains reconstruction. Weakened houses continue to collapse, even today, with no aftershocks. And the question of “how to rebuild “ is at the center of the conversation: sheets and light materials vulnerable to hurricanes OR solid houses that bury whole families when the earth shakes? And who pays? 53,000 houses completely destroyed, almost 20% of schools destroyed.

Very well coordinated, the few NGOs are not numerous enough and the journalists who could tell what is happening here have their eyes on Afghanistan. What surprises Boris Loumagne, principal reporter for franceinfo, when he arrives in Port-au-Prince, in fact, the image he keeps is that of those Haitians who do nothing and who wait. They have no more work, no more roofs, no more materials to rebuild. There is nothing to be done. You have to wait and try to get a place in a refugee camp, unsanitary and benefit from a plate of world food program.

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Boris Loumagne’s report published on August 20 on France.

Haiti.  A man in front of his house destroyed after the August 14 earthquake.
Haiti. A man in front of his house destroyed after the August 14 earthquake. (BORIS LOUMAGNE / RADIO FRANCE)

It took Boris Loumagne 20 hours by car to get back to the epicendron area. Rescuers must go to the most remote rural areas on mules. Health infrastructure is failing: three doctors per 10,000 population, six times less than in the neighboring Dominican Republic. The failed state is weakened by the political crisis.

The Haitians understood that they could only rely on themselves or on outside help. So they keep an eye out for the arrival of planes and when Boris Loumagne’s microphone appears, they throw themselves on it to tell about their misery. The reporter becomes the mouthpiece of their pain, and the radio, they kind of love so much, is where the SOS of Haitians in distress is launched.

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