Haitians feel hopeless after Hurricane Tomas

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by PAULA NEWTON

CNN

Posted on November 7, 2010 at 11:43 AM

Leogane, Haiti

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LEOGANE, Haiti —And then came Hurricane Tomas. Misery now overwhelms Haitians, just as easily as the flood waters did.

"This water now came by and washed away anything we had left," lamented young Charlie Simolien as he waded through filthy water only to return to his earthquake ravaged home.

 

This is Leogane, the very epicenter of January's epic quake. Now it has seen some of the worst flooding. And yet for this, there is gratitude; Tomas spared them the worst.

The Estin family was left with water and muddy soot all over their home. They are thankful that the water has started to recede, but now they try to clean up and recover once more.

 

But many tell us they've had it; their spirit is broken. The quake, the continuing threat of cholera, the indignity of scavenging to survive — and now more water.

A man named Jesner told us he lost his leg to the earthquake; now Tomas has taken everything else. All he has left are his crutches.

It's difficult to comprehend that in the shadow of homes crushed by the quake, Haitians must now somehow survive. So little has changed here since January.

Outside Haiti there is talk of donor fatigue, but inside Haiti, they're sick of something else: all the attention. It raises their expectations for help and crushes them once more when it fails to turn up.

"We always have foreigners come and talk to us and offer help," one man said through a translator. "They take our stories, they take advantage of us and it's about time this ends."

Hurricane Tomas' last lash may be behind them, but many Haitians tell us they no longer believe anyone can help them when the next calamity strikes.

 

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