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23 de diciembre de 2012 • 10:24 PM

Miseria navideña en campo de refugiados en Haití, tres años después del sismo

 

Mientras el mundo celebra la Navidad, los residentes del un campo de refugiados en Haití dicen que el hambre y la necesidad marcará será la marca de la fecha, igual que todos los días del año.

2No hay coronas, ni árboles de Navidad", dijo Titelma Cherival, 54 años, que aún vive en un campo de refugiados provisorio a casi tres años del sismo que devastó a esta empobrecida nación.

a mejor Navidad que podemos esperar es salir de aquí y tener una linda vida en un hogar normal", dijo Cherival. "Pero veo pocas eseperanzas de que eso ocurra".

La desteñida carpa en la que Cherival vive con tres niños está rota y cubierta con una lona para protegerse de la lluvia. El campo de refugiados, ubicado en el barrio Canape Vert, en las afueras de Puerto Príncipe, alberga a casi 2.000 personas.

Los residentes se ven obligados a arreglarselas lo mejor que pueden sin electricidad ni agua corriente, y a la sombra de un complejo de hoteles de lujo.

La pobreza no es mayor en Navidad que en otra época del año, pero el dolor y la humillación de la necesidad contrasta fuertemente en una temporada dada a los regalos y a la alegría en este país predominantemente católico.

"No habrá regalos para los niños y probablemente ni siquiera una comida de Navidad", dijo Jocelyne, quien vende baratijas para sobrellevar la situación.

"Mire a mis tres hijos, ni siquiera sabe qué es la Navidad", dijo.

The massive earthquake struck in January 2010, reducing much of the Haitian capital to a pile of rubble and killing more than 200,000 people.

Of the more than one million people left homeless, more than a third -- just over 360,000 -- are still living in tents, according to International Organization for Migration data.

Endless days of grinding poverty and idleness add to the despair, camp inhabitants said.

"Nobody works here. There is abject poverty. People have been brought down to the lowest place in their lives," said Fritzner Dossous, 32.

"We are are dead. All we are waiting for now is to be buried."

Making matters even more dire for residents of the camp, the owner of the land where it is located wants to reclaim the property and evict the camp inhabitants, who have no place else to go.

"We are on private land. The owner wants to reclaim the space," said Dossous, who helps organize security for the camp, which from time to time has been attacked by unknown assailants.

Thieves long ago made away with solar street lights installed in the camp, along with many of the inhabitants' meager possessions.

Camp dwellers also feel abandoned by political leaders who, in flowery campaign pledges, promised to lift them out their destitution.

"We are on the path that leads to the presidential palace. But once they take that road, they don't make the return trip," said one man who recalled that President Michel Martelly visited the camp during his election campaign.

"We haven't seen him since... We deplore this attitude, although we love him all the same," the man added, as he proudly showed off a pink bracelet stamped with Martelly's name that he says the Haitian leader gave him.

In the camp, many children, half naked and weak from poor nutrition, scamper among the tents, their feet encased in mud.

Instead of toys, they play with empty bottles and other random objects strewn across the camp.

"These kids don't go to school. Some of them were born here and don't know any other way of life. They don't know any other way to observe Christmas," said Neila Honarat, 20.

Honorat, a student, noted that many teenage classmates have become mothers, when they ought to have been getting an education instead.

"There is a dramatic situation in this camp. The girls become pregnant, no one knows who the fathers are. Some girls sleep around in order to get food," she said.

Christella is one such girl. At the age of 15, she is already eight months pregnant. Her baby is due next month, around the same time as the third anniversary of the quake that has defined life in Haiti and probably will for the foreseeable future.

"I do not know what will happen during the birth," she said. "My mother is taking care of me because my boyfriend left, he abandoned me," Christella said of the unborn child's father.

It is a sad Christmas story, but one without gifts or provisions born by Wise Men.

"I have no clothes for him," said Christella, slightly embarrassed.

"Nothing to care for him with. Nothing at all."

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