They have become the most vulnerable victims of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Before the catastrophic events almost half of the population was under 18-years-old.
Many now have been left bewildered, bruised and lonely.
In these ruins of a school the children had come to learn. It was here too they were fed their main meal of the day. Now they are hungry and abandoned.
A woman explains: “I have nothing for them my pocket, not even plain rice to help these children to live, there is nothing, nothing.” “I have nothing I am going to boil up mint tea with some salt.”
In the fog of figures emerging from Haiti it is reckoned that before the quake there were 380,000 children living in orphanages. Such scenes suggest there will be a dramatic rise in those numbers. A woman holding a child says: “Her parents are dead. I will look after her.”
Protection is critical. The UN is setting up a mission on the ground to do just that, protection against trafficking, kidnapping and sex abuse.
Julie Bergeron, UNICEF: “It would be very easy for certain people to be involved, trafficking these children, especially as they do not have birth certificates. There are many children who will go from here as their parents will always believe they are dead.”
In a field hospital in Port-au-Prince the medical team have saved the life of a five-month-old baby. He has no name, just a number. No one knows who the boys family is or if they are alive. What will happen to him when he has been treated. Such are the now daily dilemmas for the children of this quake.