For a week, no-one could reach Leogane, a community at the epicentre of the earthquake. The eye of the storm. Haiti’s ground zero.
When the first outsiders did arrive they found bodies rotting on the ground, survivors walking around dazed and buildings deleted.
Euronews’ special correspondent in Haiti, Luis Carballoi, reported from what was the Santa Rosa de Lima school in Leogane: “From under the rubble they pulled out the dead bodies of 60 children. The rescue teams could do nothing. Leogane is 15 kilometers south-west of Port-au-Prince. Here, the earthquake was a true catastrophe. In these ruins, they found schoolbooks belonging to the children who studied here. They were children who had practically been adopted by the nuns who ran the school.”
Philippe Boliar was playing football when the earth shook his house and his town to the ground. He reflected on the horror of the aftermath of the disaster:
“The worst thing really, it’s not my house falling down. It was finding yourself surrounded by rubble. I spent the night trying to help save some people. We pulled maybe three living children out. The worst thing was not being able to do anything when you can hear a child crying for help for hours. And you’re there, empty handed. And you can do nothing.”
When the first food parcels were dropped on Tuesday, some confused bystanders thought they were witnessing an American military invasion.
Slowly they are now starting to realise what has happened.
Slowly the sick and the injured are being treated.
Leogane will eventually be rebuilt. But any sort of normal life is a long way off.