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Haiti's lost and orphaned children

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Haiti's lost and orphaned children


Some of the most vulnerable victims of Haiti’s earthquake are the thousands of orphans created by the catastrophe.

The Red Cross is trying to help them cope with their trauma. In a temporary hospital in Port-au-Prince, many of the youngsters remain in shock.

One of them is four-year-old Jo. He was found alone, naked and totally silent outside the grounds of the general hospital in Haiti’s capital.

Jo remains withdrawn but has started to talk again.

Magalie, a Haitian Red Cross volunteer, said: ‘‘Yes, I gave him a phone. ‘Are you going to call someone? he said. Hello? Its Jo. Bring me toys, balloons, sweets, and don’t forget the sweets. After talking to them I asked him, ‘who have you been talking to?. With my mother’. What did she tell you? She said she was not coming to get me’ Why? Because she is dead.’‘

For the hospital’s volunteers, caring for the children’s needs while being careful not to get too attached remains a difficult balance to strike.

French doctor Jean Gabriel Damizet was in Haiti for eight days. Though difficult, the work was rewarding.

‘‘This young girl had a fractured femur and she was crying and crying. She simply needed medicine for the pain and a lot of loving care. I took her in my arms for two or three hours and she fell asleep. She was calm like that until we got to hospital,’‘ the French doctor said.

While on the Caribbean Island, he also had to carry out four emergency deliveries – two of which were caesarean sections.

‘‘The fourth birth was not only a caesarean but was also premature, so we had to make do and go in a back room which was practically inaccessible. We had to get access to an incubator and make it work with oxygen and electricity in order that the conditions for this premature baby were reasonably safe,’‘ Damizet said.

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