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Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’

 

Labadee, Haiti

 

Haiti, one-time luxury idyll plagued by sunshine and tourists now in disarray after it’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake earlier this year.

Fast-forward to the present and make-shift camps where the damages were worst are threatened by armed gangs indicating that the countries troubles are far from over.

The 12th january saw the Caribbean island devastated with the epicentre of the quake just a few miles shy of the capital Port-au-Prince.

The National Palace was destroyed, the second story of the building completely collapsed; the BBC reported that a large number of UN personnel were missing and front-line emergency services suffered great loses.

One of the largest referral hospitals in Jacmel, the St. Michel District Hospital, was also brought to the ground.

Breath-taking scenery in northern Haiti

These beautiful images show the northern landscape of Labadee, an exclusive stretch of beach that is leased by cruise company Royal Caribbean. The photographs were taken at the end of December 2009, just weeks before the natural disaster devastated the country.

 

Labadee, Haiti

 

Holiday-makers having fun in the sun while locals deal with the diaster

The area was not hit as hard as it sits on the northern most tip of the island. Royal Caribbean sparked outrage with their decision to continue docking at Haiti. Consequently passengers were allowed to vacation on the beach in paradise whilst such extreme poverty was just sixty miles away.

Speaking to Steve Inskeep of NPR the CEO of Royal Caribbean explained the companies decision to return to Haiti.

On their decision to go back Adam Goldstein stated;

‘We actually felt it was a pretty easy decision once we realized that the physical site at our property at Labadee was unaffected by the earthquake, and second, after the Haitian government made it clear that they wanted to continue to have our ships visit, both for the economic benefit that they normally bring, as well as the humanitarian aspect of delivering relief supplies. It was a no-brainer.’

He later reported that the company are one of the countries largest foreign investors spending $50 million on the property.

Some holiday-makers were ‘sickened’

The Guardian reported that many passengers on the first ships to return to the island after the quake stayed on board;

“I just can’t see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water,” wrote a passenger on the Cruise Critic internet forum.

 

Labadee's Port

 

Rape updates in Twitter status’

Roll on to October and the country receives a flush of new media attention after American journalist Mac McClelland uses twitter as a platform to publicise the rise of sexual violence against women and children living in Haiti’s refugee camps.

The reporter arrived in Port-au-Prince and was shocked by what she  found. She tells Grazia,

‘Gangs prowl the refugee camps – home to hundreds of thousands…kidnapping girls as young as five, raping and leaving them with horrific injuries.’

Much to her surprise Mac McClelland’s inbox filled up with hate-mail about her journalistic ethics. Was she sensationalising a story on twitter to get a reaction?

McClleland insists it was the only way she felt she could draw attention to the horrors continuing in Haiti as the world’s attention was drawn elsewhere. She defends what she did.

Sarah Menkedick who writes for the internet site Women’s Rights was not convinced;

‘I have to agree with those who bristle at McClelland’s decision. I know we live in an age in which few moments can be spared the spectacle of their presentation on social networks, but there are certain deeply traumatic and serious issues — rape being one — which do not belong in tweet status updates.’

 

Zip-wire lines in Haiti

 

The UN are launching an anti-rape campaign in Haiti to help protect the estimated 1.3 million homeless and vulnerable women and children.

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