“The house jumped!”

“The house jumped!”

60-year-old Camila Avril is describing what happened to her home on the day of the earthquake, in Haiti.

Since then, she and the members of her household – daughter Lucienne Dorci, 34, twin granddaughters Sadrac and Esdrac Dorci, 17, and baby granddaughter Dudmicah Aladin – have been sleeping in a neighbour’s yard.

Effects of the Haiti earthquake

They can no longer live in their home. The posts forming two corners of the house have come loose and there is an ominous crack running over the front entrance.

Camila Avril tells us:

We were all inside when it happened and we did not know what was going on. We were very scared and we are still scared.

Refuge from mainland

They live on the island of La Gonave, in Sous Saline, an often flooded tidal plain at the edge of the island's largest town, Anse-a-Galets. Located 40 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince, La Gonave experienced structural damage to its weaker structures but none of the loss of life seen in Port-au-Prince. In the days after the quake, an estimated 16,000 people fled here from the mainland.

Challenges

The challenge for La Gonave is twofold. Firstly they must address the damage that struck the homes of its poorest residents - like Camila Avril. Secondly, they must cope with the population explosion of the last two months.

Our charity work in Haiti

Natural disasters such as droughts and hurricanes hit the island particularly hard; even in the best of times it does not grow enough food to feed its existing population. Any aid delivery and development efforts are invariably hampered by an inadequate road system. There is not a single kilometre of paved road on the 55 km long island.

But back in Sous Saline Camila Avril breaks into a smile.

I was so happy when they told me I was going to receive a tent. We were in a really bad state. All of the children have gotten sick since we have been outside and the baby still has a fever...There are a lot of new people here from Port-au-Prince, so we are all sharing our food and eating less. But now we have a place to live again and that is the most important thing.

The rains are coming and we know there will be floods and hurricane...The future is in God's hands...For now we feel safe.