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UNITED SIKHS in the NEWS

Emotional Trauma For The Living In Haiti Continues


Life will never be the same again for Haitians left behind by the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12 and we are not only talking of material loss but also a much severe emotional trauma.


Haitians have strong sense of duty towards the dead, one of the survivors said with tears in her eyes as she looked at the completely destroyed house on the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince. Choking with emotion, she said she had lost all her family in that rubble and is yet to recover the bodies.


People are using whatever they can to dig through the rubble, sometimes endangering their own lives as U.N. and allied agencies are yet to reach these remote hill sides where only bumpy dirt tracks full of rocks reach, although the main streets of the capital Port-Au-Prince are awash with U.N. marked vehicles and soldiers.


Even in the heart of the city, there are bodies trapped in collapsed homes, businesses, schools and even some shopping malls. The scene, of bodies being retrieved with debris as bulldozers work, is heart-rending.


It is understandable that the massive numbers of dead has overwhelmed the government, which is limping back to life with the choking smell of the decaying bodies combined with hopelessness in the eyes of the living.


Chris Manning, a paramedic with a relief team from California said, “The pain is more emotional than physical - terrible - sad stories - losing loved one.”


Manning worked in Leogane, one of the hilly spots, with a small team on behalf of “LivingTheDreamGlobal,” and met this man who was working in the fields when the earthquake stuck and his house collapsed burying alive rest of his family of four.


The Haitian man has been digging through the rubble with his bare hands but not being able to make a dent as the help needed is still in the capital.


Manning spoke of power of prayer and his attempts to pray with people to sooth their emotional wounds.


There are reports of looting and violence in the capital but visiting far-flung areas suggest a different story as people “bless” those who come to help.


At one of such “langar” (freshly cooked hot meal distribution) points, the pastor of the church arranged that all were accommodated in the huge church compound and after receiving the food, left to go out. This ensured that no one took more than his/her share, explained, Paramjeet Singh, one of the volunteers with United Sikhs.


At another point of distribution, the Mayor of the locality stood without any police protection and guided his people in a calm manner as United Sikhs distributed the food. He even ate the freshly cooked food to show his people it was safe. Some of the impatient ones were straightened by his threats and the order prevailed.


According to most of the reports, the problems are concentrated at the major agencies outlets including the U.N. as dry rations and medical supplies are coming in large numbers and a parallel market has sprung up to channel them.