Forgotten People? Haitian Town Ravaged by Quake

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LEOGANE, Haiti -- Most of the earthquake news coverage in Haiti has focused on the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

But some smaller cities in the countryside were also hit hard. One devastated town lost up to 30,000 people in last week's disaster.

A Town in Ruins

St. Rose of Lima once stood as a testament to Haiti's strong Christian heritage. Now the fragile frame is all that's left of the oldest church in Haiti.

"We don't know where we are going," Father Maraf Quirand said. "It's like Haiti is finished, the people are finished, it's like the people don't have hope anymore."

The church was the heart of Leogane, a Haitian city located some 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince. The town took a beating from the earthquake. Almost every building was destroyed. Most of the homes have also been damaged.

No one knows for sure, but it has been estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people died in Leogane alone. And because much of the world's attention is on Port-au-Prince right now, many are feeling forgotten.

"We are not getting any attention here," one resident said. "We have also suffered a lot. Why isn't anyone coming to help us?"

Relief Arrives

Help finally came Thursday. Catholic relief agency CARITAS partnered with the United Nations to deliver tents, food, and water.

"Because of the extent of damage, the reality is that there are still many places beyond this town that have yet to receive aid," CARITAS' Dr. Jean Patrick told CBN News.

One week on, many can't imagine how Haiti can recover from the earthquake.

"We feel so miserable," one of the town's quake survivors said. "We have lost everything - our homes and our jobs. Where do we go from here?"

In an effort to speed up aid deliveries, the U.S. is sending in more reinforcements. Some 4,000 troops originally bound for the Middle East will join the 12,000 American men and women deployed to the region.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is adding a couple of thousand more soldiers and police officers to its peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Still, back in Leogane, Father Quirand worries about the long-term rehabilitation of his community.

"I know the aid will eventually reach us, but what about the future," he said. "Who is going to rebuild our homes, our churches?"

On Thursday, U.S. Marines came to the rescue in Leogane delivering much needed food and aid to the people that had felt like they'd been forgotten.

It's estimated that about 2 million Haitians will need food supplies for the next six months.

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CBN News
George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Sr. Reporter

CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming 24 hours a day by cable, satellite and the Internet.