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'I've lost 27 members of my family in horror quake'

A Haitian man living in Dublin has watched in horror at scenes of the devastating earthquake that has claimed the lives of 27 members of his extended family.

Eslin Sieze (27), who is living in Ballymun, Dublin, is grateful that his immediate family has been spared.

Numerous members of his family are still unaccounted for and those lucky enough to have survived have been left seriously injured and without food or water.

"It is so hard to look at the pictures on the television, 27 members of my family are dead," he said.

"My uncle, his wife and their four kids were all killed in the earthquake."

Although his father, sister and three brothers are alive, they are in desperate need of supplies as they struggle to get their hands on basic essentials.

Eslin plans to send money to them but told the Herald that money is useless at the moment.

"I have spoken with my brother and thank God they are okay, but they have no food or water so it's very hard for them," he said.

"I'm trying to get money to send to them but even if they get money they can't buy anything with it."

Eslin's family have sleeping in the street outside their destroyed home in the capital Port-au-Prince, where the stench is overpowering.

UN humanitarian agencies have said that even though it has been a week since the devastating quake, tents have still not yet been distributed.

"My family are homeless, they have been sleeping in the street since last Tuesday. My brother told me that there is a very bad smell because there is nowhere to put the dead bodies."

Looting

With reports of looting, killing and police firing on groups of starving Haitians, Eslin has blamed the lack of organisation on the part of the authorities and humanitarian groups, which has meant that aid is not getting through to people on the ground.

"People are getting desperate because the organisation is bad and aid is not getting distributed correctly," he said.

"I read in the papers how people who were in jail have had to be set free because the prison is in ruins -- it really isn't safe at the moment."

Eslin, who has been living in Ireland and has worked with the Herald for the past six months, now hopes he can remain in Ireland beyond the 12 months his working holiday visa allows because he has nothing to return to in Haiti.

"I came to Ireland on a holiday visa but because of the situation at the moment in my country I hope I can stay longer," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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