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Haiti in African bloggers’ words 0

On January 12, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck about 15 kilometres southwest of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and African bloggers are not watching in silence.

As news agencies report, amid mounting desperation over shortages of medicines and food, and with officials warning the overall death toll may top 100,000, many people who escaped with their lives spent a second night on the streets.

Even though physically far, numerous African blogs dedicate posts and articles to the tragedy, while the first platform online, Haiti Ushahidi, to respond to earthquakes and follow and map the situation in Haiti has been implemented jointly by the South African company Ushahidi, UN OCHA/Colombia and the International Network of Crisis Mappers (CM*Net).

Sokari Ekine, blogger, author of books and contributor in the Afronline.org blog section, reports on Black Looks the appeal made by the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, which, she states, “since 2004, has given concrete aid to Haiti’s grassroots democratic movement as they attempted to survive the brutal coup and to rebuild shattered development projects.”

She also adds a poetry on the tragedy that is affecting the Caribbean state, titled Haiti Cherie.

(…) And yet is Haiti so epic that

Hurricane-proofed we sink into the earth from which

Yo di

We came

The dead in the streets and the word cannot be found the dust will not settle for the word to be found (…)”

My Heart’s in Accra, the blog of Ethan Zuckermann, explains the way to follow Haiti’s situation online, citing Troy Livesay, a missionary in Haiti, who writes “long, informative blog posts as well as tweets. His morning’s post reveals the extent of uncertainty the island is feeling”.

He also underlines that “the response to the tragedy has been rapid online. My twitter-scanning scripts estimate that 1.5-1.8% of tweets on Twitter this morning have mentioned Haiti” and that “we’ll be tracking the crisis and response in Haiti closely on Global Voices and expect to have a special coverage page up within an hour. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Haiti and Haitians in the diaspora around the world”.

Kenya Christian has published a video with appeals for Haiti, showing some places donations can be sent through the ICRC, World Vision Yele and Salvation Army.

From Ghana, Land & Environment, a blog made by Kwesi Acquah and focused on environmental issues, underlines that Haiti is the most deforested nation in the world – 97% deforested – and reports that “massive floods have fuelled erosion that has crippled the agricultural industry in Haiti, not leaving that of transportation. Many roads have been washed out and people usually develop cold feet when they have to travel. For even the brave travellers, one cannot consider closing his or her eyes to catch a quick nap, considering the many dangers associated with travelling on the devastated roads.”

By Chiara Caprio – Afronline.org

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