Carel Pedré: 'How are we going to even bury our loved ones?'

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The Independent Online

I was in my car driving to work on Tuesday evening and got stuck in traffic. That's when I felt the car shaking. I thought another car had driven into me. I looked up and saw the earth shaking and the buildings trembling. When it was over, I saw that buildings had collapsed.

I tried to carry on to the radio station, but had to leave the car. It was only then that I realised just how enormous the disaster that had befallen us.

At every step there were injured people, people calling out for help, people who didn't know what to do next, people who couldn't find their loved ones, people who had just escaped from collapsed buildings but who had family still trapped inside.

I saw so many left without a roof over their heads, food or water. Hundreds were just standing helplessly in front of collapsed buildings in the hope of finding family members.

There is no way of getting information to the people about the situation. There is no radio station operating in Haiti. There's no army, no police, no fire brigade, no public authorities in the street. They are not even trying to communicate with people.

I didn't see any UN soldiers but many of them are victims too because the Hotel Christopher, where they were staying, has collapsed. A number of official buildings have collapsed. Practically everyone is a victim.

The Haitian people have lost all hope. These things happen to us too often – hurricanes, civil wars and now this earthquake which has brought us this new grief. We are a poor country. How are we going to have all these funerals? How are we going to bury all our brothers and sisters?

We have to learn lessons from all this. We have to be able to respond to this catastrophe. But it won't be easy. We can't even evacuate people. The roads don't exist anymore.

I think the international community also has to wake up. Haiti cannot go on as it has in the past. We have election after election and yet hundreds of Haitians die of hunger every day. That's not tenable. You can't stop a natural disaster from happening but we should at least be able to respond and reduce the human suffering. This is my cry and it is the cry of everyone in Haiti.

Carel Pedré, 29, presents the Morning Show on Radio1Haiti