In his third in a series of exclusive interviews with RadarOnline.com Haitian Heroes star Jimmy Jean-Louis reports on the ever worsening situation in his earthquake ravaged homeland.
A catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake tore apart Haiti on Tuesday, January, 12th, leaving an estimated 200,000 people dead and 1.5 million people homeless.
The interview was conducted Tuesday evening, before the second quake that hit Haiti on Wednesday.
A week has passed since tragedy struck the impoverished Caribbean nation, and a massive international aid program and rescue effort has been launched, yet Jean-Louis says the situation only appears to be getting worse, not better.
With no clean drinking water available to many, raw sewage flooding the streets, dead bodies piled on the road sides and a desperate shortage of medical treatment, food and shelter the Haitian people are becoming more and more desperate as time goes on.
In addition, the rescue missions are grinding down to a halt with the belief that there are no more live people to be found, something that grieving relatives and friends of those trapped under the rubble still refuse to believe, sometimes with good reason.
“Today was good actually, but maybe harder than the other days, because I saw a lot more things and a lot more devastation, a lot more bodies and people about to die,” Jean-Louis tells RadarOnline.com. “We went to a hospital, an outdoor hospital where they had to fly in doctors from all over the world to come an assist because they don’t have enough doctors to help all of the people.
“And as I said earlier I met a girl there, she was sitting there and I said ‘what happened to you?’ She said, ‘I had a family of fifteen and I am the only survivor’. In that house everybody, everybody, everybody disappeared. It is just very, very heavy when you hear the stories like that. And then she survived three days underneath the house until she was rescued 3 days later. And when the rescue team came she pretty much had to try to speak out and to shout and raise her hand because they probably thought she was dead as well because everyone was dead in that place. Stories like that unfortunately they just become natural, they just become normal and it shouldn’t be. So that was one of our stops today.
“And then you go further away and further up and we stopped at a bank that collapsed as well,” Jean-Louis says. “And there they were still looking for people and taking dead people from out of the place. And right when we got there they pulled out one of them, one of the dead people, unfortunately, and then you had the family that had to come try to identify to see if it was one of their own. To have to witness that was quite heart breaking.”
Despite the sheer amount of death and destruction Jean-Louis has encountered and seen in the past few days, the actor has still not become desensitized to the obvious horror that is surrounding him. In fact, he is obviously still affected deeply by the daily stories of suffering and survival against the odds, as well as the despair and obvious fears of the Haitian people.
“When we went by The University of Port-au-Prince [a man was] trying to plead his case to the rescue team to try to go back to the university to look for people because apparently they had received text messages [from people trapped under the building],” Jean-Louis tells RadarOnline.com. “ And the rescue team is trying to tell him there is nothing he can really do. He is the third team of the day and the location is extremely dangerous and he’s trying to convince the guy that unfortunately we will not be able to continue to be looking for anybody and that gentleman is just trying to plead his case. It was, I don’t now…it goes on.
“Yesterday, they pulled out 2 people from the Carribean Market so that’s why I understand why people still have faith, they still believe maybe their loved ones may still be alive. Even though most people will tell you it is almost impossible right now to find any survivors but who knows?”
Jean-Louis reacted to the many horror stories that have been reported out of Haiti in the past few days of people looting in the streets and the escalating violence that is ensuing. Putting things in perspective he says, “I can understand, yes I can really see it, because some of those people are really starving and then of course if they smell the food they will rush to it it’s only normal. I am starting to do the [food] distribution as well so I’m witnessing that. It’s just that people have no idea about the situation, and they are hearing that people are looting or people are being a little bit violent, it’s normal when you’re hungry, you’ll do anything just to collect some food in your belly.
“I think we are finding more and more devastation and I think it is time for people to start getting the help and getting better and start to eat a little bit, and start to find places where they can sleep and I think just start getting help from whomever, and from doctors especially because a lot of people are in pain.
“You know what it must feel like to let’s say, have a broken leg or two and not having anybody helping you for one, two, three or four days. It must be the most horrible feeling. And that is happening right now, there are people at the hospital just waiting outside, camping outside, because the hospital doesn’t have enough staff to take care of them.
“Tomorrow I am really going to press on distributing food we need, they need, survival kits, and food kits. That’s what I’m going to be doing. That’s a done deal. I know what areas I’m going to be doing and what organizations I’m going to go to.”
Please do your part to help ease the suffering of the Haitian people in their time of need. You can donate online to Jean-Louis’ charities of choice, Hollywood Unites For Haiti, or The Pan American Development Foundation, or The Organization Of American States, or you can donate to the Red Cross via your cell phone: text “HAITI” TO 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross’ efforts there, amount will be billed to your monthly statement.