Morgue becomes mountain of anguish

Civil servants unloaded the cargo. Hundreds of bodies, those of adults and children alike, were already piled outside the morgue, bloated under the blazing sun.

Relatives picked their way around them trying to find the missing, trying to block out the putrid smell.

The grim pileup of bodies all but masked one positive note: Haiti’s barely functioning state had begun to work, if still just minimally, by sending the police to gather bodies. The police pickup trucks were virtually the first organised recovery efforts seen in many parts of the city.

The residents of Port-au-Prince, also began taking responsibility for cleaning up on Thursday: clearing streets, collecting debris and searching for trapped survivors.
“I heard several of my co-workers are alive some place inside there,” said Pierre Ricky Constant, 24, an inspector who showed up Thursday morning, to start digging through the rubble of the Transportation Ministry building, where he worked.

“Tell President Obama we need his help,” said Constant.
Next to Constant’s ministry it was a similar story. The Ministry of Finance: destroyed. The Ministry of Justice: destroyed. The Fire Department: destroyed.

To get on with the task of picking up the pieces, the living literally still had to step over the dead on this city’s streets. Even as the police picked up what bodies they could, others that were shrouded in white sheets or that had been simply dragged outside without any covering lined the sidewalks.

Doing anything remained a logistical nightmare. Electricity remained nonexistent. Gasoline remained in short supply. Thousands remained camped in parks, in the street, under trees.

 “The lucky ones are those buried in their own yard,” he said. “For those less fortunate, they will join the other corpses in forming mountains of the dead.”

The New York Times

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