Town Nearly Flattened by Haiti Earthquake Awaits More Aid

A town outside of Port-au-Prince suffers from a shortage of emergency aid.

ByABC News
January 15, 2010, 2:28 PM

LEOGANE, Haiti, Jan. 17, 2010— -- Heading west along the coast past the sugar cane fields, we pull into the town of Leogane.

The ruins of stores are so mangled, you can't even tell what they once were.

The first sign of shortage was a gas station that had been mobbed since 4 a.m.

As we weave into downtown, the destruction is astounding: Maybe 70 percent to 80 percent of the buildings and homes are just gone.

There used to be an old hardware store on the corner, a pharmacy that used to be two stories tall, a distillery where they made the rum this town was known for.

On the blackboard at a local school is a date frozen in time -- Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2010 -- along with the words "Aime tu dieu," which translates as "Love your God."

An 81-year-old man flags us down. He says he's hungry, and tightens his belt to demonstrate.

When the quake hit, the man ran from his video rental shop to the elementary school across the street, which is literally flattened now.

"They only bring the aid to Port-au-Prince. They don't come here with the food or nothing," the man said.

"No one has come here?" I asked.

"Nothing nothing," he replied.

One of the few buildings still standing is the hospital. Ironically it closed two years ago when they ran out of money.

And so what they're left with is the campus of a nursing college turned refugee camp.

"What do you need right now?" I asked Gabriel Toussaint of Haitian Cultural League, a local relief agency.

"Now? Water. Second, communications. Third? Food," said Toussaint.

The U.S. Agency for International Development brought some soybeans and energy bars Saturday, and today a small medical team from Doctors Without Borders found their way here. But one aid worker, Michelle Sare from Montana, hadn't seen many outsiders until today.

"Glad people are here. This has been a tough week," Sare told me.

The people here don't have water. They're diluting what little benodyne they have left. They have no way to X-ray an injured little boy's leg to see if it's broken.

Sare landed in Haiti last Tuesday, just an hour before the earthquake, hoping to teach nursing students.

Now, she just wants Americans to know what's happening here.

"Do anything you can," she said. "These are beautiful people. And if there's ever been any controversy about what the people in Haiti are like, erase it from your mind.

"They are strong. They are kind. They are beautiful. Beautiful."