Flying over the Champs de Mars (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)

Uploaded 7 Apr 2009
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© Erich Kesse
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Photo Info
UploadedApril 7, 2009
TakenMay 12, 2008
ModelCanon PowerShot S70
Exposure1/160 sec at f/5
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length17.46875 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

Redistribution rights for this photo have been granted to the U.S. Department of State, which uses it in it language training guides.

This photo was taken July 2008.

Addendum, 13 January 2010.

Completely devastated. News of 7/0/5.9/5.5 earthquakes in Haiti.

At midnight, our time in the UK, we started hearing reports that an earthquake struck Haiti. Port-au-Prince was rumoured to have been shaken like a sheet of dirty laundry, with dust clouds rising above the ravines. In my mind, I conjured up the image of the morning mists that I'd seen rising from those same ravines. Doubtless, the scene was less beautiful now. Word came of wailing across the city. A soundtrack of vibrant Ra-Ra music fell silent to my memory.

Then came word that the Palais nationale d'Haiti had fallen. The Haitian White House was beautiful. It was everything that Haiti might be. How quickly an image has become a relic. Everyone I know in Haiti works or lives near the Palais, many in old buildings that one suspected survived hurricanes only because they leaned on one-another. Communication in the best of times was hell. There's no news yet from them.

This morning's CNN brought images of the Catholic Cathedral - a loss; of the school on the Champs de Mars - the large public park fronting the Palais - a portion of the building had sheered off, a school boy lay half pinned below. I have to wonder if anything has been left standing. Nearly every building was simple block on block, without reinforcement.

When I went to L'Aquila, I could be dispassionate. I didn't know anyone who had died in the earthquake there. I'm hoping that the same can be said of Port-au-Prince, that I did not know anyone who died there.

Please give to Médecins Sans Frontières ( for Haitian relief.

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