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February 12th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

It's been one month, but here it feels much longer

Tens of thousands of Haitians gather at the city center to remember those lost.

Tens of thousands of Haitians gather at the city center to remember those lost.

Anderson Cooper | BIO
AC360° Anchor

It's been one month.

"Is it better?" That's what most people ask, and of course, it is. It's not good though, by any stretch of the imagination, it's not acceptable even, but it is technically better. That's not saying much though. It could not have gotten any worse.

A lot of people who haven't been here probably think what happened is old news. I know people aren't as interested in hearing about it as much anymore. That always happens, but it's hard to accept. Haitians, of course, are used to it. They are used to people losing interest in their plight, this time they had hoped it would be different.

It may feel like this is a month-old tragedy, but here, on the ground, each day, it feels brand new: new struggles, new setbacks, new deaths, new horrors.

Charlie, my producer, and Neil, my cameraman, and I have been here three weeks out of the four. The week I was gone, all I wanted to do was get back here. Here nothing is wasted. Nothing is fake. People look each other in the eye. They clasp your hand hard. Everything has been stripped away, gutted.

I've started to pay attention to things no one wants to hear about. I saw a puddle of dried liquid on a concrete slab, and a small mound of human hair. It was all that was left of someone. There are packs of dogs that roam the streets at night. People say they've seen them feed on corpses. You hear them barking, growling deep, fighting each other in the darkness.

I see the good things here too: The love families have for one another, the strong faith, the resilience of people, but it's impossible to ignore that Port-au-Prince is still a graveyard. How many more dead are still buried in its rubble?

I find myself crying at odd times. I'll be walking up a flight of stairs and suddenly realize there are tears in my eyes. I was speaking to someone I hadn't seen in a while and my voice cracked, my throat tightened, I can't even remember what I was talking about. It happens to everyone, I think.

For the rest of the world its been one month. Here, on the ground, it feels much longer. The clocks have stopped. The earth no longer spins. This place, these people, are once again forced to begin again.


Filed under: Anderson Cooper • Haiti Earthquake • Opinion
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Claudia Preciado

    Thank you Anderson! I confess that during the week that you returned to NY I stop listening Haiti's news. You're back, and I back. It is sad to admit it, but I need somebody like you to remind me that this tragedy is not over.
    God Bless you!!

    February 12, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  2. Blain MacD

    Hi Anderson,

    I have been on on five short-term mission trips to Haiti and I have experienced much of the love you have with the people. Haiti never leaves your heart. God bless and keep safe.

    Blain

    February 12, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  3. Bobbie

    Anderson and crew;

    I want to thank you for the incredible job you are doing in Haiti. I pray that God protects you and your crew.

    Bobbie, Canada

    February 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  4. Miss Mary

    Anderson,
    My husband is one his way to the Mission of Hope to serve with a medical mission team. He leaves tomorrow, and returns in 8 days. Our conviction to help is "spurred-on" by your reporting. Me and his 3 kids will rely heavily upon your reporting while he is away. Take care and rest assured that you are stirring the hearts and minds of the American people, and our family from Oklahoma, to give more to Haiti.
    In the Name of Love,
    Mary

    February 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
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