Haiti and Chile Earthquakes

In Jacmel, Young Haitian Filmmaker Documents the Earthquake’s Aftermath

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–26 January 2010 – Jean Bernard Bayard, 29, is a second-year film student at Ciné Institute, the only film school in the southern port city of Jacmel, Haiti. Since the devastating earthquake struck Haiti on 12 January, Mr. Bayard and other film students have used their cameras to document the events and stories unfolding around them.

UNICEF Radio spoke with Mr. Bayard by phone yesterday to find out about his experiences during the disaster and its aftermath in his hometown, where UNICEF, the World Food Programme and other humanitarian partners are providing food, water and other necessities for some 34,000 people affected by the quake.

International exposure

Mr. Bayard recalled filming the scene when a young survivor was carried out of the rubble eight days after the earthquake. He has also shot footage of the camps where displaced survivors live, many in improvised, makeshift shelters. He and his own family members are sleeping outside every night.

Two images from a visit to a local hospital particularly stuck with him, Mr. Bayard said. One was a man screaming in pain as he received surgery without any anaesthesia; the other was a young girl with an open leg wound, the injury completely exposed to the camera lens.

Films by Mr. Bayard and his colleagues have been shown on the website of The Wall Street Journal, on CNN and other television networks in North America and Europe, and via many additional international media outlets.

“We just want to let the world know what’s going on,” he said.

‘Trying to stay strong’

Recently, aid workers distributed portable kitchen sets to earthquake survivors in Jacmel, but Mr. Bayard was at the film school, as he is most days. Since he was not at the camp, he missed the distribution of supplies.

“Every day, I am out trying to tell what’s going on, trying to edit movies and videos with the school. I’m not able to go for help, for food or other stuff they give,” he said.

Even as they document the emergency, Mr. Bayard added, he and his fellow film students are deeply and personally affected by it. “We are also victims. We are just trying to stay strong,” he said.

An urgent appeal

The filmmaker reported that it has been raining and windy in Jacmel recently – and that his family and others in the camps are in an emergency situation, with an immediate need for tents.

Haitian President René Préval has also made an urgent appeal for more tents to house up to 1 million people left homeless by the quake two weeks ago. Mr. Préval said 200,000 tents would be needed before the expected start of the rainy season in May.

Mr. Bayard’s school, Ciné Institute, grew out of UNICEF-supported film festival several years ago. The school provides young people with film education, technical training and media-related micro-enterprise opportunities.

Source: unicef.org