Haiti disaster remembered

'Life in the Ruins' bows on Sunday

There will be no shortage of news retrospectives in the coming week on the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. But none is likely to be quite as affecting as Linda Ellerbee’s Nick News special, “Haiti Rising? Life in the Ruins,” which bows Sunday.

As always, Ellerbee pulls no punches. The Haitian youths featured in the spesh, many of them still living in tent cities, talk about the struggle to eat regularly after the initial wave of international aid dried up. A preteen girl wearing a Unicef T-shirt talks about the problem of mud and feces oozing under the tent when it rains. A boy speaks wistfully about wanting to go back to school, and missing his backpack, his school uniform and his sneakers.

Ellerbee notes that the earthquake disproportionately disrupted the lives of youth on the island because more than half of Haiti’s population is under the age of 18, and more than half of those who are still homeless from the quake are youths.

While noting the intractability of the problems in a country that was already desperately impoverished, the special also spotlights hopeful developments, including a nonprofit org that is building temporary schools out of huge shipping containers. And Ellerbee calls on the Nick News aud to work on projects to help Haitian youths.

“The world must not fail them,” she says. “Haiti cannot fall away in the rear view mirror of our attention.”

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