linda Ellerbee LISTENS TO kids living in haiti one year after the earthquake IN “haiti rising? Life in the ruins,” premiering Sunday, jan. 9
Nickelodeon marks the first anniversary of the devastating Haitian earthquake with the premiere of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: “Haiti Rising? Life in the Ruins,” on Sunday, Jan. 9, at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT). With nearly half the population under 18, and more than half the homeless being kids, everything that happens in Haiti is a kid-related issue. The half-hour special follows the stories of kids living in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere even before the earthquake struck.
“We saw kids dealing with the reality of today while dreaming about tomorrow,” said Ellerbee. “We can’t look at rebuilding and recovery as impossible tasks because the story of Haiti is a kid’s story. The world must not fail them. Haiti cannot fall away in the rear view mirror of our attention.”
On Jan. 12, 2010, an earthquake devastated Haiti, a poor country already in crisis. Today, nearly 95 percent of the rubble from the quake has yet to be cleared, and there is a regular struggle for food and clean water. Housing remains scarce, uncomfortable and often unsafe for the vast majority of the massive displaced population. Sanitation remains a major issue in relocation camps intended to be temporary.
“Haiti Rising? Life in the Ruins” shows the lives of several kids who have struggled to overcome the earthquake’s destruction, kids like Ruben and Pierre, brothers living in Port-au-Prince in a shanty structure they built right next door to the wreckage of their old home. Their parents lost their jobs after the earthquake, and they can’t afford to go to school. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, they play in the rubble. To them, it seems like things are just getting harder.
Stephanie, also from Port-au-Prince, thought she had found refuge when she first came to a “tent city.” But as time goes on, she’s no longer so sure. Food and water don’t get brought in as often anymore, and the camp is dirty and dangerous. She doesn’t know how long she’ll have to call this place home. While she’s very grateful for aid she has received, she wants to be able to help herself and the Haitian people to help themselves.
Outside of Port-au-Prince there is a relocation camp, Camp Corail-Cesselesse, which is barren, without shade and removed from civilization. But for many families who lost their homes in the earthquake, it’s better than anywhere else they have to go. But as Steven points out: life here is not like a life at ‘home.’ Besides the oppressive heat in the tents and the swarming mosquitoes at night, there is simply not enough room. He lost everything in the earthquake, much from the destruction and the rest from looters. He has not gone to school since the earthquake, even though he does his best to study on his own because the only thing he thinks about now is moving forward for his own future.
People of Haiti struggle to find safe locations for kids to study. One solution has come from a cell phone company that worked with engineers and designers to repurpose some of the shipping containers, turning them into schools. For Wenlee and Rafael, two boys who live in Leogane, the epicenter of the earthquake, it gives them hope that things will be better. In a place where so much does not work and is broken, any start is encouraging.
Nick News, produced by Lucky Duck Productions, enters its 20th year in 2011 and is the longest-running kids’ news show in television history. It has built its reputation on the respectful and direct way it speaks to kids about the important issues of the day. Over the years, Nick News has received more than 20 Emmy nominations and recently won its eighth Emmy Award for The Face of Courage: Kids Living with Cancer for Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction Program. Additional Emmy wins for outstanding children’s programming include: Coming Home: When Parents Return from War (2009); The Untouchable Kids of India (2008); Private Worlds: Kids and Autism (2007); Never Again: From the Holocaust to the Sudan (2005); Faces of Hope: The Kids of Afghanistan (2002) and What Are You Staring At? (1998). In addition, in 1995, the entire series won the Emmy. In 2009, Nick News was honored with the Edward R. Murrow Award for best Network News Documentary for Coming Home: When Parents Return from War — the first-ever kids’ television program to receive this prestigious award. Nick News has also received three Peabody Awards, including a personal award given to Ellerbee for explaining the impeachment of President Clinton to kids, as well as a Columbia duPont Award and more than a dozen Parents’ Choice Awards.