Thousands of Haitians Leaving Capital for Countryside

Published January 19, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Thousands of Haiti quake victims are struggling to board buses to flee hunger and violence in the shattered capital, hoping that food will be easier to find in the countryside.

But both gasoline and food are scarce in Port-au-Prince, and bus drivers have hiked fares, forcing some to pay more than three days' wages for a seat.

"Thousands and thousands are leaving, I've never seen such a rush, even at Christmas," said driver Garette Saint-Julien, who was trying to manage the crowd Monday in front of his bus at the Portail Leogane, a suburb where buses gather for trips to Haiti's southern peninsula.

Most of those fleeing said they were heading to small farms run by their relatives, pressed on by the specter of starvation because foreign aid has failed to reach much of the population.

"We've got no more food and no more house, so leaving is the only thing to do," said Livena Livel, a 22-year-old street vendor who was traveling to her father's house near the town of Les Cayes four hours south of Port-au-Prince.

Written by <P>By the Associated Press</P>

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