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Haiti disaster killed woman's cousin,6

PUBLISHED: 17:19 20 January 2010 | UPDATED: 10:03 12 August 2010

GRIEVING: Shelane Chapman's cousin was killed

GRIEVING: Shelane Chapman's cousin was killed

A WOMAN S six-year-old cousin has been crushed to death in the Haiti earthquake. Shelane Chapman, 36, from Bromley, is mourning her young relative Mandy who died as the deadly quake crashed her home to the ground on January 12. The death toll is expe

A WOMAN'S six-year-old cousin has been crushed to death in the Haiti earthquake.

Shelane Chapman, 36, from Bromley, is mourning her young relative Mandy who died as the deadly quake crashed her home to the ground on January 12.

The death toll is expected to reach 200,000 while thousands more have been left homeless and forced to scrabble around in rubble searching for loved ones.

Mrs Chapman, who is seven months pregnant, has been trying to find ways of getting help to her desperate family, including her elderly mother who is in bad health.

They have been forced to borrow from neighbours as they are too scared to get aid from the main square in Port-au-Prince because of the threat from violent looters. But the neighbourly charity will only last so long as food and toiletry supplies run low and without some drastic action Mrs Chapman fears for her family's wellbeing.

The mother of two said: "During the day everyone is in the streets but my mother is too frightened to go to the main square where there is lots of fighting. At night they find a little corner in the neighbour's garden to sleep.

"They can't be eating very much. The neighbour's are sharing but there isn't much food and the water is running low."

Voluntary worker Mrs Chapman had to wait a painstaking three days before she heard any news about her family last Fridayfrom a cousin in America. She was hoping to telephone them on Tuesday evening.

A friend of hers from Paris was due to travel to Port-au-Prince yesterday (Wednesday) to give a first-aid kit, food supplies and money to the family which Mrs Chapman had shipped to France on Tuesday.

Her mother's home has been completely destroyed and there is no such thing as insurance in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

Mrs Chapman added: "Everything takes so long there. It will take month before things start to get rebuilt. There will be fighting over building materials as people try to rebuild their homes."

Meanwhile military troops from the international community have been drafted in to try and keep the situation under control as looting and violence escalates.

Plans are being developed to move people into more provincial parts of the island to spread the burden of the relief effort.

Guinean United Nations officer, Gabriel Diallo, described the worsening situation. He said: ''The population was throwing stones at us to stop us from preventing the looting.

''They said we can't stop them from looting the food because they are hungry.'' The looters then burned down the shop."

kate.nelson@archant.co.uk

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