President Donald Trump has sparked global outrage this week after reports circulated that inside an immigration meeting at the White House Thursday, he asked why the U.S. should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti and some places in Africa.
The controversy surrounding Trump’s comments falls on the eighth anniversary of the ravaging earthquake that hit Haiti.
"The Haitian government condemns in the strongest terms these abhorrent and obnoxious remarks which, if proven, reflect a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States," the Haitian government said in a statement.
Trump denied the slur in a tweet Friday, but some staffers at the meeting, such as Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, contend the remarks were stated. Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) and David Perdue (R-GA) said they "do not recall the President saying these comments specifically."
The attention around Haiti comes eight years to the date, Jan. 12, after the earthquake devastated the West Indian countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, killing more than 300,000 Haitians and displacing hundreds of thousands of others.
Haiti was in ruins. An estimated three million people were affected by the earthquake, according to Brittanica.com. More than one million were left homeless.
Hospitals in particular were considered unusable as morgues reached capacity, resulting in horrifying scenes of stacked corpses in the streets The hurricane season and a cholera outbreak brought more death to the country.
AJC photojournalist Elissa Eubanks went to Haiti shortly after the quake along with reporter Péralte C. Paul.
Eubanks recorded video of the experience, in which she shares the plight of children at St. Damien Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The video shows injured Haitians being treated outside, in the lobby and the smell, she said, “was indescribable.”
One woman lifted her dress up to show Eubanks her injuries, which wasn’t uncommon.
“At every hospital we went to, people wanted me to see the injured. They wanted me to see what was happening there,” she said. “Because I could take it back to the outside world.”
Watch her video above.View full experience