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Lucas Oleniuk : 2010 in review

Lucas Oleniuk - Staff Photographer

Before arriving in Port-au-Prince to cover the earthquake on January 14, 2010 I prepared myself for an unimaginable horror. It was good thing that I did.  After I witnessed the profound scale of damage, death and sadness it became my paramount goal to document the tragedy in a way that could not be ignored.  The world needed to know that, in a state of chaos, these people were fighting for survival and they needed help.  Maybe more importantly, they needed a little bit of hope.  

I'm proud that the Star was around to get that message out to governments, police, doctors and donors here at home.

The story of Haiti remained a difficult one to cover for the rest of the year.  I watched hundreds of thousands of refugees struggle to survive.  I witnessed cholera deliver a below-the-belt punch to a country already on its knees.  And then, as the year ended, I observed a fraudulent election deprive the masses of their democratic rights.

My heart goes out to the country and to those who are still struggling to survive.

The scene at the Petionville golf course in Port-au-Prince on January, 17, 2010.  Days after Haiti's earthquake killed an estimated 230,000 people the golf course became a refugee camp for nearly 50,000 people.

In the days after the quake order was lost to desperation, panic, thirst and hunger.  Nepalese UN troops had to abandon a WFP drop-off in Petionville after a crowd of 10,000 people became unruly.  The WFP hoped to deliver food to 1,266 displaced families in Petionville that day.

A knife wielding man robbed a looter in front of a household goods store on in downtown Port-au-Prince Monday morning while looters filed into a destroyed building in the background.  The boy in the yellow shirt was robbed by with his own knife that was taken from him moments before.

An angry mob beat a suspected looter to the verge of death and then burned him alive in the streets of Port-au-Prince Saturday evening.  Before the lynching the mob dragged the man's body through the streets of Petionville with his hands and ankles tied.

The lifeless body of fifteen-year-old Fabienne Cherisma lies on the roof of a fallen building in LaVille in downtown Port-au-Prince while looters file down towards the street.  The young girl was carrying three ornamental mirrors amongst a group of looters when she was shot in the head at random by Haitian police on the street.

A woman collapsed in grief beside the body of her husband Dominic who perished minutes earlier at the State Hospital in Port-au-Prince.  Dominic perished from a stroke after he unsuccessfully sought medical attention for a number of days following the earthquake.  His wife pleaded with volunteer staff at the hospital to keep him out of the overflowing morgue in fears that he would end up in a mass grave.

In the months that followed the earthquake in Haiti, powerful stories of determination began to surface.
A group of Christian pilgrims climbed Mt. Canaan high above the ressettlement camps of Canaan and Jerusalem to pray before breaking a fast.
Twenty kilometers outside of Port-au-Prince a massive resettlement camp is sprawling across the Haitian countryside into the mountains.  This one large camp is divided in two towns, Canaan and Jerusalem.  After the capital was crippled by the January earthquake thousands of people started to arrive at this mountainside field in search of a life free of fear, disease and hopelessness.

Hundreds of men are hard at work throughout Canaan and Jerusalem building homes, including Louicène, who is helping Jean-Robert-Joseph to construct his home. 

A homesteader from Canaan prayed on Mt. Canaan in the mid-morning.  The land is filled with refugees from Port-au-Prince and area.  Canaan also attracts Christian pilgrims who flock to Mt. Canaan to fast on special days of worship.

A man sat in front of his new homestead in Jerusalem Village on the steppe of Mt. Canaan.

A settler works a plot of arable soil that surrounds his makeshift home in Canaan.

From "Poverty In Toronto.  What the G20 Leaders Won't See".
Lisa Dunsford photographed in the alley south of Queen Street at Bathurst.  Lisa rents a substandard bachelor suite near King and Dufferin.  Dunsford has been living on the street since her apartment became infested with bed bugs three weeks prior.

From "Poverty In Toronto.  What the G20 Leaders Won't See".
1:31 A.M Bathurst and Queen.

From "Poverty In Toronto.  What the G20 Leaders Won't See".
Chris Romsky lives in a shelter near Sherbourne and Queen Street.

From "Poverty In Toronto.  What the G20 Leaders Won't See".
A man slept on the sidewalk at Spadina Avenue near College Street.

On June 26, during the G20 Summit in Toronto a group of anarchists split from a larger demonstration to inflict damage to symbols of capitalism in the streets of Toronto.
The anarchists vandalized a police cruiser on Bay Street before setting it on fire.

Police ran from a violent anarchist group travelling north on Yonge Street Saturday, June 26, 2010

An anarchist attacked the media on Queen Street West.

Toronto security forces, which included police from around the country, responded to the violent anarchist protests of an estimated 150 participants with aggressive arrests and detention of hundreds of people.  Included in the arrests was a group of accredited journalists working for mainstream North American news outlets.  Pictured is the arrest of a G20 accredited Reuters photographer Mark Blinch who was assigned to cover the summit. 

Haitian Ministry of Public Health body collectors, contracted to control the spread of cholera, prepared to pick up a body on the street in Port-au-Prince.  A cholera outbreak in Haiti has killed nearly 2000 people throughout the country.

Haitian Ministry of Public Health body collectors hurled a the body of a cholera victim into a mass grave in Titanyen.  The body was delivered from Cabaret to the grave that lays north of Port-au-Prince. A highly contagious cholera outbreak in Haiti has killed nearly two-thousand people in the country.  Cholera can lead to violent diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and if not treated properly, death.

Haitians lined up en masse at an electoral council office in Port-au-Prince in a last ditch effort to obtain identity cards Saturday afternoon on the eve of the national election.  An identity card is needed in order to vote in the election.  Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are without an identity card and ineligible to vote.

Destructive protests filled the streets of Port-au-Prince Wednesday morning after the release of Hait's election results.  The protests were led be Michel Martelly supporters who watched their candidate finish a close third to Jude Celestin effectively eliminating him from a run-off vote.

A Brazillian UN soldier threw a concussion grenade at a group of Haitian protestors who were throwing rocks at the troops stationed outside of the Haitian elections office in Delmas.  Destructive protests filled the streets of Port-au-Prince all day Wednesday after the release of Hait's election results. 

A Michel Martlelly supporter threw a stone at a poster of Martelly's rival, Jude Celestin.  Destructive protests filled the streets of Port-au-Prince Wednesday morning after the release of Hait's election results.

Demonstrations passed Brazillian UN troops.  Clashes between Martelly supporters and Brazillian UN troops became violent later that same day.

A rock flies over the head of a protester hiding from UN troops behind a garbage can down the street from the Haitian elections office in Delmas. 




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Every photo is of human suffering or misfortune. Surely the world is not that hopeless.

What about the "feel good" photos like the first World Cup in an African country? (South Africa 2010 world cup)

Thanks, I learnt more from these photographs (especially Haiti) than through the mediation of the popular news media.

When I say that I learnt more from these edited photographs, I mean that it is made clear to me what is at stake...

I agree...sure the world can be so dark...but there is some light at the very least. Perhaps a new years resolution for the media should be to focus more on the light and goodness in the world...

The first day of the new year and until I saw these photos I really didn't have any reason to feel depressed.

Fantastic photos from a photographer not afraid to put himself in harm's way. Great work!

Feel good pics are nice but this is reality. My parents had good jobs and really good drinking problems and thru me on the streets @ 13 yrs old. Try and make a life from that. Sorry you don't want to see the homeless I'm sure they wish they didn't have to be there for you to see. It's pretty cold out there and you might get a bed in a shelter but you are kicked out early and get to freeze all day. I ended up in Nellie's which was the only women's shelter around @ that time. The staff let residents steal all my clothes and watched my weight lifter husband beat me drag me out and didn't call the cops. Things haven't improved much or @ all. Want to feel good go for a walk a buy them a coffee.

These pictures were very depressing. Why weren't happier moments captured and shared?

Lucas you are the man. incredible work. you are among the best in the world in my opinion.

The pictures of the homeless are superb and many of your Haiti ones were amongst the best I saw when they were being released (one might have been picked up by the BBC for their album but I can't remember for sure). Excellent shots - although slightly depressing...

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