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Sean Penn Compares Haiti’s Devastated Capital City To Detroit

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Actor Sean Penn carries belongings of a shelter camp resident as they are prepared to be relocated to a new camp on April 10, 2010 in Petionville, Haiti. (credit: Lee Celano/Getty Images)

Actor Sean Penn carries belongings of a shelter camp resident as they are prepared to be relocated to a new camp on April 10, 2010 in Petionville, Haiti. (credit: Lee Celano/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP/CBS Detroit) — As the three-year mark approaches of the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed, injured and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, actor- activist Sean Penn describes life in the country’s capital city.

In the January issue of Esquire magazine, Penn compares Port-au-Prince to Detroit, saying, “It’s not more dangerous, it’s not less dangerous.” It’s unclear when, and why, he was in Detroit, though he was married in the 1980s to Madonna, who grew up in the nearby suburbs.

Penn founded a relief organization in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He still spends about half his time there.

The two-time Oscar winner says a child with a fever in the U.S. gets medicine, a cold bath, or a trip to the emergency room. In Haiti, he says, parents wait “to see if he’s going to die or not.”

The January issue of Esquire goes on sale Jan. 18.

Penn recently appeared on the CBS show “Person to Person” where he described his first view of Haiti, saying, “When you look down a city block of devastation and you see the pain … and the death, you feel like I can fix this… But when I got up in a helicopter for the first time and I saw the size of it from the air … that’s where I got overwhelmed the first time just seeing how big it was. It wasn’t about fixing it anymore it was about helping as much as you could.”

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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