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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Another painful moment for Haiti

CSMS Magazine Staff writers

 How much more can the Haitian people endure? Just when we thought the people of Hispaniola were safe from this year hurricane season, tropical storm Noel came quickly to remind us that it was wishful thinking. Alt least 18 people died in Haiti, including two women washed away by the fury of a river in the town of Gantier, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of Haiti’s civil protection agency. According to AP, Red Cross volunteers said a 3-year-old boy drowned as his family tried to rescue him from a raging river in the vicinity of Duvivier.             According to Radio Metropole, one the country’s main radio stations, in Port-au-Prince, thousands struggled trough waist-high water that turned streets into brown rivers, carrying their last remaining possessions as they fled drenched shacks and makeshift homes. “Refugees were brought by the truckload to the dense seaside slum of Cite Soleil, where they were packed into two schools and given food by volunteers.”             Eyewitnesses said about 2,000 people were rescued from their homes in the southern coastal city of Jacmel, where at least 150 residents were stranded on rooftops.The storm’s outer bands slammed the island on Tuesday evening, pounded both the Dominican Republic and Haiti with heavy rain that swelled virtually all rivers and streams, forcing them to overflow their banks, flooding streets, collapsing buildings and wiping out everything on their paths. A resident from the town of Leogane, 10 miles outside Port-au-Prince, said that he thought, at one point, the denuded hillsides were crushing down on him.              According to AP, which quoted Dominican emergency services spokesman Luis Luna Paulino, in the Dominican Republic, almost 12,000 people were driven from their homes and nearly 3,000 homes were destroyed, while collapsed bridges and swollen rivers have isolated 36 towns.            “The rains continue to fall and we fear for several families,” said Sergio Vargas, a merengue star and Dominican congressman who represents Villa Altagracia, a small town north of the capital, Santo Domingo. Late Tuesday, Dominican officials raised the death toll to at least 30.            While the Dominican authorities have already lunched a major campaign to bring relief supplies to storm victims, in Haiti, it reminds uncertain about what tangible actions the government is going to take. Don’t raise your hope. As always in the past, impotent State officials will wait for the UN, the Red Cross and other international institutions to once again come to the rescue. Shame on them!Also seeRene Preval to meet George Bush at the White House

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