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Friday, February 23, 2024

Haiti: It can’t get any worse

CSMS Magazine Staff WritersThe latest figures have put the number of storm victims to 875 and, according to Pierre Prinvil, Water Mission International (WMI) Director in Haiti more than 60 people have perished in the town of Cabaret alone, some 15 miles north of Port-au-Prince. While the spotlight has been on Gonaives, for it suffered the most, one cannot lose sight on the scope and the intensity of the devastation.  In the town of Gros Morne, few miles north of Gonaives, Pandi River overflew its banks and poured into town, sweeping everything in its path. Many houses were submerged as water rose to more than 10 feet. Further to the northwest, the town of Bassin Bleu came under a fury of heavy downpours when tropical storm Ike swept through, where sheets of rains have triggered an avalanche. The mud-clogged streets, which have  emerged in the aftermath, pinned the residents down for days; and from Bassin Bleu to Lower Moustiques—a windy coastal plain near the town of Jean Rabel—everything has been wiped out. Coffee fields mixed with mango groves and banana plantations have been smashed and washed away to the sea. Five miles north in the plain, specifically on the west bank of Trois Rivières—the largest river in the Northwest province—densely cultivated fields were uprooted, snarled and ultimately dumped into the river mouth as it empties itself into the ocean. According to Arthur Jean Baptiste, a resident of the town of Port-de-Paix CSMS Magazine spoke by phone this morning, Plain Des Moustiques looks like an overgrazed land. On the east bank of Trois Rivières, all the way to the southern fringe of town, water has refused to recede as of this morning. Residents have been using rafts and makeshift canoes to navigate around.It is a similar story as one moves north, passing towns and villages. This situation will certainly create famine. The food sources will dry out, and historically this part of Haiti is the most vulnerable because of its barren landscape on its far west. More than a million people inhabit the area. The town of Saint Louis Du Nord, 6 miles north of Port-De-Paix, is the scene of a major demographic explosion. Miraculously, Saint Louis did not suffer heavy damages, and storm victims seeking higher ground have swelled the town’s capacity. According to Lucny Frederick, resident of Saint Louis we have contacted by phone, makeshift shelters were built to accommodate new influx of internally displaced people. Cuban doctors are now hard at work, creating new ambulatory clinics. But medical supplies are badly lacking.The picture looks grim. More than half a million people are on the road seeking shelter, hundreds are dead, and government assistance for those areas has yet to show up. The future cannot be bleaker.  Despite millions of dollars that will be poured into the country in the coming days, CSMS Magazine remains pessimistically optimistic that emergency aids will finally make their way to the intended targets. Gruesome pictures coming out of the country, including some that have already been posted on You Tube, give many observers a true glimpse on how the distribution process will take shape.Although we appreciate the help given to Haiti, but we cannot overlook the nonchalance that is clearly being displayed in food distribution centers, as it was the case in one center in Gonaives where an already frightened, hungry and humiliated population e was forced to stand in a thin line buffered by barbwires on both sides. Many of them were pushed by United Nations Security Forces and fell on the wires. They bleed like goats in the slaughterhouse to the indifference of the people in charge.The other problem, major in its nature, is the uncontrolled, un-channeled and the chaotic nature of the distribution process. The Haitian government seems to have no control on Who is Who. Everywhere in the world where calamity of immense proportion strikes, NGOs are present. Usually, the motivation goes farther than just helping victims, and in Haiti, a country plagued by corruption and shameless opportunism, one can be certain that those who prey on disasters’ victims are hard at work to make the maximum profit off the plight of the most deprived population in the Western Hemisphere. Shame on them.Tonight, Haiti is in mourning.  Its children scattered around the world have never felt so compelled before to land a hand. In yesterday’s article, we posted addresses for those who might want to donate. Please, refer to them.Also see:  Haiti lies in ruin after being struck by hurricanes Robert Manuel’s rejection: A second blow to René Préval A vote 51-35 derailed Preval’s effort to install new Prime Minister Rene Prevsl takes officeHaiti: the lies will never endWill Haiti Ever Regain Its Sanity?Will Haiti ever achieve responsible governance?High Noon for René Préval in Haiti

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