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Cabaret, Haiti hit hard by Ike; bodies on every street corner

jcharles@MiamiHerald.com:
Cabaret, Haiti hit hard by Ike; bodies on every street corner

Posted on Sun, Sep. 07, 2008

woman in Cabaret weeps

PATRICK FARRELL / MIAMI HERALD

A woman weeps as the lifeless bodies of twelve children that died in flooding caused by Hurricane Ike are loaded onto a truck and carried away to the morgue.

CABARET, HAITI —

In this tiny Haitian town flooded by Hurricane Ike, the grim reality set in Sunday morning as the bodies of a dozen children lay dead on a concrete slab.

Mothers wailed, fathers screamed, an entire town was shaken as they tried to count the dead – many of them children and old women swept up by the river. So far, 22 are believed to have died, but the number would likely rise.

A Miami Herald reporter, the only international journalist in the town north of Port-au-Prince, witnessed the horror.

”With the others we lost houses, we lost animals and we lost plantations. Never bodies,” said Lisemene Ferry Raphael, 46, standing across from her dead 12-year-old god daughter.

There are bodies on almost every other corner inside the town, where two rivers and the torrential rain of Ike swallowed houses and plantations, and swept children and old women downstream.

Cabaret sits along Route 1 on the road to the city of Gonaives.

The heavy rains moved into the region at 2 a.m.

Within 20 minutes, water came barreling through the door of Franzt Samedi’s home, where his 5-year-old adopted daughter, Tamesha Jean, lay asleep.

A 60-year-old cousin yanked the girl from her bed and tried running toward higher ground.

But he fell, and lost his hold of the girl, the fierce water pulling her away.

Samedi spent hours walking through the town, searching for his missing daughter.

He looked at the bank of the river, under fallen trees, everywhere.

But she was nowhere to be found.

Then, a neighbor spotted her — laying dead on a concrete slab near a motorcycle shop.

”I’m the one who she calls Papa. I’m the one who is responsible for her. If she were with me she would not have died,” Samedi said.

Distraught, Samedi kneeled at his daughter’s side.

He pulled off Tamesha’s shirt and, with a bucket of Culligan drinking water and a sponge, he began wiping her lifeless body.

Then, as she was taken away in the back of a truck, he hollered, “I would have rather died.”

Cabaret, Haiti hit hard by Ike; bodies on every street corner – 09/07/2008 – MiamiHerald.com

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4 Responses

  1. Allow me to point out that the monicker, “Haiti, pearl of the Antilles,” was given during colonial times when slavery reigned supreme and the colony of Saint-Domingue was like the gift that kept giving to the French  monarchy,  and the planters. Thanks to the plunder of the land, slave labor and a rigid cast system,  the colony provided riches to France that underwrote other conquests elsewhere. For the slaves, either creole of transplanted from African shores, the colony was not the pearl of the antilles. In fact it was the worst nightmare on earth if historians are correct in their description of colonial slavery.
    The first thing that today’s Haitians need to shed is this idea that Haiti was the pearl of the Antilles. Secondly, we may all deplore the waste and the corruption that characterizes governance in Haiti since time immemorial. But we would surely be heading in the wrong direction were we to look at it as an aberration, which the reference to pedophiles in Guiton’s comments seem to indicate. To be sure, pedophiles should not be  in a position to prey on the most vulnerable amongst Haitian citizens.

  2. Unfortunately, we dwell in the belief that developing or developed countries are responsible to aid or support this country that once was the pearl of the caribbean.  Recall mediocre Haitian leaders waste and abuse their own resources-how could it be exactly 78 days after the Haitian President Rene Preval declared that his taxation program works so well that his government is seeing a surplus in national revenue-but as soon as this deluge occured his first statement was, “we are waiting for the international community to come to aid”.  Does it ring the bell? one year before the flood, a group of young Haitians who were born in the city went to work and prevent this flood, but the local gov was not interested because it was a direct support; therefore, there would be no room for corruption.  when leaders are incapable, marginal or sometimes null-in addition to relying on other countries, the result is similar tragedy where only the mass will suffer.  Leaders in this country run to be elected as a way to survive hoping to get a U.S Visa- or corruption in public resources.  Haitian leaders need to be ethical and serve the purpose by their position- these out of touch pedophiles who utilize their positions and money to prostitute the youth-and drive luxury cars in the mud-and rely on the thoughts that the world is round like and orange are the sole responsible for the ordeal.  The international community should refrain its aid to Haiti til trusted and transparant government is proven.  As long as Haitians continue to have dull leaders like currently- so will their misery increase.  This country once could sustain itself- Haiti beautiful before the flux of actual illogical leaders accidentally came to govern this country to its wrost. ” Your state independently flourishes through nationalism acts with available resources contrary to what politics wish for; its is about those who can or cannot  receive”

  3. it is such a shame that this poor country which has suffered so many setback and now this. I feel like Haiti has been ignored by so many countries and they need a voice. If it was any other countries, it would be all over the news and donations would be asked all over the TV stations but again it’s haiti so they are on their own.
    it’s a shame they are great people who with poor government, poor economy. We need to appeal to all people including the haitians

  4. i was recently in Haiti, no country deserves such tragedy or maybe it’s mercy allowing the most oppressed to be washed away allowing the human family to come together to aide our extended community — hopefully this tragedy will bring forth a long term strategy to bring haiti out of degradation

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