How many times have you heard that Haiti was at the crossroads of opportunity and despair? Forget it: no answers need be provided. Far too many people have said it far too many times (including this writer), yet opportunities at these crossroads have come and gone. And Haiti has become worse, not better. Outfitted with… Read More ›
The Haitian state has consistently failed to provide basic minimum standards of safety, including access to food, clean water, safe roads and buildings, along with adequate schooling and health care. One of my Haitian friends says that Haiti is not a failed state, rather it is a “phantom state.” Yet this phantom is fatal.
This is a disaster that calls on all people of good will, Haitian and non-Haitian alike, to help Haiti recover from this nightmare that could not have come at a worse time as the global economy is rocked by the near collapse of the US financial system.
I have been in communications with many friends and colleagues who naturally wanted to spring into action at the news that Haiti had indeed weathered great damage following the battering by tropical storms Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike. As in 2004, Gonaives became a muddy lake that trapped more than 250,000 people in a deathly grip.
The sight of the Haitian port city of Gonaives sitting in a slick of polluted water is only the most visible symbol of the damage done to the Caribbean nation of 9 million by four consecutive storms this summer.
Human poverty is hugely susceptible to nature’s depredations, and Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries, has again and again been the victim of demonically destructive wind, rain and flood.
In flooded Haitian city, `Every home is a shelter’ Posted on Thu, Sep. 11, 2008 Associated Press ARIANA CUBILLOS/AP PHOTO A woman reacts as flood victims line up to received food from UN peacekeepers in Gonaives, Haiti, Thursday » More Photos GONAIVES, Haiti — In a cathedral surrounded by mud and flood waters, the 34-year-old… Read More ›
“If we don’t find a way to deliver massive humanitarian aid, we will see fights and riots that will kill more people than the cyclone did,” warned UN spokeswoman Vicky Delore-Ndjeuga.
The sun came out in Haiti on Monday as waters from Hurricane Ike receded and a U.S. Navy hospital ship equipped with helicopters and amphibious boats was arriving in the capital to deliver food and water to cities still marooned by flooding.
But Haiti — and the world — still lacks a complete picture of the destruction, and desperation was setting in among people who have spent days in the floodwaters and mud.