Haiti Hurricane Recovery Effort at Ti Goave

The news for the Haitian people is not encouraging as there are 3 tropical storms that could affect Haiti in coming days.  Gustav took the lives of 77 Haitians, while Hanna has cost 11 lives since yesterday.  Hanna remains an issue as it has not made it’s northerly track that was supposed to move it out of the area.  Hanna is expected to hit the south east coast of the United States where Politisite is located.  As Hanna moves up the coast, Ike is right behind, and is expected to be in the Haitian area on Friday.  The following storm may hit Haiti as well.  Relief workers and missionaries have their hands full as the homes in Haiti are not very substantial.   I have included an email from two organizations that are working to help the Haitian people.

Damage caused by Hurricane Gustav at Ti Goave

These small homes that are common throughout Haiti were torn apart by
the winds and rain. Pastor Brucely told me that in some cases, houses were
lifted off the ground by the winds as families scrambled to collect their
few possessions before heading to the school building for shelter. They
simply had no time to save anything except their own lives.

Brucely told me last night that the main bridge at Grand Goave had two of
its supports broken from the flood waters. The police are not allowing any
vehicles to cross it until it can be fixed. Also, the road to Miragoane
toward the coast is still flooded. People are having to be ferried in small
boats to get to the other side.

We have begun to give Pastor Brucely funds that we received for the relief
effort. Thank you for giving so graciously. Brucely is helping families with
food, materials to rebuild their homes, and medicine. We will continue to
help as the Lord provides.

If you did not have the opportunity to give, and would like to help the
families at Ti Goave, you can do so at this link

Hurricane Gustav, Hanna pound weary Haiti

September 3, 2008—As if the struggling island’s food woes were not painful enough, poor Haitian families and farmers are being brought to their knees by a series of severe storms.

The high-powered winds of Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna have passed, but the torrential rains and flooding have not ceased.

“The whole country is now affected by severe flooding and heavy rains,” stated Alix Innocent, director of Catholic Relief Services’ emergency unit in Port-au-Prince. “The situation is getting worse throughout the country.”

Heavy flooding drenched the community of Petit Goâve, a coastal town located about 24 miles south of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Photo by CRS staff

Gustav struck last week as a Category 1 storm while families were still recovering from the effects of Tropical Storm Fay, which touched down in Haiti three weeks ago. Gustav dumped between 6 and 12 inches of rain in parts of the island, triggering floods and landslides which ultimately killed 77 people. With only 1 percent of Haiti’s extremely degraded terrain covered by forest, floodwaters raged down the country’s bare mountainsides into tin-shack communities unable to withstand the pressure.

Riding the coattails of Gustav, Tropical Storm Hanna made its way north of the island Monday (Sept. 1), bringing more rain to an already critical situation. All of the country’s 10 departments have now suffered severe flooding. The northern coastal city of Gonaives, capital of Artibonite department, is now completely flooded. The flooding of the city hospital prompted its medical director to call for an evacuation of all patients. In the southern city of Les Cayes, water is at knee level or higher. On the southern coast, the bridge that spans La Rivine du Sud, one of the region’s largest rivers, is in danger of collapsing as water levels rise.

About 6,000 people are in shelters throughout the western and southeast provinces. Approximately 250 houses are destroyed or damaged.

CRS has committed an initial $150,000 in relief efforts and is already providing emergency supplies—hygiene and water purification kits and bottled water—primarily in the country’s southern peninsula. In addition, CRS Haiti plans to provide emergency food rations to over 3,000 families in the departments of Grand Anse, West, Southeast and South departments in coming days.

As new rains pound the country’s northern region, CRS will respond to meet the areas of greatest need. To start, CRS will distribute water purifying tablets and hygiene kits and food rations to hundreds of families in Gonaives, which is still flooded and unreachable.

A People Suffering

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with more than two-thirds of Haitians living on less than a dollar a day. Occupying the western third of the island of Hispaniola, Haiti, which is slightly larger than the state of Maryland, is home to about 8 million people.

Rains can be devastating for Haiti, which has lost 99 percent of its protective forestry, leaving the mountainous terrain bare and the valleys susceptible to flash flooding. The storms drenched already fragile farmland in a country suffering from the high prices of food, most of which is imported. While the amount of crop acreage destroyed is still unclear, this year’s harvest would have provided some relief to suffering families.

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