Mayors appeal for urgent aid in northwest Haiti

By Roger Annis

Port de Paix, Haiti—August 8, 2007
“We are one hour of heavy rainfall away from a humanitarian catastrophe here in Port de Paix,” said one of this city’s deputy mayors, Eluscane Elusme to members of a human rights factfinding delegation organized by the U.S.-based Fondayson Mapou and Haiti Priorities Project. The delegation is spending four days touring northern Haiti.

Elusme and another deputy mayor, Wilter Eugene, gave a wide-ranging interview to the delegation yesterday morning. At times, it was difficult to hear each other over the clamour of the street traffic passing by on the adjacent main street.

The two mayors painted a picture a city of 200,000 living on the edge of human survival. They consider the city uninhabitable in its present condition. There is no running water and electricity service is provided at late night only, for four to six hours. The city lies at sea level; heavy rainfall would flood tens of thousands out of their precarious homes and overwhelm any rescue effort. The consequences of a hurricane strike is unthinkable. There would not be enough transport available to get people out of the way.

Continue reading Mayors appeal for urgent aid in northwest Haiti

A first look at Port au Prince

This morning, prior to leaving the city for the countryside, we went to Haiti’s cathedral to pay our respects at the funderal mass of a respected Catholic father who recently passed away. Father Ednea Devaloin was a colleague of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a proponent of the liberation theology movement in the CAtholic Church. Several thousand people attended the service.

The streets of Port au Prince are a swirl of human activity. The main streets are paved and filled with the “tap tap’ vehicles that serve as public transport for most ordinary people and pedestrians making their way along the narrow sidewalks. Most tap taps are converted pick up trucks, and fares cost 20 cents or so. Secondary streets are unpaved and very rough.

Continue reading A first look at Port au Prince

Day One in Haiti

Port au Prince! We flew in this afternoon from Miami on one of the several daily flights of American Airlines. A full flight, and I’m guessing that many of the Haitian passengers were arriving for summer visits from the U.S. and Canada.

Port au Prince is on the coast and it lies on a plain surrounded by impressive mountains. We got a good view of much of the Haitian coastline as we flew in.

Continue reading Day One in Haiti