Monday, May 31, 2004

Hti: Weeping endures for a night

And the night is very long for Haiti. When morning will come, nobody knows. Come it will, though, because God gives us no more than we can bear.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Last year there was drought followed by flash floods at Christmas. This year, an armed revolt left the nation in shambles. Now, as they try to meet growing needs with limited resources, aid agencies confront yet another disaster in Haiti's never-ending cycle of crises.

Deadly rains have left more than 50,000 homeless, helpless and hungry in floods that lashed Haiti and the Dominican Republic and killed at least 1,000 people, aid workers said.

Aid agencies braced for epidemics, particularly in Haiti's southwest corner where workers are trying to free trapped corpses that risk contaminating water sources. The putrid, standing water could cause eruptions of dysentery, hepatitis, giardia and E. Coli. Mosquitos, which carry parasites that cause malaria and dengue fever, already are breeding in the standing water.
The U.N. World Food Program was having to dip into supplies meant for victims of the rebellion that helped force President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power Feb. 29. Rebels blocked roads, preventing food and fuel shipments from reaching tens of thousands of drought victims in northern Haiti.

On Friday, aid workers rushed to deliver rice and beans to flood victims, but torrents that washed out and submerged roads left them dependent on U.S. military helicopters with a small capacity. Deliveries were taking days to complete and could continue for weeks.

Many of the worst affected villages remain under water.
Left bankrupt by Aristide's administration, Haiti's interim leaders are struggling to find money to rebuild and prepare for elections next year while keeping a tentative peace.
Let us keep Haiti in our prayers and contribute to the relief effort.


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