Windsor Star

In Haiti, more suffering

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In the past few weeks, Haiti has been hit by four hurricanes resulting in a national catastroph­e. Fay, Gustave, Hanna and Ike.

Every part of the country was hit. Countless people have died, many swept away by floodwater­s — including a seven-member UN peacekeepi­ng squad as they were crossing a bridge that collapsed under them. Scores LETTER OF THE DAY

of peasant dwellings have disappeare­d, huge tracts of fertile crop land are underwater and scores of livestock are gone.

Gonaive, a city of 50,000, lies under two metres of water, a tragic condition the city endured three years ago from hurricane Jeanne.

Port-au-Prince was not spared. Site Soleil was hit hard as was Carrefour, a densely populated area on the outskirts of the city where six died. We

Fr. had driving rain and strong winds. Many tin-roofed shacks were stripped of their coverings.

The streets were empty due to uprooted trees and flying debris. It has been a nightmare but we were spared the devastatio­n of other districts though the storm season is not over.

Cabaret, a coastal town 20 km north of Port-au-Prince, was hit so suddenly by hurricane Ike at 2 a.m. that more than 60 people, mostly children, were killed as they slept.

This same hurricane left another 30 trapped in an orphanage on high ground surrounded by water.

A rescue team of peacekeepe­rs with locals as guides walked two km in knee-deep water that slowly rose to their shoulders as they reached the trapped orphans who they carried on their shoulders to safety. This was a rescue that endeared these soldiers to the people.

One hurdle is food distributi­on among a starving population. Last week, we had food distributi­on here. We had food for 500 while a thousand showed up.

Without the UN peacekeepe­rs to keep order, we would have been swamped, causing injury and even death. Shipments from the internatio­nal community are arriving.

A system of immediate distributi­on to respond to such massive hunger is the order of the day. FR. RENE GIROUX

Haiti Mission Port-au-Prince, Haiti

 ?? Getty Images photo: Thony Bezaire ?? IN STORM’S WAKE: A Haitian man surveys damages in Cabaret, 20 km north of Port-au-Prince. Four major storms, two of them hurricanes, have struck Haiti in less than four weeks. More than 600 Haitians have died.
Getty Images photo: Thony Bezaire IN STORM’S WAKE: A Haitian man surveys damages in Cabaret, 20 km north of Port-au-Prince. Four major storms, two of them hurricanes, have struck Haiti in less than four weeks. More than 600 Haitians have died.
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 ??  ?? Rene Giroux served as a parish priest in city and county churches. He has been helping the poor in Haiti for 16 years.
Rene Giroux served as a parish priest in city and county churches. He has been helping the poor in Haiti for 16 years.

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