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Mission: Haiti

In the News

Death toll from storms reportedly near 800

(Saturday, Oct. 4) The death toll from a string of hurricanes and tropical storms in Haiti has risen to nearly 800 people, an official with the Haitian Red Cross told the media. The official said the death toll could climb higher because many people were still missing.


Haiti struck again by tropical storm; more deaths and destruction

(Wednesday, Sept. 3) Haitian families scrambled onto rooftops and screamed for help Tuesday in a city flooded by Tropical Storm Hanna, as U.N. peacekeepers and rescue convoys tried in vain to reach them. Haitians clutched mattresses, chairs and other belongings as they slogged through waist-high floodwaters. The known death toll in northern Haiti was 13.

Hanna's maximum sustained winds slipped to 65 mph (100 kph) as the storm struck the north and west coasts of Haiti.

Heavy rain from the storm's outer bands fell relentlessly in Haiti, a country still recovering from drenchings by Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Fay in the past two weeks. In all, floods and mudslides from the three storms have killed more than 100 people, as Haiti's deforested hills melted away in the torrential rains.


Hurricane blamed for at least 22 deaths

(Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008) Tropical Storm Gustav was pulling away from Hispaniola on Wednesday, leaving at least 22 dead in its wake in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, officials said. Gustav was a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday.

The storm killed 14 people in Haiti, said Pierre Louis Pinchinat, deputy director of Haiti's Civil Protection Directorate. Authorities said eight more were killed in a mudslide triggered by heavy rain in a Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic neighborhood.

Pinchinat said many areas of Haiti are cut off from aid workers because roads and bridges are washed out. At least 300 people are in a shelter in one region, he said, and others are in shelters across the country.

"It has been raining, and it continues to rain," said Michaele Gedeon, president of the Haitian Red Cross. "We have a saturation that is causing floods in several parts of the country. She said 180 people were in a shelter set up in a mayor's office in southeast Haiti. The storm has destroyed the roofs of more than 100 homes, Gedeon said.

These numbers often are far below the actual number of damaged buildings. In Haiti, storms wreak havoc on areas from which the media never hears reports.

Gustav was expected to produce rainfall of 6 to 12 inches over Haiti and the Dominican Republic.


Hurricane Gustav slams into Haiti

(Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008) Hurricane Gustav dumped torrential rains across southern Haiti on Tuesday, killing at least one man and threatening crops amid protests over high food prices.

 

Trees toppled as the storm lingered for hours over Haiti’s poor, deforested southern peninsula, and water levels were rising in banana, bean and vegetable fields. One man was killed in a landslide in the mountain town of Benet, civil protection director Marie Alta JeanBaptiste told Radio Metropole.

 

“If the rain continues, we’ll be flooded,” U.N. food consultant Jean Gardy said from the southeastern town of Marigot.

 

Hundreds of people in coastal Les Cayes ignored government warnings to seek shelter, instead throwing rocks to protest the high cost of living in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. Witnesses said U.N. peacekeepers used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

 

Haiti is a tinderbox because of soaring food prices, which in April led to deadly protests and the ouster of the nation’s prime minister. It was difficult to ascertain the extent of the damage to the nation’s crops on Tuesday because of Haiti’s poor infrastructure and faulty communications.

 

Gustav roared ashore Tuesday afternoon near the city of Jacmel with top sustained winds near 90 mph. Heavy rains pelted the area as winds bent palm trees and kicked up surf along waterfronts of dilapidated wooden buildings.

 

Forty miles (65 kms) to the north, residents in the capital wrapped themselves in plastic sheeting against the rain and wind as they ran home in advance of the storm. Businesses closed early, and stranded travelers mobbed the American Airlines counter at the airport

after the airline canceled all flights.

 

“I knew it was coming, but I was hoping to be out before it came,” said Jody Stoltzfus, a 27-year-old missionary who had planned a visit home to Lancaster, Pa.

 

More than 4,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the Dominican Republic, where the streets of Santo Domingo were flooded.

 


Gasoline prices soar in Haiti

(Friday, June 27, 2008) Cuts in Haitian gasoline subsidies pushed the price of fuel to $6.14 a gallon on Thursday, further burdening an impoverished people, as the government redirected money to other programs.

An 80-cents-per-gallon increase was felt immediately in the struggling country where 80 percent of people live on less than $2 a day.

Gasoline subsidies were implemented by President Rene Preval to prevent instability after April riots over the high cost of food that left at least seven dead and resulted in the dismissal of the country's prime minister, who has not yet been replaced.

But the cash-strapped government could not maintain assistance that totaled an estimated $15 million over three months while also providing agricultural assistance and other programs meant to combat the country's ongoing food crisis, Haitian economist Kesner Pharel told The Associated Press.

Preval could “pay some political price” for allowing the increases, Pharel was quoted as saying.

Port-au-Prince's public taxis, or “tap-taps,” raised fares 31 cents per ride to cope with fuel costs, prompting arguments with passengers. A tap-tap owner said passengers “don't want to pay. We have to fight with them” to collect a fare to ride in a metal frame built onto the back of a rickety pickup truck.

The higher prices are also increasing expenses for international organizations, as they patrol the country's streets in armored vehicles and transport food aid to remote rural communities. There are 9,000 U.N. peacekeeping soldiers in Haiti, where they have been serving since 2004.


UNICEF report: Kids' lives are nightmares in unstable nations

(Saturday, June 21, 2008) More than 50 children have been abducted in Haiti since the beginning of the year, adding to a trend of kidnappings in countries affected by violence, according to a United Nations Children's Fund report.

In countries torn by war, like the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Haiti, food shortages and poverty have added to the already hellish conditions children live in. The youngest in unstable countries have become primary targets for armed groups who see them as commodities, the agency said.

In Haiti, UNICEF and local officials report that kidnapped children are being raped, tortured and murdered in Haiti, according to a news story released by CNN.com. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti has been working with the national police force to try to halt such crimes. They suspect that criminal gangs are responsible.

The agency reports that as many as 2,000 children a year are trafficked to the Dominican Republic, often with their parents' support. And about 1,000 children are working as spies, messengers or soldiers for armed gangs in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

Earlier in the month, a demonstration was held in Haiti's capital after a 16-year-old hostage was murdered and other hostages had been raped and lynched, including infants, UNICEF said.

The agency urged officials to take action.

“There is no acceptable motive or rationale for these crimes, as there is no acceptable excuse that they should be allowed to continue with flagrant impunity,” UNICEF's Haiti representative, Annamaria Laurini, said in a statement.

“His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” — Malachi 4:6


First Lady Bush visits Haiti

(Thursday, March 13, 2008) U.S. first lady Laura Bush came to Haiti on Thursday to promote increased funding for AIDS patients and support education in the impoverished nation, The Associated Press reported.

Bush met with three young HIV-positive adults during her morning visit to GHESKIO, an AIDS clinic in a rundown section of Port-au-Prince, where she called on American legislators to increase funding to the U.S. Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

One of the patients, 20-year-old Mariana Pierre, read a poem for Bush: “Who will fight the most contagious weapon of ignorance? Who will change the darkness we live in into light?” Pierre asked.

Bush also met with a group of HIV-positive women who had received business loans through GHESKIO, Haiti's largest treatment center for sexually transmitted diseases. The acronym in French stands for the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections.

Bush stopped later at a center where educators are working to reduce a 50 percent illiteracy rate.

It was the first time since Hillary Clinton arrived in 1998 that a first lady has visited Haiti.


 

Noel aftermath

Flooding in Haiti after Tropical Storm Noel passed. (The Associated Press)

Tropical storm leaves death, flooding in its wake on Hispaniola

(Posted Sunday, Oct. 28; updated Saturday, Nov. 3) Tropical Storm Noel dumped heavy rains on Haiti and the Dominican Republic flooded roads and homes as the storm moved westward across the Caribbean Sea on Monday.

Flooding and mudslides from Noel, the 14th named storm of the 2007 Atlantic season, left at more than 100 people dead in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Miguel Rubén Guante, Climbing For Christ's missionary to Haiti, said on Wednesday from the Dominican border town of Jimani that it rained for five days across southern Hispaniola.

The storm killed 66 people and 27 were missing in the Dominican Republic, according to Gen. Ramón Rodríguez, the spokesman for the country’s National Emergency Commission. Some 52 towns and villages were still cut off five days after the storm passed. In all, more than 62,000 people have been displaced and more than 21,000 of them were in shelters.

The heavy rain caused an estimated $30 million in damages to Dominican rice, plantain and cacao plantations, according to the country’s economic secretary, Juan Temístocles Montás.

At least 40 people were reported to have died in Haiti, where the majority of bodies were found in and around the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The storm had been expected to hit Haiti directly but veered toward the Dominican Republic, apparently catching residents there off guard. Thirty people were killed in the Dominican Republic, according to the nation's Center for Emergency Operations, which also reported that 25,000 people fled their homes.

The hurricane center in Miami had called Noel, which formed Sunday, “a major flood threat.” The storm was forecast to dump 8 to 12 inches of rain on the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica, with totals as high as 20 inches in some areas.

“These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” forecasters said.

Maria Pereyra, a college student in Santo Domingo, told CNN that the rain and wind intensity caught people there by surprise. She said flooding in “the very poor neighborhoods” has forced many residents to leave their homes.

Juliana Pierossi, a spokeswoman for the aid agency World Vision International, said 11 communities in southern Dominican Republic were inundated with rain. Floods have forced hundreds from their homes, drenched fields full of crops and cluttered the roads of the capital, Santo Domingo, with debris and stalled cars, she said.

“World Vision has started to distribute food and water for people who are in shelters, but we're worried about long-term effects,” she said.

Santo Domingo resident Alex Reyes told CNN: “In the countryside here, all the rain can cause mudslides and a lot of problems.”

Haiti posted tropical storm warnings along its entire coastline Sunday, including the southeastern part of the country where Gentilhomme is located. Climbing For Christ has been ministering in the mountain village of Gentilhomme since 2005.

In 2004, heavy rains that accompanied Tropical Storm Jeanne triggered massive mudslides in northern Haiti that left more than 3,000 dead and 200,000 homeless.

 

Tropical Storm Noel

Tropical Storm Noel's projected path on Oct. 28 crosses Haiti, located in the center on the lower part of the graphic. (NOAA)


U.N. extends Haiti peacekeeping mission

(Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2007) — The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to extend the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti for a year, noting significant improvements in security in recent months but saying the situation remains fragile.

Haitian President Rene Preval's election in 2006 ushered in relative calm, but violence then flared again.

The U.N. force of more than 7,000 troops and 2,000 international police replaced a U.S.-led force deployed after an uprising toppled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004. More than 400 people died in clashes involving pro- and anti-Aristide street gangs, police, peacekeepers and ex-soldiers who helped oust Aristide.

Haiti experienced relative calm after President Rene Preval's election in February 2006, but violence flared several months later. A U.N. crackdown on gangs launched last year has led to a sharp reduction in shootings, but many people still live in squalor and are in desperate need of jobs, hospitals and schools.

... many people still live in squalor and are in desperate need of jobs, hospitals and schools.

In Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, some political leaders and residents of the country's largest slum seemed to welcome the extension, saying a crackdown earlier this year has made life easier in a neighborhood previously run by gangs.

“Last year we couldn't have sat here playing dominoes” because it was so dangerous, construction worker Jean-Baptiste Venel, 27, said in the seaside slum of Cite Soleil. “If the U.N. is here for another year, it's a good thing for the country and Cite Soleil,” he told The Associated Press.

Residents said that Cite Soleil — where people live in rows of bullet-scarred hovels with no electricity or running water — is safer than it has been since Aristide's departure.

Senate President Joseph Lambert praised Monday's U.N. resolution but said Haiti must restore its national sovereignty after years of security provided by U.N. troops.

In its resolution, the Security Council acknowledged significant improvements in the country's security situation in recent months, but noted it remains "fragile," in part because of continuing drugs and arms trafficking.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the council following his visit to Haiti in August that despite "marginal improvements," the Haitian police force "remains unable to undertake crucial security tasks" without help.

The force's mandate covers mainly Haiti's security needs, but Preval's government has been pressuring the United Nations to funnel more resources into development projects.

The resolution urged the U.N. country team and all humanitarian and development organizations in Haiti to complement security operations by undertaking activities to improve living conditions in the country.


 

Hurricane Dean

Hurricane Dean, passing to the south of Haiti, on Sunday morning.
(The Weather Channel)

Hurricane Dean dumps on Haiti

(Aug. 19, 2007; updated 3 p.m. ET) — Hurricane Dean brushed the southern coasts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic with high winds early Sunday as it roared through the western Caribbean.

The Category 4 storm, described by forecasters as “extremely dangerous,” had maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. It was forecast to reach Category 5 intensity — with winds in excess of 155 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended 60 miles from the center and tropical-force winds extended up to 205 miles.

Media reports suggested that Haiti was spared the brunt of Dean's force, with no major flooding or mudslides. But at least two people were killed and 10 were injured, officials said. Six homes were destroyed and 200 damaged by winds as the storm's eye stayed well south of Hispaniola — the island that includes Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Climbing For Christ's missionary to Haiti, Miguel Rubén Guante, said there was heavy rain in Chaine de la Selle mountain range, where Gentilhomme is located.

U.N. officials in Port-au-Prince had urged residents to seek shelter in churches and other sturdy buildings before dark on Saturday, emphasizing that once winds increased, it would be too late to move around. Flights in and out of the city were canceled Saturday, meaning no one else was getting on or off the island.

North of Port-au-Prince to the northern Haiti-Dominican Republic border remained under a tropical storm warning, which means tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 hours. Heavy rains could trigger flash floods. Haiti is prone to flooding because of mass deforestation.

There were almost no signs that anyone had prepared for the oncoming storm in Port-au-Prince. Because of the nation's poverty — more than half of the population lives on less than one dollar a day — most households can't afford wood to board windows, extra food and supplies, and other precautions.

Many Haitians remember Tropical Storm Jeanne, which devastated the island in 2004, leaving more than 1,500 people dead, up to 1,000 missing and some 300,000 homeless. Disaster officials were hoping that scenario will not be repeated.

At 11 p.m. ET Saturday, Hurricane Dean was in open water south 170 miles (270 kilometers) south-southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The storm's maximum sustained winds were near 145 mph with higher gusts, putting it at Category 4 intensity. It was moving west at about 17 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended 60 miles (97 kilometers) from the center of the storm, the hurricane center said.

Dean was forecast to reach Category 5 strength — the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity — with winds of at least 151 mph, according to the hurricane center. “On this track the core of the hurricane will be moving south of the Dominican Republic later today and south of Haiti tonight,” the center reported at 8 a.m. Saturday.

At 8 a.m. Saturday, the center of Dean — which crossed through the Leeward Islands late Thursday and early Friday as a Category 2 storm — was 615 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and 250 miles south-southeast of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, moving west at about 17 mph, according to the hurricane center.

The storm was forecast to strengthen as it moved across open waters south of Puerto Rico and the island of Hispaniola, which comprises the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

At 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Dean was in open water 210 miles south-southeast of Santo Domingo, the hurricane center said.


 

CLICK HERE to go to Page 2 of News on Haiti.

Politics

A slave revolt against the French in 1804 created the world's first black republic. However, Haiti has a troubled history of bloodshed and dictatorships. The Duvaliers — the infamously evil Papa Doc from 1957 to 1971 and his son Baby Doc from 1971 to 1986— ruled by virtue of terror. Attempts at democratic elections have for the most part failed since then with Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a Catholic priest, voted president four times. The most recent was an alleged vote-rigged 2000 election.

Prayer

Haiti needs to be lifted from its bondage to voodooism. Voodoo was used in a successful rebellion against the French, gaining a cultural foothold with the Haitian people.

The country also is in need of godly leaders. Population, crime, poverty, and turmoil have grown steadily over the past 50 years.

Many Evangelical Christians are working in Haiti. Ask that those missionaries would be protected from evil and empowered by the Spirit to bring about change in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

 

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