Le bilan s’alourdit en Haïti et en République dominicaine


Also accepting checks:

U.N. World Food Programme, www.wfp.org

Catholic Charities Inc., 9401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138.

Latinos United, 3321 NW 17th Ave., Miami, FL 33142. Nonperishable foods, toiletries and other items can also be dropped off at this address. Call 305-637-1106.

Dominican American National Foundation, 2885 NW 36th St., Miami, FL 33132. Accepting funds as well as medicine, water and other items. Call 305-637-8337.

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – The death toll climbed to nearly 900 in Haiti and the Dominican Republic following devastating flash floods, as rescuers frantically dug through mud-soaked homes in the Caribbean searching for survivors of the disaster.

In Haiti the official death toll rose to 571 Thursday, while in the Dominican Republic it stood at 300 with 375 missing. But in Haiti a local health official said up to 1,000 people may have died in one town alone.

The worst hit have been the Dominican town of Jimani and the southeastern region of Haiti near the border dividing the island of Hispaniola shared by the two countries.

In southeastern Haiti, 272 deaths were reported in and around the town of Mapou Belle-Anse and at least 100 in the Grand Gosier area. Another 165 died in the hard-hit town of Fonds Verettes northeast of the capital, where the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) managed to bring in three tonnes of emergency food Wednesday.

The WFP said it was targeting a total of 300 tonnes of food for Fonds Verettes and other hard-hit regions.

World Vision

Dear Friend,

Families in the Dominican Republic and Haiti need your help right away. Please click here to assist World Vision in responding to thousands of children and adults affected by massive flooding.

More than 500 people in the region are confirmed dead, and hundreds are missing, and the numbers continue to rise. In addition, more than 5,000 families have lost homes, possessions, or access to vital services. Your gift to rush Family Survival Kits will supply survivors with critical items like food, water, blankets, and medicine.

World Vision is the lead agency coordinating relief efforts in the area. World Vision staff are relocating children and families and delivering emergency food, water, and medicine.

We are mourning the loss of one of our own staff, who died as a result of a vehicular accident due to torrential rains early this week.

“This is a time of tragedy for many families who are already struggling to survive,” said Kevin Cook, World Vision’s communications manager in Latin America. “Our staff continue to bring relief to these families, while dealing with their own loss and grief.”

If you can, please give a special gift of $100 today to provide a Family Survival Kit for needy families affected by this disaster in the Caribbean, as well as other disasters around the world.

Also, please pray for our staff in the Dominican Republic and Haiti as they strive to meet the needs of children and families while grieving the loss of their own dear friend and colleague.

God bless you,

Richard E. Stearns

To give now, please click here or call 1.888.511.6537.

We continue to receive updates from World Vision staff responding to this crisis and are still assessing the needs in our sponsorship communities. We will be posting crisis updates to our Web site and photo gallery as they are received.

The island is at the eye of a fierce tropical storm that has been lashing the Caribbean for the past 10 days.

Jimani was devastated after the rain-swelled Soleil River burst its banks and swept hundreds of people, many of them women and children, from their homes, as thousands were evacuated.

Jose Luis German, spokesman for the Dominican National Emergency Commission, said 300 were confirmed dead in Jimani, 120 were injured and 375 missing, with the death toll still climbing.

Fonds Verettes, an agricultural town of 45,000 in Haiti built on a dry riverbed northeast of Port-au-Prince, reported 165 dead, along with more than 500 houses destroyed and over 3,000 heavily damaged.

Felix Dotel, a doctor with the local Jimani health department, told AFP up to 1,000 may have died in the town because the local authorities did not have an accurate register of the population.

Haiti’s consul in the Dominican Republic Edwin Paraison said he was coordinating efforts with Dominican authorities to identify Haitian bodies the Soleil River had carried off across the border and deposited near Jimani.

The torrential rain showed no signs of abating Wednesday as rescuers dug through the mud and local authorities buried many of the dead in mass graves. Over 100 unidentified bodies have already been buried in a grave in a forest outside Jimani.

Authorities said nearly 30,000 people had been evacuated from their homes in the Dominican Republic.

The US State Department said the US Agency for International Development had provided 50,000 dollars (41,000 euros) in aid and that the agency’s advisors were conducting on-scene assessments for further aid.

In New York, whose Dominican community numbers some 400,000, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said a team of disaster management specialists would go to the island early Thursday “to conduct an assessment of what is needed in the aftermath of the deadly floods.

“The team… will look at areas of health and human services, infrastructure, sanitation and mass casualty care, and make a recommendation… as to what we can do to help the people of the Dominican Republic and Haiti,” said Bloomberg.

Inhabitants of the two countries meanwhile told miraculous survival tales as the Soleil turned into a torrent in the early hours of Monday.

Bartolina Diaz, 65, said she clung to an iron door on her house that the waters could not drag away.

Dionisio Mendez, 86, who is blind, was swept a kilometer (less than a mile) downstream before he managed to grab a tree.

In Haiti, members of the multi-national force brought in to assure security after deposed president Jean Bertrand Aristide resigned and fled at the end of February were trying to get emergency supplies to the worst-hit areas.

United Nations (newsweb sites) and other aid workers were trying to reach hard-hit areas.

Multi-national force helicopters were ferrying food, water and emergency medical supplies.

In southeastern Haiti, Grand Gosier and Mapou Belle Anse were also hard hit by flooding, with around 100 people killed in each town.



The remains of the neighborhood of La Cuarenta in Jimani, Dominican Republic
FOND VERRETTES, Haiti (AP) — As search crews worked to recover bodies from devastated towns and villages in the two countries that share the island of Hispaniola, U.S.-led troops delivered bread, fruit and bottled water, and international aid employees fanned out to assess the damage.

The death toll was about 950, but the number was expected to jump. In the Haitian town of Mapou, as many as 1,000 people could be dead, said Margarette Martin, the government’s representative for the southeast region in nearby Jacmel. Only about 300 bodies had been counted so far, said Dr. Yvon Lavissiere, the health director for the region.

Martin said officials believed hundreds more may have died because houses were submerged and rescuers saw bodies underwater that they were unable to retrieve.

The town of several thousand people, located 30 miles southeast of the capital of Port-au-Prince, is still isolated by mud and landslides. The town is in a valley that often floods when it rains.

In the Haitian border village of Fond Verrettes, meanwhile, U.S. and Canadian troops handed out food to hundreds of survivors who lined up seeking help.

Troops in the U.S.-led force were sent to stabilize Haiti after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s ouster on February 29. Since then the new interim government has struggled to provide even basic services. Left bankrupt, the government has scant resources to deal with natural disasters.

Rains over the weekend lashed the island of Hispaniola, sweeping away entire villages Monday.

At least 417 bodies had been recovered in the Dominican Republic, and officials said some 400 were missing.

Of more than 450 bodies recovered in Haiti, about 100 were found in the southern town of Grand Gosier, said Civil Protection Director Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste. Fifty more corpses were found elsewhere in Haiti, officials said.

In Fond Verrettes, more than 158 people were missing and presumed dead.

“The river took everything, there isn’t anything left,” said Jermanie Vulsont, a mother who said the rushing water swept away her five children in Fond Verrettes, about 35 miles southeast of Port-au-Prince.

Rushing waters and mudslides swept away most homes in Fond Verrettes, leaving it looking like a barren riverbed with stunned residents wandering about and asking troops for help.

“For a while we didn’t even realize what we were standing on,” said Lance Cpl. Justin Collins, 21, of Avon, Illinois, one of about 20 U.S. Marines who went to help feed villagers. “We were standing on some parts of a neighborhood.”

Other troops surveyed the damage in helicopters, accompanied by U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, a spokesman. U.N. officials also flew in by helicopter to survey the damage, Lapan said.

The floods struck before dawn Monday while people were sleeping. In the Dominican border town of Jimani, Leonardo Novas awoke to the screams of his infant son while water rose in his wooden house. He huddled with his wife and three children, and shouted to his brother next door to stay inside, but it was too late.

The force of the mud took all but one wall of Novas’ house.

“Everything’s gone. My house and five family members,” said Novas, 28, who watched his brother and the brother’s family carried away in a torrent of mud.

Dominican authorities buried more than 250 bodies immediately, some where they were found and others in a mass grave. Authorities told families there was no time to identify many of the bodies because they were badly decomposed and posed health risks if moved.

Jimani, about 100 miles east of the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, is inhabited mostly by Haitian migrants who work as vendors and sugar cane cutters. Dominican officials said some of the Haitians who lost relatives may have been living in the town illegally and were scared to identify bodies.

The death tolls have been high because the border area is largely deforested and many of the poor have built poorly constructed homes out of wood and tin. Hundreds of homes were destroyed on both sides of the border.

The floods were some of the deadliest in the region in recent years. In 1994, Tropical Storm Gordon caused mudslides that buried at least 829 Haitians. As many as 15,000 people are estimated to have died in 1999 flooding and mudslides in Venezuela.

The Dominican government declared Jimani a disaster area, and President Hipolito Mejia said Thursday would be a national day of mourning.

“The damage and human losses have been of such magnitude,” Mejia said in his declaration, adding that sending aid is of “high national interest.”


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, May 26 – The death toll from devastating floods and landslides in Haiti and the Dominican Republic rose to at least 1,950 on Wednesday with the discovery of more than 1,000 bodies in a Haitian town.

The bodies were found in Mapou, a rural southeastern town where communications are poor, said Margareth Martin, the head of the civil protection office for the region.

Rescue workers dug through mud and debris for bodies three days after torrential rains sent rivers of mud and swirling waters through Hispaniola, the Caribbean island shared by Haiti’s 8 million people and the Dominican Republic’s 8.5 million.

Haiti’s death toll stood at 1,660, including 1,000 in Mapou, 500 elsewhere in the southeast, 158 in the riverside town of Fond Verrettes, and 2 in the south, at Port-a-Piment.

The Dominican authorities said they had recovered 300 bodies, mostly from Jimaní, near the Haitian border, where a river overflowed its banks before dawn and swept homes away as people slept.

In Haiti, troops from an American-led peacekeeping force flew in bottled water, fruit and bread by helicopter to Fond Verrettes, where the storm washed out the winding mountain road from Port-au-Prince and cut off ground transportation to the town of 40,000.

The floodwaters flattened fields of crops and ripped apart crude shacks fashioned from sticks and sheets of iron.

The Dominican president, Hipolito Mejia, declared a day of mourning for Thursday.

In the town of Jimaní, bodies were taken from the mud and from Lago Enriquillo, a lake where they had been swept by the raging waters. Survivors said the floodwaters rose to 15 feet. Bodies were found crushed against walls, clinging to tree trunks and buried in the mud.

Dogs trained to sniff out bodies were sent to join the recovery effort. Relief workers wore surgical masks against the stench of decomposing flesh and hauled away the dead on stretchers, while others hacked through the rubble of stick shacks with hatchets searching for bodies.

Many were buried in mass graves. Bulldozers dug holes to bury others where they were found, in ground where buildings stood a few days ago.

Several hundred people were still missing.

Relief workers and supplies of medicines, food, blankets poured into the Jimaní area. Army tents sprang up to shelter dozens of Dominican soldiers helping with relief efforts.

The European Union was preparing a package worth $2.43 million for flood victims, the European Commission said in Brussels. The United States Agency for International Development said it was giving $50,000 to help the relief effort and was sending two disaster experts to evaluate damage. Japan also said it was giving $100,000 in emergency aid.

In New York – with a Dominican population of 400,000 and a Haitian one of 118,800 – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sent a team of three disaster management specialists from the city’s Office of Emergency Management to the Dominican Republic to make recommendations for aid to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.