Friday, November 2, 2007

Some Noel

The ability of both of the nations of this island to recover from the damage done by the recent tropical storm is exacerbated by the fact that in both countries, substantial portions of the population live below the global poverty line (generally accepted at $2 a day)-in the Dominican Republic, 30% - in Haiti, 80%.

I stand corrected about the reports from Haiti. I was forwarded a detailed report.

The government of Haiti released a detailed report of the damages from Noel as of yesterday at 11 AM:
40 dead,
14 missing,
71 wounded,
224 disaster victims,
11139 in shelters
883 homes destroyed
3002 houses damaged

On this side of the border, the reports are that
73 dead
43 disappeared

The roads from the Capital city of Santo Domingo both to the north, Santiago, and the South, Barahona and Pedernales are cut off as bridges are down from the flooding. It is estimated that this storm has done the most economic damage ever sustained in the Dominican Republic.

The President has asked for God's help in overcoming the damages.

The government has started to distribute food to stricken families. This aid will continue along with the distribution of mattresses, sheets, and mosquito nets primarily to the provinces of Azua, Barahona, Bahorucao, Peravia and San Jose de Ocoa.

Catholic and Evangelical Churches and many non profits, have opened up centers to receive donations as has the Embassy of Venezuela.

The German NGO, Farm Action, has donated 50,000 Euros specifically for the workers, both Haitian and Dominicans in Monte Plata and San Cristobal.

Japan has sent donations of $112,000.

The United States dispatched three Navy helicopters to the North Coast, at Puerta Plata to aid in relief efforts.

The transit workers union, the strongest in the nation often at odds with the government, has said that its 100,000 workers are at the disposition of the population and will serve the people of the affected areas, in many cases for no charge.

Reports are that while the plantain crop in Barahona has been destroyed, other production areas in the Cibao and Moca have suffered only minimal damage. The country has sufficient potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yucca so that there will not be a food shortage. However, both the tomato and onion harvest have been affected. The Minister of Agriculture warned speculators that the government will be watching for any possible abuses by speculators during this time of crisis.

Since Haiti has the least capacity to deal with this crisis, I am collecting donations for Anse-A -Pitres from the PayPal button on the right. Anse A Pitres is in the area hardest hit by the storm and is almost inaccessible from the Haitian side of the border - 7 or 8 hours over a road best navigated with a tank, or 12 hours in an over-crowded ferry from Jacmel.

I will wait until communication is re-established with that area and then ask my friends at PLAN international who work in Pedernales, what would be most efficient and how best to distribute it.

Mesi d'avant.

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