Disasters & Accidents

Haiti aid distribution hindered by earthquake damage to roads

By Maria Montecelos

Gorjette, Haiti, Aug 23 (EFE).- The damage last week’s magnitude-7.2 earthquake caused to southern Haiti’s infrastructure hinders the distribution of humanitarian aid to the most remote populations, some of which remain unassisted.

In Gorjette, which can only be accessed by a stony path, residents have set up a camp next to a school to accommodate people who have been left with nothing after the earthquake, which killed at least 2,200 people and injured another 12,268.

“We have not received anything. No authority comes to help us. We do not have water, food or housing,” Antoine Marc-Arthur told Efe.

There are more than 200 people “living in a critical state,” not knowing “for how long or what they are going to eat,” said the man, who asked humanitarian organizations for help.

Unaware of these concerns, the youngest children run among the colorful fabrics of the tents, while others play dominoes, penalizing the loser by making him carry a brick.

The need is great for these people and those of other remote and inaccessible places that do not have guaranteed humanitarian aid, which has already begun to be distributed in the southwestern region. There, the authorities estimate that 40 percent of the population – close to 684,400 people – require urgent help.

Assessing the terrain on Monday, the director of Action Against Hunger in Haiti, Roseval Supreme, was shocked by the conditions of the highway that connects the north and south of the peninsula, where they have to travel to meet the needs of the population.

Driving from Les Cayes to Jérémie, the two main cities in the region, “is basically impossible. The road has collapsed in many places and is blocked in others,” he said.

“It is a huge logistical problem,” he added, and the repair work must go through the Haitian authorities, which will take time, so Supreme was not optimistic about the possibility of responding promptly to the people who live in remote or hard-to-reach areas.

The lack of alternative roads makes it necessary to pass through some difficult and dangerous sections, especially from the town of Marceline in the direction of Jérémie, where the gaps in the asphalt are considerable.

At that spot, machines are working on the demolition of the ruins of homes, whose inhabitants now live in homemade tents or improvised huts made with sheet metal found in the rubble.

Continuing down the road is a challenge and even dangerous for drivers, since it is very cracked and runs along the side of a mountain that has suffered major landslides, with the danger of more due to aftershocks that continue to shake the region. EFE


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