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When will Haiti catch a break from disasters?

A woman uses a bucket to remove water from inside her flooded house, after a heavy rain in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, June 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)
Odelyn Joseph
A woman uses a bucket to remove water from inside her flooded house, after a heavy rain in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, June 3, 2023.

If you want to keep up with Haiti these days, the Bible might be a better source than the newspaper, because the country seems to get hit by one plague after another.

Haiti recently saw torrential rains, flooding and landslides that killed more than 50 people and forced tens of thousands from their homes in its southwest peninsula. That same region was also struck by a magnitude 5.5 earthquake that killed at least four people.

On the latest edition of The South Florida Roundup, WLRN’s Tim Padgett spoke with Yvans Morisseau, a community advocacy liaison for Miami-Dade County who chairs the nonprofit Haitian-American Emergency Relief Committee. He hails from the peninsula that has been hardest hit by the disasters.

“We find it necessary to train people to protect themselves, to see how they can mitigate and help themselves,” Morisseau said. “In other words, we say, ‘Let us help Haiti help itself.’”

The most affected zone, Haiti’s southwest peninsula, is also one of the hardest for relief aid to get to, especially since the violent gangs that control so much of the country are out to hijack whatever moves into that area.

“So if you have to bring some assistance, some aid or anything to Haiti, you have to really spend the good time and money to strategize,” Morisseau added.

During a visit to the Bahamas this week, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the U.S. will spend an additional $54 million in Haiti to help it recover from all these natural and criminal calamities.

Morisseau expressed skepticism about the money’s effectiveness, especially if its use doesn’t involve input from Haitians and Haitian Americans themselves.

“In 2010 [for example] we had the earthquake in Haiti,” Morisseau said. “Billions of dollars were dedicated to Haiti, and companies here in Miami-Dade County, I cannot recall or I cannot find any… that had received a project to help or rebuild or do anything in Haiti.”

Harris also repeated the Biden Administration’s call for a multinational force to stabilize the country. Morisseau again expressed skepticism, but agreed that Haiti’s current government is ineffectual at best.

“We don’t have a government but we have people who are governing Haiti,” Morisseau said. “Their governance is not good, is not right.”

During that same show, Padgett also discussed the unprecedented trial of the former school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and soccer superstar Lionel Messi coming to Miami.

To listen to the full episode, click here.

Ammy Sanchez, the Morning Edition producer for WLRN, studies communications at the Honors College at Florida International University.
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