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August 24, 2010 Weblog:

Gonaives Girds for Heavy Storm Season


By Wadner Pierre

GONAIVES, Aug 2, 2010 (IPS) - Gonaives, the third largest city in Haiti, is rushing to prepare for an expected highly active hurricane season. The city was flooded by three hurricanes in the past six years - Hannah and Ike in 2008, and Jeanne, which killed at least 2,500 people in 2004.

While progress has been made in the recovery from those disasters, Gonaives - which was largely spared by the Jan. 12 earthquake - remains extremely vulnerable to new hurricanes.

Reconstruction of parts of the highway crossing the city was only recently completed. When this reporter visited Gonaives last year, the population was upset with the state of the dusty road, although Estrella, a Dominican construction company, has since fixed large portions of it.
Some locations that were routinely inundated with filthy water have been rebuilt. Last year, it might have taken a pedestrian almost 10 minutes to traverse the intersection in front of the Gonaives National Police headquarters after one hour of rain.

Belmour Myriam, a middle-aged woman, is working on drainage of the Biennac canal, which channels water from east of Gonaives to the ocean. Cleaning the canal has been a five- month project of USAID.

"I live in Baby Street," she told IPS. "Six years after the hurricane, my street is still not cleaned up. We have received no aid or attention from either local authorities or NGOs. We are alone in Baby Street."

"There is little change. We have power almost twenty-four- seven, and Avenue des Dattes is almost done. That's all," she added.

Traffic on the highway is bustling. But smaller neighbourhood streets were destroyed by the flooding. Many remain damaged, unpaved and dirty.

» continue reading "Gonaives Girds for Heavy Storm Season"

July 6, 2009 Weblog:

Gonaives, a Destroyed and Abandoned City


by Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com
All photos by Wadner Pierre

Gonaives is a port city with an estimated population of 200,000. It is the sixth largest city in Haiti and is located approximately 110 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. In 2003, it was one of first places to come under the control of armed rebels who helped oust Haiti's democratic government on February 29, 2004. The coup was actually completed by foreign powers - primarily France, Canada and the US. Months after the coup, in September of 2004, Gonaives was hit by Hurricane Jeanne. Three thousand lives were lost. In 2008, with the damage done by Jeanne still unrepaired, fierce storms (Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna) battered Gonaives yet again. At least 500 were killed, over a hundred thousand made homeless. An astounding 800,000 were victimized by the storms if crop destruction and drinking water contamination are considered.

On my way to Gonaives

It was just after mid day on June 19th, two days prior to another round of senatorial elections boycotted by most Haitians, when my bus left Port-au-Prince with 70 other passengers. Before 2004, it would have taken about 2 hours to reach the city. Now it takes almost 5 hours. The so-called good part of the road is from Port-au-Prince to Montrouis in the northern part of the capital, also the last part of West department. Travelers are usually talkative in Haiti. They often discuss religion or political, economic and social issues. On this trip, they would talk mainly about the destruction visible everywhere in Gonaives. They complained about the state of the road and blamed political leaders in the Artibonite department and at the national level for the lack of reconstruction.

» continue reading "Gonaives, a Destroyed and Abandoned City"

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September 2, 2008 Weblog:

Alert, save people's lives in Gonaives

Dear friends everywhere,

What is happening now in Gonaives is worse than hurricane Jeanne in 2004, Hanna is hitting Gonaives now. I talked to my mother who lives there, she said (I quote) "My son it is hard for your mother and people in Gonaives, we do not know what to do. Nothing, nothing, it is raining, wind".

The situation that she explained is the same for almost people in Gonaives are living this morning. Les Cayes in southern Haiti, Cap-Haitian, It is the worst time for Haiti.

God bless Haiti and save people's lives in Gonaives, my city, Cap-Haitian, Les Cayes and the rest of our entire Planet.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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