Tropical Storm Isaac: Victims Fault Government for Not Enough “Concrete Action”

By Yves Pierre-Louis – Haiti Liberte
After the passage of Tropical
Storm Isaac through Haiti from Fri., Aug. 24 to Sat., Aug. 25, 2012, Haitian
authorities gave a preliminary damage report at a press conference on Mon.,
Aug. 27.
to the authorities of the Civil Protection Office (OPC), the two departments
most affected by the storm were the West and the South East, where the balance
sheet amounted to 19 dead, more than 300 houses destroyed, 15,812 displaced,
and hundreds of houses damaged. Agriculture, roads, and electricity networks
were also hit hard. (Reports on Aug. 28 said the death toll had risen to 24.)
also plunged Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, into a total blackout, with
all 32 power grids knocked out. Dukens Raphael, the Deputy Director General of
the state power company Electricity of Haiti (EDH), announced that workmen were
working hard to repair the damaged electrical network, with 11 grids already
back up by Tuesday.
terms of prevention, the central government sent each of nine departmental
delegations two million gourdes (US$47,500), while the delegation of the West
department received five million gourdes (US$118,900), according to Prime
Minister Laurent Lamothe. Nonetheless, there were many cries of help from
various parts of the country after the storm.
for assistance came from La Saline, downtown Port-au-Prince, Kenscoff, Tabarre,
Canapé Vert, and other places. In the giant slum of Cité Soleil, the polluted
grey river running though it overflowed and flooded many houses, while the
roofs of many others were blown away Friday night. The population of Cité
Soleil is desperate.

Delmas 32, the large tent camp of internally displaced people (IDPs) from the
Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, commonly called “Camp Accra,” storm victims
complain that they received no assistance during or after Tropical Storm
Isaac’s passage.
wind came and blew away our tarp,” said one young 32-year-old woman who has
lived in Camp Accra since the earthquake 32 months ago. “We spent the night in
the rain. All of our things got wet. We didn’t sleep. We didn’t see any
authorities. They left us here to die. We live amidst garbage. We don’t have
security; all the time criminals steal our things, or rape us. The cholera that
MINUSTAH [the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti occupation force] brought is
killing people in the camp since it started raining. Someone died here [of
cholera] already last week. The way we see it, we don’t exist in the eyes of
Haitian authorities. We heard that they removed the people in the square of
Pétionville and on [Port-au-Prince’s central square] the Champ de Mars, but for
us victims here in Delmas, we haven’t yet seen anybody come talk to us.”
earthquake victims in the AVIC camp in Canapé Vert behind the old Teleco
building mobilized on Sat., Aug. 25 to make their voices heard. But the police
intervened and arrested nine of them: Feneh 
Daniel, Toussaint Carl, Edouard
Ralph, Donal Monéus, René Hendry, Fritz Monima, Figaro Domingue, Michel-Ange
Saint-Jean, and a man known just as Junior. Their crime? Demonstrating to call
for protection from the Haitian state as Isaac passed through.
the capital’s downtown, on Lalue, Margarette Fortuné heads a camp containing 65
families. She called on the government for help.
called several times nobody answered me,” she said. “I was forced to appeal to
the Secretary of State for Public Security, Reginald Delva, who promised to
follow up. I rate the government 10 out of 10 in their prevention and awareness
campaign, but in terms of concrete action, they get zero. We have already
recorded one death in the camp, a 2-year-old child, because he couldn’t get
Miami Herald reported that there was
some “dispute” and skepticism about how many people the government actually
relocated. “The International Organization for Migration evacuated 1,000 people
before the storms,” the Herald wrote. “On Saturday, Civil Protection announced
that 5,000 were in shelters, and on Sunday the numbers had increased to
14,000.” The OPC “defended the numbers, saying many had sought shelter even
after Isaac’s passing,” the paper said.
to the OPC, Isaac has left thousands of victims of all kinds in its wake, but
the threat of flooding remains.
Haitians brave flooding caused by Tropical Storm Isaac. “We don’t exist
in the eyes of Haitian authorities,” one tent-camp dweller said.
Photo By: Logan Abassi