Via his blog in the Peoria Journal Star, Dr. John Carroll reports on “Harmony” at the Haitian Border. Click or tap through for the full post and some of Dr. Carroll's extraordinary photographs. Excerpt:
The thing I noticed most about the refugee camps outside of Anse-a-Pitres (besides the intense heat, horrible filth, lack of running water, lack of toilets and sewage system, and lack of health care) was the lack of nutritious food. I did see white rice and some red beans but that was it. And because of the lack of food in these camps both adults and children are malnourished.
Haiti has had a severe drought again this year which leads to water shortages, poor harvests, fewer jobs in the agricultural sector, and raised food prices. It is estimated that thirty percent of Haiti’s 10 million people are “becoming food insecure”….which is a nice way of saying they are “becoming hungry”.
The population in Anse-a-Pitres is estimated to be 15,000. Even before the camps appeared, the folks in Anse were stressed enough surviving the day…with food being their most important necessity.
Several weeks ago when I was in Anse, the Haitian government announced a ban on 23 Dominican products from crossing the border overland into Haiti. The banned goods included wheat, flour, cement, cooking oil, soap, water, butter, and pastas. This ban could decrease the yearly trade between the two countries by 500 million dollars and could raise their prices in Anse by 40%. (I don’t know for sure, but “special interest” groups in Port-au-Prince may have ordered this ban so they can control the flow of goods from the Dominican to their own networks in Port-au- Prince.)
So imagine you and your six kids live in a cardboard-cloth shack in a refugee camp just outside of Anse. You are choking on dust all day long. You have no money. You have no job. Neither government really wants you in their country. The people of Anse don’t really want you either because they are having a hard time feeding their own families due to the drought and now the import ban from the Dominican. You and your family are in trouble.