HAITI 2008 Storms – Gonaive flood damage

3 weeks after the hurricanes many areas are still flodded

The disaster has deepened the already profound isolation of this backward part of Haiti, making it a priority to direct the immediate reconstruction effort towards establishing all vital links of the area to the outside world

The floods have often brought along rivers of stones, covering roads and houses and cutting off vital access between villages

Flashfloods have severly impacted all shelters, forcing whole villages to the higher grounds and causing wide-spread suffering to people already brought to the edge by rising food prices and economic instability

The area's salt basins, once the major source of revenue for these impoverished villages, have now been completely destroyed. With the loss of revenue the villagers are facing an uncertain future of survival versus all odds

The floods have washed away all gardens, leading to massive food shortage about to hit the entire population living north of Gonaives

Food begins to trickle in, however it depends on very slowly boat transport...

Every grain counts

Food begins to trickle in, however the tremendous need is exasperated by a growing food scarcity, disrupted roads, and chaotic social situation

AMURT was one of the first disaster relief teams on the field, distributing 14 MTs of food in the hardest hit neighborhood, and setting up a Rapid Response Center to evaluate the situation

The future of Gonaives, one of Haiti's most revolutionary and potentially dynamic city, remains uncertain. Its hope is perged on the capacity of its people to find once again the strength within their minds and the compassion in their hearts, and the cooperation of the international community

Receding waters now allow residents to begin returning to their homes, however traffic is restricted to only large trucks

The city sits in a valley which does not have an easy drainage, making it an easy victim of the regular flashfloods coming down its eroded and environmentally degraded mountains

The mountains around Gonaives show the decades of abuse and lack of protective government laws prohibiting clearcutting. With no trees left the impact of cyclones is increased, and flashfloods remain one of the greatest danger

street traffic

The house of AMURT's mechanic, Fedo, is a typical example of what the residents will find when they manage to return back home. Fedo's 9-month pregnant wife spent two days on the roof of this house, holding on to the roofing so that the current does not carry her off

Debris and mud cover the majority of the houses, and the question of returning back home is still out for most residents of the city

The stream of refugees from the central areas to the higher grounds sometimes has to traverse chest-deep water, and signs of exhaustion and violence are everywhere

Large areas of the city are still submerged under water, forcing the residents to flee to temporary shelters and empeding any relief for days to come

This street was one of the liveliest market streets in Gonaives. Now the market is full of ragged groups of starving people exchanging their last supplies of scavenged food

The flashfloods return after even the smallest rain, regularly flooding the already battered city and making all attempts of disaster relief highly dangerous and sporadic

The force of the flashflood has carried trucks onto top of houses, revealing a scale of the disaster to be higher than previously predicted

Destruction in Central Gonaives

Large neighborhoods have been devastated to the point of almost complete destruction

Street Damage - Central Gonaives, September 11, 2008

Disaster pictures