Haiti Diary: Clogged homes, Schools, Streets

In late September, photojournalist David Snyder traveled to Haiti for CRS. His mission was to document what he found in the flood-ravaged country. The following is the fifth post in this series.

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Even as clean-up efforts proceed, residents of Haiti know that the next rain could undo progress they’ve made on removing tons of mud from their homes and streets. Photo by David Snyder for CRS.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 Gonaives, Haiti: Caritas Haiti did a big food distribution this morning for 1,200 people. Even though it wasn’t CRS food, I went over with CRS staff to see the process, since CRS partnered with Caritas to distribute food kits in the weeks after Hurricane Ike. Often in such emergencies, CRS staff with international emergency experience can offer valuable guidance to local partners like Caritas Haiti who might not have as much experience with something as complex as a large-scale distribution. I went from there to a new cash-for-work site – a school not far from one I visited yesterday. Four teams were working to clean up about two feet of mud from the school compound. It’s really impossible to describe just how much mud is in this city. It’s everywhere, in every corner, on every surface, piled high in every street. It reminds me in a way of the big snow storms I remember in Baltimore as a kid, when you would shovel all day and have a mountain of snow beside your sidewalk, melting for weeks. But the problem here is that this mud isn’t going away. And with it piled so near to the shops and homes from which it was shoveled, the next big rain will wash it back into those places – and the mess continues.

Earlier entries: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

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