Haiti Diary: Dealing With Mud

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 fourth post in this series.

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Mud flowed into homes and streets in Haiti during several violent storms that pummeled the country. Residents and relief workers are left with the daunting task of removing the mud with a less than ideal supply of equipment. Photo by David Snyder for CRS.

Monday, September 29, 2008, Gonaives, Haiti: I went down this morning to a school in one of the worst-affected parts of the city, where CRS is paying for a mechanized loader to help clear out tons of mud from the school compound. Just getting in and out of such places is difficult. We had to park the car and have one of the sisters from the school come and lead us in, because the street is simply buried too deeply in mud to get in by vehicle. Right now, everyone is working to get the mud out of their homes, shoveling it into the streets, which in turn clogs them further. Working with partner Caritas Haiti, CRS started cash-for-work projects on a large scale today, sending out 18 teams of 15 people each to clean schools of mud. Each worker is selected from among the local community as among the most affected, and each is paid an equivalent of about $5 for seven hours of work – a good local wage that allows beneficiaries to buy the essentials they need. Tonight at the UN base in Gonaives, talk among many NGO’s and UN agencies was centered on how to remove the mud from the city. It is becoming clear to all here that that is perhaps the next step in helping Gonaives recover.

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

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