Mud Disaster Follows Hurricanes in Gonaives, Haiti

Donal Reilly is CRS senior emergency advisor in Haiti where he worked from 1996 to 2002. He returned to the country in September.

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The U.N. estimates that 2.5 million cubic meters of sludge have been deposited in Gonaives following four name storms that hit in August and September. Photo by Donal Reilly/CRS

Gonaives is a mess. Haiti is a hard-pressed country on a good day. I used to work in the slums in Port-au-Prince, but I’ve never seen this amount of destruction. The water was a huge problem at first. It rose past the first floor levels of the buildings at the center of town. People who worked in Ache described it like the Tsunami effect, but the water didn’t come from the sea.

Now with the water receding, the silt is settling and the mud is becoming more of a problem. I’ve never seen a place so choked by debris. The UN has calculated 2.5 million cubic meters of mud have been deposited in the city alone. I estimate it would take removing about 400 truckloads of mud a day, every day for a year to clear Gonaives.

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The port city of Gonaives suffered severe damage after storms, including Hurricane Ike, dumped several feet of water in the city. Now, after the flooding, residents of Gonaives must dig out from under tons of mud. Photo by Donal Reilly/CRS

With all the mud on the streets there is no drainage. The drains are full. The septic tanks are full. The pit latrines are full. Gonaives is basically a city without sanitation.

People are already cleaning the mud out of their homes and business, but the problem is, there is nowhere to dump the mud. So they put it in the streets and it piles up and hinders mobility. If it rains again before the streets are cleared their houses will effectively be turned into swimming pools. This is because their buildings are at a lower level than the streets around them. Since there is no drainage, the water just stays there.

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3 Responses to “Mud Disaster Follows Hurricanes in Gonaives, Haiti”

  1. Lenny Says:

    I would like to see something good in the city of gonaives, like draininge, infrastruture, building school, stop all the water to come in the village. my question is : what can we do to make Haiti a country where human being live? There are God people living in the country. If the is not destroyed already it’s because God has his people living there, otherwise Haiti would now be a desert country. finally, I hope the international organization say something about it. THey are human being like us, they deserve not die by hunger while we wasting food or dump them in the trash.I encourage every one who is able to help to say something for the people of Haiti.

  2. lynn laupola Says:

    to Haiti people, i would like to see some changes in a few years, i want to see haiti in a the future they have more help then ever they deserve, i love you all haiti and i hope you all the best and blessing from the Lord……..we love you all………..

  3. afsha asif Says:

    haiti children and people there are dying because they are all getting colera.This is caused when mud is mixed with clean water.Because the water will be dirty to drink and then when people need clean,fresh water they wont have any and they then hafto drink dirty water which is cold colera and tummy dosent like it and then makes all the body feel poly aafter a few weeks,days,months or even a year these pweople will die.
    Wish you old the best.

    love you haiti people

    i am 10 years old
    love Afsha Asif

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