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October 5, 2008

Please don't forget Haiti

Haiti: MSF finds people still stranded in flooded village
A month after the last tropical storms and hurricanes hit Haiti, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical teams have found an entire village completely submerged and its 2400 remaining inhabitants stranded without help.
Photo: MSF Photo : MSF

On Tuesday, September 30, MSF teams managed to reach Mamont, a town southeast of Gonaives that was heavily affected by the storms that struck Haiti in August and September. The town, with an original population of about 17,000 people, had been totally isolated for the last four weeks. MSF teams found the village partially submerged in water spilling over from a lake created by the storms. The remaining population is cut from all major towns, since the road is also submerged. The survivors have been without clean water, sufficient food or medical care for weeks.
Although international attention has largely moved on from the emergency in Haiti, the situation in Mamont shows that emergency assistance remains critical for some parts of the country.

In the Gonaives area, concrete measures for getting the victims of the storms back on their feet are slow to materialize. There remains a lack of access to clean water, problems with sanitation, and a shortage of basic goods. There is the risk of diseases spreading and concern for the displaced people who have been expelled from places where they found temporary shelter. For several days the authorities have been pushing for the evacuation of classrooms before the start of the new school term on Monday, October 6. The situation is similar in churches, where congregations are pushing those sheltering inside to leave. The cathedral in Gonaives, where more then 200 people found refuge, was emptied two weeks ago. Some of the displaced people moved to a camp in Praville, where conditions are unacceptable. In the area of K-Soleil, more than 800 people were evicted from their shelters and were forced to camp in their ravaged houses or sleep under pieces of cardboard.

Today, hundreds of families are left without a place to stay and without any means to rebuild their lives, as neither the authorities nor international organizations present in Gonaives have provided alternative shelter.
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