US State Dep’t:
Travel to Haiti rated at same risk level as Afghanistan
The situation in Haiti on the mainland is critical. The State Department rates Haiti as “Travel Advisory Level 4 – Do Not Travel” with the /K addition: Threat of kidnapping. Meanwhile, La Gonave remains peaceful. But to get there, you have to go through Port au Prince, and that is “high risk”. Most missionaries have been pulled out of Haiti.
Water (or lack thereof)
The latest crisis on the islands of Haiti stems from something so simple most people (including Haitians) never expected a problem: The islands are out of plastic bags. Consequently, most people have no way to buy and carry water.
Those who live close to water plants, like Ago’s church’s plant, can buy in buckets, but buckets are not good for carrying long distances.
It seems Haitian people must move from crisis to crisis. Now they are asking, how long can our nation survive without potable water, just because we have no plastic bags?
Gangs and Violence
Since the UN Police Force has left Haiti, violence has escalated. (Power abhors a vacuum.) People are reminded of Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier, who used the Tonton Macoute as violent enforcers of quiet and obedience. Now, yes, the gangs are ramping up on the mainland. Church buses have been targeted and stopped, and the people robbed. We hear that one woman was raped. Very sad times.
The police, such as they are, have little success in apprehending the criminals, and so the gang violence tends to continue on the mainland.
Meanwhile, Ago says that a couple of gangs tried to make inroads on LaGonave, but the people ran them off. They fled back to the mainland. So far, and other than that, they have remained powerless on La Gonave.
(Gang violence is not new for Haitians. Here is what one source said about it:… some other issues feed the existence of the paramilitary phenomenon: these factors include drug trafficking, rampant poverty, demoralized police forces, and the primacy of the interests of the elite. All of these factors explain why the remnants of the “Tonton Macoutes” are still a very important part of Haiti’s political and social heritage, even as they and their descendants continue to fragment into small groups with different interests, maintaining their penchant for violence and chaos.)