Caribbean nation 'battling' seasons of calamities and disasters

People gather outside the Petit Pas Hotel, destroyed by the earthquake in Les Cayes, Haiti, on August 14, 2021. [AP photo]

In the heart of the Caribbean, where the azure waters meet the sun-kissed shores, lies Haiti, a nation that has become synonymous with the unforgiving forces of nature.

Labeled the crucible of natural disasters and calamities, Haiti’s history reads like a chronicle of resilience against an unrelenting onslaught from nature. From the deluge of 2004 to the seismic shocks of 2010 and the recent earthquakes of 2021, the nation stands as a testament to the strength of its people amid the turmoil.

The annual hurricane season in Haiti, spanning from June to November, transforms the nation into a landscape of heightened vulnerability where natural forces kill and destroy whatever they have been building as a nation. The threat of destructive cyclones, hurricanes, and tropical storms looms large, a recurring nightmare that has left indelible marks on both the physical and emotional landscape of this Caribbean jewel.

Haiti’s tumultuous history is etched in tales of survival against nature’s fury. The 1751 devastation of Port-au-Prince and its southern environs, the 1963 havoc wrought by Hurricane Flora which claimed over 5,000 lives, and the seismic cataclysm of 2010 that shook the very foundations of the capital are chapters in a saga of endurance.

The echoes of these calamities linger, forming the backdrop against which the nation forges ahead.

The year 2021, however, brought a fresh chapter to this narrative. A magnitude-7.2 earthquake struck the southwestern region, leaving a trail of destruction and despair. Subsequently, Hurricane Grace, in a cruel twist of fate, compounded the misery with heavy rainfall in areas already grappling with the aftermath of the earthquake.

The resilience of the Haitian people was once again put to the test as they faced the simultaneous challenges of natural disasters and the ongoing complexities within their borders.

World Vision said on its website that challenges such as fuel shortage, heightened insecurity due to gang violence, and logistical difficulties have hampered relief efforts.

In the aftermath of the 2021 earthquake, Haiti found itself grappling with a multi-faceted and challenging situation. The earthquake claimed the lives of thousands of people, intensifying the existing vulnerabilities of a nation dealing with political instability, gang violence, economic fragility, and a history of natural disasters.

The scars of the catastrophic earthquake in January 2010 were still fresh, with memories of up to 300,000 lives lost haunting the collective consciousness. Amid the wreckage, a significant portion of the population, especially vulnerable children, found themselves in desperate need of assistance, placing an overwhelming strain on resources and infrastructure.

Fuel shortage, heightened insecurity due to gang violence, and logistical challenges further complicated the delivery of timely relief efforts. The nation stood at a crossroads, facing not only the immediate aftermath of the earthquake but also the long road to recovery. As the calendar turned to 2023, Haiti faced yet another challenge: widespread floods that underscored the enduring struggle against the forces of nature.

The Haitian populace, despite the recurring blows of nature and the complexities within, continues to rebuild and forge ahead.

By AFP 1 hr ago
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