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Haiti: Recovering from Hurricane Matthew and 2010 earthquake

Reporter: Yao Haiyan 丨 CCTV.com

10-12-2016 14:23 BJT

To Haiti now, where Hurricane Matthew has left the country in a catastrophic state. The United Nations says the country is in desperate need, calling for almost 120-million dollars in aid. The storm is believed to have killed around one-thousand people, with survivors at risk of famine and cholera. Making things worse is that the country is still struggling after it was devastated by a magnitude-7 earthquake in 2010.
Travel through South Western Haiti right now and it does seem as if a recent, terrible history is repeating itself.Buildings were so badly damaged by Hurricane Matthew. The scene is reminiscent of an earthquake.And almost everyone over the age of 6 in Haiti knows, all too well, an earthquake's destructive power.

It was in 2010 that one of the most catastrophic tremors in history claimed an estimated 200,000 lives here.Billions of dollars were pledged to the country. Multiple aid agencies poured in.Many lives were saved. But, in the chaos, money went missing or never arrived.And Haiti, as we all have been reminded this week, ended up as vulnerable as ever.

At Port-au-Prince airport a new aid operation is being ramped up, as the world does what it can to help the victims of this latest disaster.Food, water, and shelter is being airlifted and trucked to the vulnerable areas.Many of those on the ground here say the experience of the 2010 earthquake means this can be done more efficiently.

"It certainly is, so before I came out here we were reading after actual reports finding the lessons learned coming out of 2010 and the earthquake. And so I think we have learnt from that. I think every contingency is different and one of the things we really pride ourselves on in the air force is that flexibility. To be able to respond in contingency you adjust. You learn and you adjust." Major Sean Mcgarvey,one of the US air force said.

At the airport, Haiti's interim President was observing the aid effort.Jocelerme Privert is in office because elections here have been repeatedly postponed - the latest delay because of the hurricane.He told CCTV that emergency aid is essential and welcome, but ultimately what Haiti needs is assistance to rebuild.
"I am asking that the foreign aid allows us to regenerate our agriculture, to prevent widespread famine. It should help us build a fresh water system, not just distribute bottles of water to the population."Haitian interim president Jocelerme Privest said.

The president does not mention the word famine lightly.He believes there is a serious risk.The hurricane has destroyed massive areas of agricultural land.

People are going to struggle to fend for themselves when all the trees are down.Fedner Ren a banana farmer saw his entire crop lost.

"Of course it is going to take financial resources to start planting over again. We really need to do that. It is now that people are going to be hungry in Haiti." Fedner Ren, a Haiti's farmer said.

There is an additional acute risk here, also linked to the earthquake.UN peacekeepers that arrived in Haiti in 2010 inadvertently brought cholera with them. 10,000 Haitians have since died from the disease.Now with so much of the country without fresh water a major outbreak is feared.

Haiti has been the victim of appalling misfortune.Hit by two massive natural disasters within a relatively short space of time. And there's a sad realization here.That unless this country's infrastructure is properly rebuilt and strengthened, this cycle will never end.

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