Friday, September 19, 2008

Lonesome Evacuees


Don’t know what to obsess about first – the massive undoing of financial institutions or reports on the dimly remembered victims of the latest hurricane? Here’s a bit of an update and a reminder.

The survivors of Hurricane Ike’s devastation, scattered across Texas or languishing in Houston waiting for power to come back on (only one of Houston’s 3 power companies has topped 60% restoration of power), or still under water in Port Arthur or standing in line for food, water, ice, everything in the Ike hurricane zone, know something now about what Katrina survivors faced after that big storm. They have experienced confusion between FEMA, the state of Texas and their local governments – whose got the ice? Whose gonna pass it out? FEMA, “We didn’t plan to distribute ice.” – and down the line, with the state passing the buck to local governments and local governments declaring, “ News to me.” Except for Galveston, folks are doing fairly well. But these aren't images from Galveston, or Port Arthur, these are images from Haiti. Folks in Haiti aren't doing so well.

We knew how powerful Ike was going to be by watching it cross over the Caribbean, scouring Cuba but first devastating an already storm-ravaged Haiti. I have been sitting on these pictures but feel it’s important to share them as we fret (and rightly so) about the trouble gambling addicts (how else to describe the people running the financial markets?) can create in a family or a country. Haiti has suffered from the historical punishment and pillage of US governmental, industrial and financial interests since its liberation from France. Today its government is unable to respond to its enormous need and its people are more than overwhelmed by the effects of four hurricanes in less than 15 day.

You know, we were never allowed to see the bodies that washed up or were found after Hurricane Katrina had done her worst (just as we no longer witness the ravages that war has on the bodies of its victims unless we seek them out). This is what disaster looks like. This is what global warming looks like: Haiti is largely defoliated, there are few natural barriers to high winds or heavy rains, more ferocious storms occurring more frequently will most affect the poorest among us.

These pictures were passed on to me by Haitian organizers working in the greater Boston area. They have set up a recovery fund and are requesting you do the following:

1) Making a deposit at CITIZENS BANK/ACCOUNT # 1313181878 (New England Haiti
Hurricane Relief Fund)
2) Donate over the counter medicine
3) Donate school supplies for children

Contact Carline Desire at the Association of Haitian Women (617-287-0096) for details on where to deliver medicine and school supplies.

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