In the wake of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, first responders are facing more than just debris and broken infrastructure. The aid packages being delivered have caused one Haitian girl to be shot during the distribution chaos last week.
While waiting for humanitarian aid, one teenage girl was fatally shot while trying to get food and water for herself. The scene occurred just outside of the south-western town of Dame-Marie last week.
Three others were injured in the melee as people scrambled to grab the aid that was being distributed. There was a stampede of people trying to claim packages. In their desperation, fights broke out all over the place and one teenage girl was shot in the chest.
The Brazilian peacekeepers were on-hand, trying to restore calm by firing rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades to help disperse the crowd. As it turns out, some of the national police fired live rounds into the crowds, mistaking them for protesters complaining about the excessive waits for aid to come.
Hurricane Matthew, which struck the island nation early October has caused an estimated damage of $2 billion and could take weeks to rebuild the damage. Over 500 people were killed during the store and thousands others were wounded in the storm and confusion afterwards.
The UN is currently investigating how live rounds were in use during the aid distribution, but the confusion on the ground could delay the investigation until the basic needs of the people are met consistently.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed his remorse and distress at how slowly efforts have been proceeding to take care of the victims of Hurricane Matthew.
All this comes only 6 years after a devastating earthquake left the nation in ruins. Many buildings are still in disrepair after the initial damage done in 2010. Entire villages were left completely submerged when the Hurricane struck with full force.
After the damage was done by the Hurricane, the only bridge to the affected region was destroyed, making access near impossible for aid workers to get much-needed food, water, and medicine to the victims. Back in early October, CNN reported concerns over the food distribution plans.
“We’re really concerned about food security,” says World Vision leader John Hasse who was in Haiti at the time of the Hurricane. “A large portion of Haiti’s food is produced in the south where the damage is most severe. It is a large breadbasket for the whole country. We expect to see food shortages and price spikes over the next coming weeks”
It’s a chilling foretelling of the situation now in Haiti were aid continues to trickle in through the open ports and semi-repaired roads. Ships from the UK, Argentina, and Colombia continue to bring in aid packages while the death of this teenage girl is a harbinger of the rough times still ahead for Haiti’s people.