Relief Operations Under Way In Devastated Haiti Four large storms have devastated Haiti, destroying homes and infrastructure and making relief efforts difficult. Residents packed into a shelter want the government to help rebuild homes, while relief agencies look for security.

Relief Operations Under Way In Devastated Haiti

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In Haiti, the past month has been filled with storms. Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike destroyed tens of thousands of homes. Large parts of Haiti remain cut off from the rest of the country. The International Relief Operation is focusing on the city of Gonaives, which flooded twice in one week. But as NPR's Jason Beaubien reports, there are also desperate scenes in many other parts of the country.

JASON BEAUBIEN: In the Grand Ravine neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, 700 people are living in a school. There's no running water, no electricity, no beds, often, no food, and people have been packed in here for weeks. Luita Armand has been sleeping on the cement floor here since late August.

LUITA ARMAND: (Speaking foreign language)

BEAUBIEN: Armand fled here with her five children just before Hurricane Gustav made landfall on Aug. 26.


BEAUBIEN: Evel Fanfan, with a human rights group in Port-au-Prince, is passing out the meager snacks. He says what he needs now is for the government to establish some order in this chaotic encampment so he can distribute more substantive food.

EVEL FANFAN: Some policemen, some people who can help us with the security. Because right now, I would like to get rice today for the kids, but I can't do that because I'm scared the old people just get it.

BEAUBIEN: In the parking lot of the main offices of Catholic Relief Services, several dozen people are packing food into large plastic bags. Bill Canny is the country representative for CRS.

BILL CANNY: As you can see, we opened it up for you. We got rice, we have bread, we have peanut butter, we have beans. So it's a packet to sustain a family of five for 15 days.

BEAUBIEN: And this isn't just going to Gonaives?

CANNY: No, this - in fact, we have trouble getting these to Gonaives - the roads have been closed. But there are plenty of places affected, so we're getting it to other parts of the country that, you know, are equally suffering from the effects of the hurricanes.

BEAUBIEN: Canny says this storm season has been a huge setback for farmers here.

CANNY: When the water drops a little bit more, we'll be able to do some better assessments, but you can count on a very significant crop loss this year.

BEAUBIEN: The storms also have delayed the opening of schools by a month. Roads and bridges and other infrastructure have been wiped out. A newly refurbished hospital in Gonaives that was destroyed in 2004 by Hurricane Jean was demolished again this month by Hanna.

ABEL NAZIER: It's not often that a country can be hit by four tropical storms successively.

BEAUBIEN: Nazier denies all this. He says the death toll, especially in Gonaives, would have been much higher, except the government issued warnings right before Hanna hit.

NAZIER: We don't have enough possibility in terms of resources - economical resources, but we have a good national system for recent disaster management.

BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

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