The Institute of Caribbean Studies of the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras announces the lecture “LA ÉPOCA CICLÓNICA EN HAITÍ: EL CASO DE GONAïVES” by the Haitian engineers Brunet Georges y Herntz Saint Marc. Dr. Paul Latortue, Dean of the School of Business Administration, will serve as commentator. The activity will be held on Thursday, March 26, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in CRA Room 108, School of Social Sciences, at the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras.
The lecture will focus on the present situation, responses, and possible solutions to the devastation caused in Haiti by the string of hurricanes that caused major floods and left many of its cities covered in mud and ailing from many other forms of lateral damage six months ago. The New York Times reported that the case of Gonaïves was extreme because it absorbed much more punishment than other cities: “More than 30 inches of rain fell overnight. The deforested hills, less than 2 percent of them covered by trees, sent the spill-off crashing down into La Quinte River, the wall of water and mud eventually cresting at 15 feet above its banks.” By the time the floods receded, they had killed 466 inhabitants and another 235 were reported to have disappeared and are presumed dead. Of the city’s 33,000 buildings, 5,441 collapsed and some 22,300 others were damaged. As of yet, the city of Gonaïves has no evacuation plan. People are living in fear of the next big storm especially because heavy rains usually start in April, and from June through November it is hurricane season.
For the full New York Times article on Gonaïves, see, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/24/world/americas/24haiti.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper&pagewanted=all