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#506: Please Read: Sign-On for Environmental Emergency in Gwo Mon, Haiti (fwd)

From: Haiti Reborn <haiti@quixote.org>

September 16, 1999

Dear Friends,

 During a recent trip to Haiti, I was astounded during my visit to Gwo
Mn by the environmental emergency that is facing the community. A cliff
that has been formed through years of erosion by the River Marcelle has
truly reached the point of urgency, as the homes of people who live
along the main road in Gwo Mn are threatening to tumble down the cliff.
Erosion is also threatening the main road itself, Rue National One (from
Gonaives to Port-de-Paix).

 A group of citizens has come together to lobby the Government of Haiti
about this issue. Their committee, the komite pote kole kont falz anba
bouk (P.K.K.F.A.B.), drafted a letter to President Ren Prval, which
was delivered to the Palais.

 Research on this environmental emergency has been going on since 1974,
and in 1997 the Minister of Agriculture visited Gwo Mn and presented a
report on the problem and what actions would resolve this problem.
However, no action has been taken, and during his recent visit to Gwo
Mn the new Minister of the Environment did not visit the cliff. If you
are interested in reading the report from 1997, I would be happy to fax
it to you. To deal with this environmental emergency before homes are
lost down the cliff, a gabion needs to be constructed. The estimated
cost in 1997 was $2 million Haitian.

 The Cliff Committee of Gwo Mn is not requesting that any organization
attempt to raise these funds. Instead, they have asked that we support
their plea to President Prval to visit Gwo Mn and assess the situation
himself. They feel strongly that their government should take
responsibility and action. The letter below is a letter of support for
the Committees request, and will be sent to President Prval and other
members of his government that received the Committees letter two weeks
ago. Following that, you will find the text of the Committees letter.

 Please consider signing onto this letter. Express your support as part
of international solidarity for the people of Gwo Mn as they ask the
Government of Haiti to take responsibility for responding to this
environmental emergency. Because the Committees letter has already
reached members of the Prval administration, if you are interested in
signing onto this letter you must do so by noon, eastern time, September
21 (Tuesday of next week). All that is required is a response in email
(haiti@quixote.org) via fax (301-864-2182), or phone (301-699-0042).

Thank you,

Melinda Miles
Project Coordinator
Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center
P.O. Box 5206
Hyattsville, MD 20782

His Excellence,
Mr. Ren Garcia Prval
President of the Republic of Haiti

Dear President Prval,

 As organizations committed to the future of Haiti, we request this
opportunity to present an issue of great concern to us.

 You have received the communication of the Cliff Committee of Gwo Mn,
requesting a presidential commission to sit in conference with the
members of the Committee. We realize the graveness and urgency of the
situation presented in their letter to you, and we ask you to respond
with speed and seriousness.

 The River Marcelle has already eroded a substantial part of the land
within feet on the National Highway from Gonaives to Port-de-Paix, which
is also the main road of Gwo Mn. People in the community are concerned
for the road, and also for the homes closer to the river that have
already lost their backyards and latrines down the cliff.

 In 1997 the Minister of Agriculture researched this environmental
emergency and reported that a gabion could be constructed at a cost of
$2 million Haitian. Although this price has certainly inflated over the
last two years, this is still a modest amount to pay in order to protect
the main street of the village of Gwo Mn.

 The Cliff Committee has sent a cry out to you to respond and take heed
of this environmental emergency and the impending destruction of a
national highway. This has now come to the attention of the
international community and we are standing in solidarity with the
people of Gwo Mn. We add our voices now to their plea in hopes that we
might strengthen your resolve to visit Gwo Mn yourself to investigate
this serious problem, and we will continue to support the people of
Haiti until this matter is resolved.

 Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Melinda Miles
Carol L. Ries, snjm
Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center

cc:  Minister of Agriculture, Francois Severin
 Minister of Public Works (TPTC)
 Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis
 Leslie Voltaire, Presidents Cabinet Particular
 P.K.K.F.A.B. (komite pote kole kont falz anba bouk) Gwo Mn

(original text of Cliff Committees letter to President Prval)

Gwo-Mn, jou ki 28 Out 1999


Mesye Ren Garcia Prval

Prezidan Repiblik Ayiti


 Nan non peyi-a ki se youn pou nou tout, komite pote kole kont falz
anba bouk (P.K.K.F.A.B.) Gwo-Mn, salye-ou.

 Komite sa ki chita nan Gow-Mn depi Desanm 98, kontan ekri-ou jodia pou
poze pwoblm Gow-Mn avk ou. Nou felisite Gouvnman ou lan nan tout
jef li f deja pou amelyore kondisyon lavi moun nan peyi-a. Pa egzanp,
pwogram refm agr nan Latibonit, inisyatif pou ankouraje pwodiksyon
diri ak kafe nan pey-a, bl pwoj enfrastrikti nou tande kap ft nan
Ptoprens ak nan Sid peyi-a. Tout sa pote nou mande-ou si Gwo-Mn se
pitit dey li ye, paske nou pa janm tande Govnman nonmen non Gwo-Mn
nan lis pwoj li genyen yo.

 Fk nou di-ou Ekselans, apa pwoblm wout Gonayiv/Pdep-a ki rete yon
pikan kwenna pou moun Gwo-Mn, apa pwoblm mache piblik, elektrisite,
dlo potab kap boulvse bil nou; gen yon lt gwo pwoblm nou panse ki
paka rete ank.

 Depi lane 74, gen yon rivy kap manje pati Ndws vil Gwo-Mn. Malgre
tout demach nou f b kote otorite lokal yo, depatmantal yo, anyen pa
mache. Nan kmansman ane 98 la, Minis anvirnman epk Ives Andr
Wainright te vizite falz sa-a; nou konstate pwoms li te f nou yo pa
abouti. Jodia Ekselans, nou menm ki kw nou se pitit lejitim peyi-a menm
jan ak tout lt kote yo, nou vin lanse yon S.O.S. ba-ou, pou anpeche
anvan lontan, yon katastwf vil Gwo-Mn.

 Je fon kriye davans!!!

 Avan nou tande se rl ki gen nan Gwo-Mn, nou swete w yon komisyon
prezidansyl vin chita ak komite pote kole kont falz anba bouk
(P.K.K.F.A.B.) ak otorite lokal yo nan Gwo-Mn, pou ansanm nou jwenn
solisyon ak gwo pwoblm sa-a.

Nan non patria, yon lt fwa ank nou salye-ou.

Nou di-ou kenbe fm pa dekouraje