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9783: Haiti-Migrants (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By MICHAEL NORTON
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 28 (AP) -- More than 200 Haitian migrants are
missing and presumed drowned after an attempt to reach Florida in two
ramshackle sailboats earlier this month, a government official said
About 150 migrants left Ile-a-Vache island off Haiti's south coast Nov.
1 aboard one boat, family members said. The next day, another boat left
with 63 people aboard.
"Their families have abandoned hope," said Esperand Dominique, a
regional director of social affairs for the Haitian government. Hurricane
Michelle hit Cuba and the Bahamas Nov. 5, passing south of Florida. The
boats may have capsized in the turbulent seas, he said.
Relatives told government officials they had not heard from anyone who
boarded either boat. If Haitian migrants reach land, they almost always get
word to their relatives that they arrived safely.
In recent years, the number of Haitians repatriated by the U.S. Coast
Guard has remained steady but as the Caribbean nation's economic crisis
deepens some fear more will make the dangerous journey.
In the 12-month period ending in October, the Coast Guard repatriated
1,188 migrants. Over the previous 12 months, 1,113 Haitians were returned
This year, Bahamian authorities have repatriated more than 6,000
Haitians, compared to 4,879 last year.