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08PORTAUPRINCE1274 2008-09-09 20:20:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Port Au Prince
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1. (SBU) Embassy Assistance Working Group met September 9 at
0745 HRS to discuss efforts to deliver and distribute
emergency food and other supplies to various regions of the
country impacted by recent hurricanes and tropical storms.
The Haitian Civil Protection Department (DPC) estimated
September 8 the number of dead at 328 persons. Overall
casualty figures may continue to rise as a result of
increased access to affected areas. More than 101,800
families have been affected by the storms and flooding,
according to DPC. U.S. assistance agencies and the U.S.
military continue efforts to coordinate and deliver emergency
aid to residents in dire need, in cooperation with Haitian
Government, NGO and international partners. End summary.

Hurricane Ike's Impact


2. (U) The DPC assessed that over fifty persons were reported
dead and thirteen missing from recent flooding in Cabaret.
Mayor of Cabaret Thomas Wills reported that the Torcel and
Bretel rivers overflowed their banks on September 6 as a
result of Hurricane Ike-induced rains. (Note: Cabaret is
approximately 24 miles from Port-au-Prince in the western
region. Estimated population is 70,000. End note.)

Government of Haiti Actions


3. (SBU) In a September 8 session, Haiti's Chamber of
Deputies passed a law requiring all NGOs involved in disaster
assistance to work through the DPC. The bill -- yet to be
voted on in the Senate -- does not require NGOs to channel
their funding through the DPC. USAID assesses this law, if
passed, will not negatively impact USG disaster assistance,
since USAID's working relationship with the DPC is
characterized as ''excellent.''

4. (U) Minister of Economy and Finance Daniel Dorsainvil said
September 8 the Haitian economy has been seriously affected
by successive hurricanes and storms, which will deeply damage
the agricultural sector and residential properties, and
worsen food insecurity. He warned that economic growth
forecasts for this year will be revised downward, to less
than 2.5 percent.



5. (SBU) OFDA reports that at a humanitarian coordination
meeting in Port-au-Prince September 8, multiple relief
agencies noted that several large areas remain inaccessible
and communities in southern regions have yet to receive
assistance since August 26. The U.N. Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports improved
access and distribution of relief commodities within
Gonaives, although further capacity is required to reach
additional populations in need.

Food Security


6. (SBU) A UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
representative reported September 8 that while assessments of
food security and the full impact of recent storms and
flooding on agricultural production are underway throughout
the country, early reports indicate that nearly all crops in
the current planting season are either damaged or destroyed.
Flooding has damaged irrigation systems, which present
challenges to resumption of agricultural production in the
next planting season.



7. (SBU) By approximately 11h00 local time, four MH-53
helicopters from the USS Kearsarge departed Port-au-Prince
airport, carrying bulk food commodities destined for Les
Cayes in the southern region. The USS Kearsarge is
generating clean drinking water that also will be delivered
to affected regions. A vessel carrying 1,000 ten-liter water
containers filled with potable drinking water and
approximately 150 metric tons of UN World Food Program

PORT AU PR 00001274 002 OF 002

emergency food relief is scheduled to arrive in Gonaives
September 9. Airlifts scheduled for Port-de-Paix in the
northwest region are temporarily postponed due to flooding at
landing sites. Ambassador and Prime Minister Pierre-Louis
surveyed Gonaives and surrounding areas by USS Kearsarge
helicopter September 9.



8. (SBU) CDC reported that its epidemiologist will work with
GoH medical staff in Port-au-Prince September 9-10 to become
familiar with its operations and to discuss establishing a
surveillance system. CDC noted that Medecins Sans
Frontieres/Doctors without Borders -- Belgium, France and
Spain -- have arrived to support medical assistance delivery.
CDC and MSF will coordinate and identify physicians
available in-country. CDC highlighted the critical need for
medications to be delivered up-country. Access challenges
have compounded the problem of delivery to the northwestern
region, although medications were pre-positioned in some



9. (SBU) CONS continues to work to assist stranded American
citizens. A primary contact list for assistance to aid
Amcits who seek emergency food and supplies will be developed
with the assistance of USAID. CONS is collaborating with MLO
and MINUSTAH to respond to a request for evacuation to
Port-au-Prince from (3) Amcit missionaries reportedly
stranded in the vicinity of Gonaives. There have been no
reports of Amcit deaths or injuries.



10. (SBU) RSO reported there have been no reports of looting
or increased crime as a result of the floods. Water in many
affected areas is reportedly receding, but high water levels
remain. RSO shared information on the location of roads that
have been washed out and bridges in disrepair. (Note: USAID
noted Ministry of Public Works engineers and USS Kearsarge
engineers will meet together September 9 to define access
points in order to effectively deliver much-needed food and
supplies. The ministry is reportedly developing a
countrywide damage assessment. End note.)

11. (U) Port-au-Prince airport is open and flights are on a
regular schedule.