Economic Situation Here in Haiti
Well, if you have been reading the news of things going on here in Haiti you might have heard of the local civil unrest, especially since last Friday. Prices of everything have been skyrocketing in the last month or so. A marmit (#10 can) of corn meal (a staple food item) for example went from US$2.10 to $3.55, gallon of gasoline $3.94 to $6.32, gallon of diesel $3.42 – $4.21. This doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that many people don’t have full-time jobs, surviving only through subsistence farming. Those who have a job don’t earn that much per month: i.e nurse US$160, cleaning staff $80. There doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut reason for the sudden rise of prices….cost of fuel, newly imposed taxes by the government, stricter control of imports, etc. At the same time there have been reports of food rotting at the docks, waiting to be cleared through customs.
As a result, there have been many “manifestations”, protests throughout the country. In some places the protests have turned violent with looting, property damage and shooting. There are numerous places along the road where the people have blocked the road with rocks or burning tires. The UN peacekeepers and National Police are stepping up their patrols and road controls but they have even come under fire. We had internet technicians here today and they were not able to continue west of us to work with some of their customers due to the unrest and they ran into some problems when they got back to PAP that the police had to help them out of. Some of our staff have found it difficult/impossible to make it in to work.
Fortunately, for us, at the present, things are quiet here in FDN. However, tomorrow is market day for us and I wonder how people are 1) going to get here for market and 2) what the feelings will be when again they are faced with the high prices. Things may even be higher since it will be more difficult to get things in to sell.
The government has made some comments but I haven’t heard what kind of resolution might be possible. Please pray for the people of Haiti that this situation will be addressed and we can move forward in the continued building up of this country.