LES CAYES, Haiti – The devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew has left some of the hardest hit communities of southern Haiti still without electricity, making life for the homeless there even worse.
One of the problems caused by the lack of communications is that the inhabitants of Sud province are finding it next to impossible to collect the remittances sent them by family members, principally from the United States and Canada.
Offices that provide the payment service have dozens of people lined up at their doors but don’t have enough cash to go around.
Such logistical problems just make the situation worse for the homeless, who depend on the international aid being distributed.
Meanwhile in Port-au-Prince, life is strangely normal less than a week after Matthew barreled through Haiti, leaving an enormous humanitarian crisis in a country that has not yet recovered from the devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake.
The first sign of the disaster that occurred in the southwest is at some 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, at La Digue River, where the bridge was torn down by the hurricane, leaving Sud and Sud-Est provinces inaccessible for several days.
But then the water level dropped to a dried-up riverbed that can even be crossed by motorcycle, while the highway is also fortunately open to travel by vehicles including those of humanitarian aid organizations.
Power-line posts that had been knocked down are being repaired and most of the rubble has been cleared from the route. Piled up along the roadside are all kinds and sizes of rocks and tree branches, while banana crops and other vegetation are largely destroyed, proof of the power of Matthew’s winds.
Street vendors offer their products to travelers, while in the villages, market stalls line both sides of the highway.
In Les Cayes, the best-equipped hotels are up and running following the arrival of NGO members who have come to check out the situation and offer needed help.
The situation is much worse in the southwestern city of Jeremie, where there had been beautiful examples of colonial architecture and which today in unrecognizable.
Cholera is also taking its toll there, adding more deaths to the terrible list of fatalities left by Hurricane Matthew, for whom Haiti on Monday is in its official second day of mourning as decreed by the government.
And yet in Port-au-Prince, life goes on as if it were any other Sunday of the year.