Haiti government requirements backlog docks, threatens ministry

By February 26, 2008

Haiti (MNN) – For Haiti With Love's Eva DeHart says the dock strike is over in Haiti, but little has changed. The government is now requiring a retro-active itemized list on the shipping containers that have been on the docks since October. 

For regular shipments of food or other supplies that were purchased, providing the invoice is not difficult. However, DeHart says many of the gifts they sent for their annual Christmas party were donated.

Those who were shipping donated items in October are being required to back up the detail and "invoices" to get the things out of the containers. Many have no proper records of what they put on the ship, and until all items are documented in a mixed container, nothing is being released.

That has created months of backlog. Worse yet, "they're doing it first container in, first out, which means that the food that we've got going in down there won't be able to get off the wharf until all this Christmas stuff gets cleared out. So it could definitely have a major impact on our food program." 

The backlog is strangling supply lines into Haiti. DeHart says this very well could hinder their evangelistic work because "it's going to be very, very difficult to minister to people that you're turning away because you don't have any food for them. "

For Haiti's staff demonstrates God's love by following the Lord's commands in Matthew 25:35-40 to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and shelter the homeless. They are giving freely of God's love and gifts to help make life better for the poorest of the poor in Northern Haiti.

But the circumstances are becoming rather black. Aside from the dock issues and the logjam in customs, a dispute with the Dominican Republic resulting in a border closure means that one-third of the Island of Hispaniola has nothing coming across the borders or being released from the wharf.  The scarcity is driving up food prices to the point where it costs 3-days' wages for a single cup of rice.

DeHart  says, "We are praying fervently that this stuff all gets released so that there's no gap in the food program. If the food doesn't get in, then it's going to be mass starvation down there." For Haiti With Love has a container of beans on the way down and another container on the way with 41 pallets of the food packets. Please pray that these are released before any spoilage occurs from sitting on the wharf.


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