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another Haitian tragedy going on right now


another Haitian tragedy going on right now

Old 07-28-2009, 08:17 AM
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Default another Haitian tragedy going on right now

I installed a marine VHF radio at the house a month back. Being on a little hill about 60 ft. above the ocean, we get good coverage over most of this little island nation.

Starting yesterday afternoon, last night, and today we have been listening in to the USCG helicopters coordinating with local Marine Police trying to rescue an aprox. 200 Haitians who tried to sneak into the TCI and hit the reef near W. Caicos. If you follow our blog, this is the area where we went fishing a couple months back and caught a lot of barracuda.

Yesterday, after the boat sank, we were hearing about sixty or so people standing waist deep on a reef three kilometers off the shore of W.Caicos, which is essentially uninhabited. It must have been miserable, becuse they would have been getting beaten constantly by the waves. It's blowing hard with whitecaps here. They recovered four bodies yesterday that we know of for sure from listening to the radio, CNN says six total.

This morning, it's sadder on the radio. They are discussing which boat to put the bodies on that they are recovering today. They are requesting more body bags be brought out, and whether to send a helicopter to get them or bring them from Provo by boat. Another group of bodies were just picked up by the Marine Police patrol boat on these coordinates:

To swim from that stretch of shallow reef to West Caicos is only a few kilometers. But most of these people cannot swim. If they could just stay afloat, the wind would take them to W. Caicos. But they don't. They drown.

We know this area, and to look at these beautiful waters it's hard to imagine the tragedy that went on last night as probably dozens of people died here, fifteen miles from our house. If you want to see some photos of this area, check out the second half of this post:

It amazes me how many of these people set sail in these rickety, knocked together sloops with no room, no facilities, water, radio, life jackets...just for the chance to escape Haiti. They die by the dozens. We see another one of these sloops ashore here abandoned every week or so. There is one on the beach a mile from me right now. And we don't even know how many are lost at sea between Haiti and here, and nobody ever knows how many people leave Haiti on one of these sloops and are never seen again. There are no records. And the sharks never tell.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:44 AM
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I heard about it on the news this morning. As you said, it's definitely hard to believe people would make a crossing in boats such as these. Hell, I wouldn't leave the beach.

I guess it just shows the measure of desperation.
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Old 07-28-2009, 08:46 AM
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I haiti it for them but that is the risk you take when you flee a country in that fashion. Obviously they felt that the reward out weighed the risk when they headed to sea. Unfortunately they were wrong. Does Caicos want 200 Haitian refugees?

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Old 07-28-2009, 08:59 AM
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:03 AM
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Gringo does the USCG often lend their choppers and crews to the TCI gvmt? I know TCI has nothing like that.

Its terrible that people risk their lives to get to freedom, but how many refugees can the TCI support?? Do they go to the US next?
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:34 AM
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We can't really support any of them. To ask if we want 200 more doesn't make sense. No, we don't want them. Does that mean it's better that they die?

We just happen to be the closest place they can get to.

Most of them get caught here pretty quick. If they make it ashore, they might find some kind of simple labor for a while, $ 4 an hour maybe, but eventually most of them get rounded up, fed, and put on a plane back to Haiti.

The USCG does come down here. They have a vested interest in these boats, since they carry drugs and weapons sometimes, and many boats ( better ones than the one-way sloops that come here) are passing through the TCI on their way to the US.

Also, there is a joint thing called OPBAT, which is Operation Bahamas and Turks ( I think) in which Uncle Sam helps. The USCG has a base on Great Inagua, only 45 miles from here. And we see them patrolling here from time to time. We even know of one case in which they sent a helicopter to Pine Cay to check on an aircraft that had not filed a flight plan but landed there.

When I asked what the USCG was doing landing a Sikorsky on Pine Cay, I was told (by a local) "oh, it's just your country flexing and being the World's Policeman again". So I shut up about it.

Last edited by Gringo; 07-28-2009 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:14 PM
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For the 6 or so that died in the water ... several hundred died on Haiti yesterday of AIDS. Life must suck being a Hatian huh?
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:00 PM
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Amazing that countries in such close proximity can be so totally different.

We should never take our liberty and the values our founders put in place for granted.

Hard to imagine being that close--I'm sure its a tough thing to witness, Gringo.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mfrd8539 View Post
For the 6 or so that died in the water ... several hundred died on Haiti yesterday of AIDS. Life must suck being a Hatian huh?
six or so?? I don't know where you are hearing that. We are listening to the people picking up the bodies on the VHF. Today they were trying to figure out if they had enough body bags, and which boat they were going to transfer bodies to next. They are warning the dive charter boats on Provo that the shark activity is increasing and that the sharks are getting "aggressive" in that area. Some of the popular wall diving spots are not too far from there.

There are dozens missing, at least.
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