Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A city without power?

Be it the earthquake, cholera, hurricane or riots, I've been confident that I could make things work. But with my goal of taking online classes, I may soon have an insurmountable hurdle in my way as a result of several problems arising contemporaneously. I had been thinking about mentioning this stuff, but hadn't gotten to it... hoping they'd be resolved before now.

First, the container boat that normally plies the PAP to Jeremie route pooped out. It literally isn't carrying goods back and forth.

Second, the Aux Cayes to Jeremie highway partly collapsed in the hurricane. By that, I mean the highway is filled with switchbacks and hairpin turns as the road traverses the mountains. And as would happen in the US, rocks fall and inadequately built roads collapse in treacherous weather. So the hurricane resulted in a partial collapse of the highway, such that buses and container trucks can no longer use it. At best, I small pickup truck can now drive the Aux Cayes to Jeremie highway... and Aux Cayes is a midway point from the international ports of Port au Prince and Cap Haitien.

With the loss of container travel on the seaways and roadways, I understand that Jeremie is running out of fuel. And I'm already seeing the consequences.

This morning, I needed to refuel a propane tank for the stove. By lunchtime I learned that Jeremie is out of propane. So it's back to charcoal for cooking. I doubt the trees are all too happy 'bout that.

Trucks and motorbikes may soon run out of fuel. And the city power company runs a generator on gasoline or diesel. So even electricity may end soon.

Photovoltaics, or electric solar panels, are here. So emergency services will have some sort of electricity for refrigeration -- if the sun is shining. But if neither the road nor the boat are repaired soon... there could be big problems here. Then tack on a cholera outbreak and medical facilities with insufficient power...

Don't even wanna think about it.

I'll try to keep you posted... but computers and the web may soon be an unaffordable luxury.

Tim White

No comments: