Hurricane Irma hits Haiti.

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Apocalyptic scenes of flattened buildings and ruined airports emerged from once-lush Caribbean islands devastated by historic Hurricane Irma, as the deadly storm lashed vulnerable Haiti, where one government official called it a “nuclear hurricane” — even as another potent storm, Hurricane Jose, followed fast in Irma’s wake.

About 95 percent of the tiny islands of Barbuda and St. Martin sustained some damage or were outright destroyed, officials said. Ghastly photos and videos from St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, also known as St. Barts, showed buildings in ruin and cars and trucks almost submerged in the storm surge.

Irma’s death toll has reached at least 16, a figure expected to rise as its punishing winds hit Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and moved closer to a potentially disastrous assault on Cuba, the Bahamas, and Florida.

For those on the islands already ripped apart by Irma’s ferocious winds, there is little time to regroup. On Friday, the National Hurricane Center cautioned that Jose is strengthening as it churns toward the Leeward Islands, which are expected to see more damaging winds and rain over the weekend. Officials on Friday sounded the alarm — yet again — in an urgent midday bulletin, announcing: “JOSE NOW AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE.”

Hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings were in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Barts and St. Martin as the National Hurricane Center noted that Jose’s sustained winds have been measured up to 150 miles per hour, with even stronger gusts.

“We are very worried about Hurricane Jose,” Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, told The Washington Post by phone Thursday, adding that Irma had left about 60 percent of Barbuda’s nearly 2,000 residents homeless.

When Craig Ryan, a 29-year-old tourism entrepreneur who lives in Antigua, reached Barbuda by boat that same day, residents lined the beach waiting for rescue. “It’s such a level of devastation,” he told The Post, “that you can’t even see structures standing.”

Ryan’s family business, Tropical Adventures Antigua, dispatched a 75-foot motorboat to make the 90-minute passage between islands to ferry people off Barbuda before Jose’s potential arrival. Some residents remain stuck in isolated areas blocked by impassable roads, he said by telephone as he loaded up water and other supplies at a dock in Antigua.

“We really are in a rush against time,” Ryan said.

On St. Martin, there was little sense that authorities had the situation under control. Witnesses said supermarkets were being looted, with no police visible in the streets; France’s minister for overseas territories, Annick Girardin, even described “scenes of pillaging” on the island.

“It’s like someone with a lawn mower from the sky has gone over the island,” Marilou Rohan, a European vacationer on the Dutch side of St. Martin, which is split with France, told the NOS news service. “Houses are destroyed. Some are razed to the ground. I am lucky that I was in a sturdy house, but we had to bolster the door, the wind was so hard.”

Occasionally, soldiers have passed by, but they were doing little to impose order, Rohan said.

“People feel powerless. They do not know what to do. You see the fear in their eyes,” she said.

On Friday, Dieter Schaede picked his way through the rubble-filled side streets of Cole Bay, trying to absorb the scale of the destruction on St. Martin’s. Schaede, a longtime resident of the island and the owner of a local realty firm, had difficulty putting into the words the havoc before him.

“Everything is a disaster, total devastation,” he told The Post by phone. “Roofs down, houses totally flown away, wiped out.”

“People are in shock,” Schaede said. “I’m in front of a house that was a house. The only thing you see is a kitchen wall.”

With electricity out and communications down, Schaede said the horror stories are just starting to filter through the community. “Houses have been totally wiped out, with people in it,” he said. “We don’t know the end of the disaster.”

He added: “It’s terrible. It will take a couple years to rebuild.”

President Trump owns an 11-bedroom beachfront estate on St. Martin, perched on the sands of Plum Bay. The status of the property, which is currently for sale for $16.9 million, is still unknown. But Schaede said that he has heard that other homes in the neighborhood were severely damaged.

“I’m sure it was probably devastated,” he said of Trump’s property. “He is on the Atlantic side. That got hit pretty hard.”

Schaede rode out the storm inside a bathroom of a concrete building with his five children. All are safe. His building has a generator that gets turned on at night, to ration gas.

“We were one of the fortunate ones,” he said. “As along as we are alive, we can rebuild. We were very lucky.”

The United States and European countries scrambled to send aid to the battered Caribbean islands.

The Pentagon deployed three Navy ships, nearly two dozen aircraft and hundreds of Marines to help with recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they were needed to relocate hospital patients and others displaced by the storm, and haul in relief supplies.

One ship, the USS Wasp, was off St. Thomas on Thursday coordinating medical evacuations. Two others, the USS Kearsarge and the USS Oak Hill, were expected to be in position by Friday.

The military will provide generators, fuel and gas, water-purification systems and tools to clear roadways choked with storm debris, according to U.S. Northern Command. The Army Corps of Engineers sent teams to both U.S. territories to help restore electricity, and National Guard personnel were activated to help with evacuations and search-and-rescue efforts.

As of Thursday night, no other countries had asked for the U.S. military’s help, one official said, but Defense Department planners were preparing as though such requests may come.

“It’s safe to say things may progress,” John Cornelio, a spokesman for Northern Command, told The Post. “I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but one of the things DOD can provide is capacity.”

As night began to fall Thursday, the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean was punishing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — Haiti, a nation still recovering from a massive 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew last October. That storm, bearing Category 4 force when it made landfall Oct. 4 along Haiti’s southwest coast, killed more than 500 people on the island and injured more than 400 others.

As Irma moved away from the vulnerable nation, assessments by aid organizations began in the flood-prone north. The storm passed further off the coast than some had predicted, and very preliminary indications suggested the hit had perhaps not been as bad as feared.

Nevertheless, there were indications of severe damage in some communities. Houses in Malfeti, a municipality of several thousand near the northeastern city of Fort Liberty, were flooded “until the roofs,” according to Fort Liberty Mayor Louis Jacques Etienne, who is also responsible for smaller nearly municipality.

“It is completely underwater, until the roofs!” Etienne said by phone after surveying the damage himself.

Etienne, who dubbed Irma a “nuclear hurricane,” added that in Fort Liberty itself, a city of 37,000, houses had collapsed and roofs had flown off homes.

“Crops are destroyed, cattle is dead, and my cities are broken. It is bad. Very very bad,” he said.
Maria walks in the water in her house that was flooded, in Malfeti, in the city of Fort Liberte, in the north east of Haiti, on September 8, 2017, during the passage of Hurricane Irma.
Irma has been downgraded to a Category Four hurricane but is still extremely dangerous, the National Hurricane Center said. 

Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant’s office issued a national notice advising citizens to return to work on Friday, while saying the government “is implementing actions to help the population to adequately face this natural disaster.”

Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency reported early Friday that one person was missing and three were wounded, including two in the northern town of Dondon when a tree collapsed on their house. A third person was wounded in the northern city of Cap-Haïtien.

The agency reported, “moderate flooding” in four northern provinces, and said a bridge linking Haiti to the Dominican Republic had collapsed in the border city of Ouanaminthe.

Gonaives, a low-lying northern city highly prone to devastating flooding, was a major concern in Haiti. But Mayor Neil Latortue said the damage had “not too bad at all.” Some trees fell outside the city limits, and debris filled the streets. But he said no major damage had been reported.

“We are trying to get businesses back up and running today,” he said.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, French officials said St. Martin is without electricity, fuel and drinking water. About 800 rescuers arrived Thursday and more were on the way.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said that “even the strongest buildings are destroyed” on the French side of St. Martin, while French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said that four people had been found dead there and another 50 were injured.

In addition, four people were reported killed on the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to authorities there who described “catastrophic” damage. There was at least one death reported on the British island of Anguilla, another on Barbuda and one on the Dutch part of St. Martin.

In Puerto Rico, Irma knocked out nearly half of the 1,600 cellphone towers on the financially strained island, leaving many residents without service, local media reported. More than 1 million people lost power. The island’s power authority had warned before the storm that damage could leave some neighborhoods without electricity for up to six months because of precarious infrastructure.

In the Dominican Republic, which shares Hispaniola with impoverished Haiti, the civil defense director, General Rafael A. Carrasco, said at least 2,721 homes have been damaged. The government said nearly 7,000 people had been evacuated from their homes, and 7,400 tourists had been moved from beachside hotels in Bavaro, Puerto Plata and Samana to the capital, Santo Domingo.

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Rutshelle Guillaume

Biography of Rutshelle Guillaume …
Born in Port-au-Prince on July 28, a family of three children, Rutshelle GUILLAUME is the only daughter of her Father. At the age of five, she began to sing at the church of God of Boulard directed by Pastor Louis DESTINVAL. His passion for music takes him to 19 years, in the group “REL”, a musical formation composed for the most part of young musicians of the National School of … Arts (ENARTS). She was able to meet her husband, Walner O. Registre (Doc wor) band leader of the group Rèl, father of her beloved daughter (Ruth-Warly O. Registre). Rutshelle is one of the most listening and charming women’s voices on the air today. Her opus “KITE M KRIYE” is asked and asked again in the shows to which she is invited to produce. This song, according to her, comes out of the particular to reach the social. Rutshelle, Philosopher of formation, joined the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of the State University of Haiti (U.E.H) in 2008. After completing her studies, she is currently completing her research in order to obtain her degree in philosophy. – Former Professor of Grammar and Philosophy at New Bird College. Rutshelle Guillaume currently works as: Protocol Officer attached to the Kiosk of the Ministry of Haitians Living Abroad (MHAVE) at TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE International Airport. – During a training on vocal techniques organized by James Germain, Emmeline Michel and Stevenson Théodore at the Fokal in 2011, his performance on stage enabled him to surprise Yole DEROSE, in search of young female talents for his project “Haiti Heart of Women “. She chose to be part of her project. While awaiting the release of her album, she presents to the public the opportunity to discover it in her song titled “KITEM KRIYE” which is video-clip. In addition, Rutshelle had already participated on numerous projects with several artists and musical groups, such as: – Roosevelt SAILLANT, known as BIC Tizon dife: “Mesi ti cheri doudou” a song from his latest album entitled “Kreyòl sings Kreyòl Konpran” . Doc Filah: “Trèv pou amoni”, a song from his album “Akrilik sou twal rezon” – Eunide Edouarin dit (Eud) and Aristor Oberson says (Dad Crazy): “Fòk mwen fete”, a song of their album “Limyè wouj” – Jean Bernard Félicien dit (Hurricane) and Valkency Décembre dit (K-lib): “yon lide”, a song from their album “Knock Out” – Barikad crew , konplèks, bafon plafon “, songs from the album” RED “. To name but a few

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Neefah Song
Biography

Prior to launching her musical career, Neefah got her start by auditioning for the Brooklyn High School of the Arts; a specialized arts school where she majored in vocal music. In addition, she took Music Theory for she believes reading and writing music should be a very important factor in any musicians training.

Neefah excelled in the program and later attended the AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Musical Theater. She also graduated from the Barbizon School of Modeling the same year. Upon both graduations, Neefah began pursuing music full-time.

Stephanie “Neefah” Fontus was born on February 21st in Brooklyn, NY to a Haitian mother and a Haitian and Bahamian father. Her father, a professional bassist didn’t give her much support or encouragement when it came to music and her mother supported his decision because they didn’t want their daughter to make a career in music instead they encouraged her to complete her studies and have a normal and stable life and career. Neefah heeded her parents’ advice however it was in school where she actually found the drive and necessary encouragement that she needed and it came from her music teacher. Through her teaching and mentoring, Neefah finally felt secure enough to pursue her dream in entertainment.

Neefah went on to perform at some very prestigious events and places such as the United Nations, FAME on 42nd Street (Broadway Musical), VH1 Hop Hop Honors where she opened the show, she sang the national anthem at the Yankees’ stadium for the Mets twice to name a few.

With her career looking bright Neefah still felt the need to please her parents and obtain a degree in criminal justice but her heart still remains in music.

Neefah’s musical training and experience may be outside of the Haitian Music Industry’s (HMI) realm, she is no novice to the industry. Neefah’s collaborations include Dola Mizik, Clinton Benoit, Madman JP and Charlot Maitre on lead vocals.

Neefah’s new single entitled “Nobody but you” is officially released and Neefah is currently in the studio adding the finishing touches to her album slated for a Summer release.

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Written by Cheyna Pierre

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Yves Joseph

Yves Joseph

Background vocal

A Native of Petion-Ville, Yves Joseph, better known as Fanfan, is one of the original members of the band. Fanfan started with the band in 1968 playing the congas. In the 80’s, he moved to the front as an additional vocalist in support of Shoubou. The two have formed an impressive singing duo for the last 45 years. Fanfan is, undoubtedly, one of the most important and versatile members of Tabou Combo. Apart from being the band background vocalist, he’s also the band’s manager and main songwriter. Fanfan is a graduate (Cum Laude) from City College with a major in International Relations and a minor in Education. In the Summer of 2000, Fanfan became the first Haitian artist to land an endorsement deal with a major U.S. company when he signed with LATIN PERCUSSION (LP). Fanfan said his most positive experience with Tabou Combo was when the hit single NEW YORK CITY was released. ‘It is a good feeling to hear your songs everywhere you go in Europe, in jukeboxes, major radio stations, and Clubs,’ said Fanfan. ‘The attention you get, the pampering and the fame is unbelievable…’

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Yvon Andre

Yvon Andre

Percussions/Vocal

It was in 1968 when then fifteen year old percussionist Yvon Andre, known to all as Kapi, became a member of Tabou Combo. Back then the young musician had to sneak out of his family’s home in Petion-Ville to play with the band due to the fact that his parents were determined not to let their son become a musician. However, his love for music was too strong to be stopped. Kapi said he could have become anything, but he chose to be a musician because he loves music. It is that love that has motivated him to stay with Tabou Combo for so many years. Kapi is not just a mere percussionist; he’s also a pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. Kapi has penned many of Tabou’s hit songs. He has also written most of the band’s Spanish songs including FIESTA and PANAMA QUERIDA. The latter he co-wrote with Fanfan. Kapi said his most memorable moments as a member of Tabou was in 1998 when he traveled to the Ivory Coast to receive a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Tabou Combo, and again when RFO (French radio/television) honored Tabou Combo in Martinique; those, he said, were historical moments.

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Tabou Combo

BIOGRAPHY

“Rhythm is the essence of Tabou Combo,” says Tabou Combo’s co-founder and ex-drummer Herman Nau. The infectious rhythm of Haiti’s national dance music, Konpa (con-pah), has propelled the country’s preeminent dance band around the world. The 12 members of the band have covered many territories since leaving Haiti and relocating to New York City in 1971. By that time, Tabou had already established itself as Haiti’s number one group, and as the “Ambassadors of Konpa.” Tabou Combo now has worldwide fans and followers from London to Paris, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, South America, throughout the Caribbean and in North America.

It is easy to understand why Tabou Combo’s relentless and high-energy style of Compas dance beat knows no language barrier. Singing in English, Spanish, French or their native Creole, Tabou serves a hot mix of grooves and textures with roots from around the world. You will hear a strong dose of the Dominican Republic’s national dance music, meringue. In addition, there is Haiti’s dance-till-you-drop carnival music, rara, the hypnotic drums of Haitian voodoo rituals. Add to that quadrilles and contra-dances from Haiti’s French colonizers and funk from the American soul era to James Brown for good measure. The mixture of all these influences makes for a serious bass line that brings new meaning to the word bottom; layer upon layer of accents courtesy of drums, percussion and congas; the constant intertwining of two guitars with the feel of West African Soukous topped with bright piano riff and the brassy sound of a 3-man horn section.

Tabou Combo got started in 1968 in Petion-Ville, a town just outside Port-au-Prince, by Albert Chancy and Herman Nau and some friends, all in their teens. They began by naming themselves “Los Incognitos” because they were unknown at that time. They changed to Tabou Combo in 1969, in order to bear a name closer to the Haitian culture. That year, the band won first prize in a televised talent contest, gaining a national reputation in Haiti, and by 1970 it was one of the island’s leading bands. Then the Chancy’s parents stepped in, and Albert, the band’s guitarist, and original, leader was sent to college in Montreal and gave up music. The band dissolved and its members drifted to the United States. Early in 1971, however, an unexpected meeting led to a Tabou reunion with rhythm guitarist Jean-Claude Jean as the leader and the band has been together, with a few changes, ever since.

Employing the repetition and breaks of Afro-American gospel music, TABOU COMBO entices the listener to become listener and dancer. Almost four decades after TABOU COMBO’s establishment, the band has audiences dancing everywhere from concert halls to the streets and in nightclubs around the world. Says Fanfan, the band’s background vocalist and main songwriter, “We want people to dance and forget their sorrows.”

There is no doubt, the music is made for dancing, but Tabou also features lyrics that focus on social issues of the day. For example, the lyrics from the title cut of the group’s 1991 release ZAP ZAP deal with uplifting the image of Haitian people in the wake of bad press connected to the AIDS epidemic.

It was 1974 when the band captured Europe’s attention with its million-selling hit single NEW YORK CITY. Tabou steadily has been building its international followers ever since. The 1989 release, AUX ANTILLES (The Antilles), topped European and Caribbean charts for six consecutive weeks. AUX ANTILLES also won Best Album for Haitian Dance Music at the 1991 1st Annual Caribbean Music Awards at New York City’s famed Apollo Theater. Tabou’s release, KITEM FE ZAFEM (Let Me Do My Things), was voted among Beat Magazine’s Best of 1988. In 1989, KITEM FE ZAFEM, along with ZAP ZAP were used by the film director Jonathan Demme in his movie MYSTERY DATE. The song JUICY LUCY was chosen by French movie maker Maurice Pialat for his movie POLICE (1985). In 2002, world known guitarist Carlos Santana recorded the song MABOUYA (Foo Foo) on his album SHAMAN.

After traveling around the world with Tabou, Fanfan says he has found that people everywhere are all the same and they all love music. TABOU COMBO seduces the people with rhythm that does not let go. Konpa’s unrelenting dance beat is contagious and there are plenty of witnesses. Many of the thousands of TABOU COMBO fans around the world eagerly will testify… that is if they can stop dancing long enough to talk!

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Dat7

Biography

Based out of Hollywood, Florida, Dat7 is a Haitian band with a style deeply rooted in the finest tradition of Compas Direct with Zouk and R&B influences. Dat7 came into existence in late 2014 when former bandmates and longtime friends, Ricot Amazan (conga drums), and Eddy Viau (percussionist), join forces and created the band. They were later joined by Vladimir Alexis (drums), and Olivier Duret (vocalist), to complete the ensemble. Dat7 has created quite a stir since releasing their debut album VERDICT in October of 2015. Having been awarded the “Revelation de L’année 2015” award and the Haitian Academy Award in 2017, Dat7 continues to position itself as one of the most notable new bands, especially for their superb live performances.

Je-veux-M’envoler

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