Updated 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
We have reached Beth Macy by phone and she and the team from Angel Missions Haiti have reached Gonaives and are near their destination, and safety. They ran into numerous roadblocks along the way, but had some hired Haitians and experienced missionaries along who helped talk their way through. Beth and the medical team she’s been covering are ready for some rest.
Updated 2:45 p.m. Tuesday
Beth Macy reports via Facebook that the medical team she is covering in Haiti has left Bon Samaritain Hospital in Limbe and is traveling in a truck to Gonaives, a city on the western coast. The trip could take up to three hours and the truck is likely to encounter a number of roadblocks along the way.
Beth wrote that she expects the group will spend the night there at a mission base before driving back to Port-au-Prince tomorrow.
The Angel Missions Haiti physicians and others accompanied by Roanoke Times reporter Beth Macy have been on lockdown at Bon Samaritain Hospital in Limbe, Haiti, since Monday afternoon. Unrest, including riots and shootings, in nearby Cap-Hatien, has delayed the medical mission team’s originally scheduled departure.
Haitians are rioting out of frustration over the spreading cholera outbreak. Many blame poor sanitation by a contingent of U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal for the outbreak of the water-borne disease, and U.N. troops exchanged gunfire with protesters in Quartier Morin, near Cap-Haitien, leaving one Haitian dead, the Associated Press reported. Quartier Morin is located about 22 miles from the hospital. A U.N. spokeswoman called such allegations “misinformation,” the AP reported. Other U.N. officials said the riots are being used by political parties to whip up passions ahead of the Nov. 28 presidential election.
The roads are too dangerous to get the team to a landing zone for a United National helicopter to evacuate them. Meanwhile, the U.N. has halted helicopter flights because of the deteriorating conditions, Beth reports.
So Beth and the mission team are left to wait in the hospital compound, which is gated and strung with barbed wire.
She reported this scene from early this morning: “Rioters throwing stones at the hospital gate at 3 a.m., screaming from the streets, singing and chanting, and — just now — “Merci,” from Chago, whose baby died yesterday and who came back to ask for money to bury his boy.”
Beth reports members of Angel Missions still in Port-au-Prince are working the phones to try to come up with some other way to evacuate the team from Limbe.