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Cablegate: Dr-Haiti Border - Chaotic, but Functional

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDG #0019/01 0171803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 171803Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0538
INFO WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHEHWSR/WHITE HOUSE SITUATION ROOM WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0010
RUEHC/USAID WASHDC 0008
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
RUMIESS/SOUTHCOM IESS MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SANTO DOMINGO 000019

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL AMGT ASEC EAID DR HA
SUBJECT: DR-Haiti Border - Chaotic, But Functional

REF: 10 SANTO DOMINGO 92 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) Summary: As of midday 1/17 a variety of American
citizens working in the public hospital in the border town of
Jimani report a disorganized yet functional situation in which
hundreds of displaced Haitians seek, and generally receive, urgent
medical assistance. Witnesses report that they have not seen signs
of tension between the host population and displaced people. There
is an unconfirmed rumor of a Dominican businessman killed in a
relief convoy in Haiti. Key challenges appear to be
poorly-organized assistance and resupply efforts. According to one
Amcit on the scene, a growing concern is that Haitian displaced
have nowhere to go after receiving treatment. The road to
Port-au-Prince from Jimani was reportedly passable, though there
were 'bottlenecks' caused by relief traffic. End summary.

Displaced Receiving Health Care, With Delays

2. (SBU) Amcit witnesses in the Jimani public hospital reported
that as of midday on 1/17 a steady flow of displaced Haitians were
being treated by doctors and nurses from the Dominican Health
Ministry (CESPAS) as well as Haitian and international health care
providers. There were reports of delays in the provision of care -
one source cited a young girl with a serious head wound who waited
four hours for treatment - but the IOM representative in Jimani
said the hospital was not hopelessly overtaxed.

3. (SBU) Witnesses also reported that nurses were carefully
managing supplies of scarce commodities, like saline, but that
bottled water was widely available. Resupply efforts by local
authorities, GoDR entities, and relief workers were reportedly
disorganized and infrequent; Amcit witnesses characterized the
relief effort in Jimani as poorly coordinated. One witness cited a
strong need for Haitian-Creole translators.

Road to Port-au-Prince Open; DR Entries Steady; Some Enter Haiti

4. (SBU) The route to Port-au-Prince was reportedly passable,
though bottlenecks due to relief traffic were creating delays of up
to an hour at the border crossing point, and disorganized relief
convoys were creating further delays. The IOM rep in Jimani
reported that the GoDR civil defense forces were providing security
for twice-daily runs to Port-au-Prince at 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
local time, though they usually ran late.

5. (SBU) Sources characterized the daily flow of approximately
500 migrants across the border as steady. Some of these migrants
may be normally resident in the Dominican Republic and are
returning from checking on family in Haiti. The IOM rep in Jimani
said that she was hearing reports that the crossings at Dajabon and
Pedernales were calm. She also said she was seeing a flow of
travelers into Haiti, as some successfully treated victims return
to Haiti and as Dominican residents of Haitian origin head to Haiti
in search of missing relatives. (Note: some IOM sources say the
flow from the DR to Haiti is greater than the flow in the opposite
direction. End note.)

No Tension Evident in Jimani; Rumor of Attack on Dominican Relief
Team

6. (SBU) Though Amcit witnesses in the Jimani hospital said they
were not seeing signs of tension between displaced persons and the
local population, there were persistent rumors, repeated by Amcit
witnesses and the IOM rep in Jimani, that a Dominican businessman
who had organized a relief convoy was killed in Haiti as well as
another one wounded.

7. (U) Minimize considered.
Lambert

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