SWELLING LAKE ERASES HAITI-DOMINCAN BORDER
(Dominican Today) -
Mal Passe, Haiti- Haitian leader Toussaint Louverture’s historical statement “the island is one and indivisible” as the pretext for his troops to invade the eastern portion of Hispaniola island in 1821 materializes 200 years later, at least at the southwest border.
The swelling Sumatre (Azuei Lake) has erased the line dividing Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as the waters have submerged the marker pyramids built along the border points between the two nations, with only number 239 still visible.
The lake also threatens the villages “La 39 and La 40”, two communities of Haitians in Dominican territory, where inhabitants live off the sale of the charcoal they take to Haitian territory aboard sailboats.
The swelling of Azuei’s 115 square kilometers has also destroyed plantations of Dominican farmers and threatens to spread to communities as far away as Tierra Nueva.
Since last year its waters had washed out the highway which links the town Jimaní with Haitian territory, which prompted the Dominican government, with the support of local businesses, to raise the highway nearly two meters. Across the border the Haitian authorities did the same.
But the lake still grows and has submerged the Customs, Immigration, and Agriculture Ministry and the offices of other Dominican government agencies.
Ovidio Dotel who runs one of the companies and is head of the Binational Market Retailers Association, said they’ve already spent around RD$25 million in landfill in this place, without a solution in sight.
“Look where we are, in a second floor. We were down there and now that has been buried,” said the merchant quoted by news source listin.com.do.
The lake’s continuing growth is forcing a second transfer of the government agencies, now being built on the higher grounds south of Jimaní, where Caribe Tours and Terra Bus also have erected their terminals; in addition to others that ply the Port-au-Prince transport route.
The Dominican Government also provided land for many Haitian vendors to build their warehouses or install their containers to transport merchandise to Port-au-Prince.
Further into Dominican territory there’s also the concern that the water of Azuey, located 55 meters above Enriquillo Lake, will eventually reach the basin hastening its swelling, blamed on the soil’s lack of moisture retention, lost to decades of rampant deforestation.