Haitian Villages slowly vanish as Lake Azuei grows

Since 2003, Haiti's Lake Azuei has risen 10 meters to its current elevation of 30. It has also grown to more than twice its original size since 2004 from 155 km2 to 354 km2. A study by students and faculty from City College of New York, who have used environmental equipment to monitor the lake, has gathered evidence, including satellite imagery, which shows that the Lake, once contained solely in Haiti, has now breached the border in the Dominican Republic by a few kilometers.


Interviews taken of the locals, including teachers, fishermen, politicians and farmers shows that not only some have been affected. Knowing the cause of the rising of the lake should aid officials in finding a means to stop it, as the current trend of relocation is only a temporary, wholly untenable fix.

Many have lost their lands, farms and animals to the waterline which rises at a slow, menacing pace, and the speculated causes range from recent, heavy rainfall, to blockages by trash or sediment deposited in the lake by wide-scale deforestation.

While there is still no consensus on the cause, the facts are the same; the waters continue to rise and people to lose their homes and livelihoods, and the three-mile gap between Lake Azuei and a neighboring lake in the Dominican Republic, also on the rise, is growing ever narrower. The dire consequences of this is previewed each time heavy rainfall merges the two and blocks off the major highway between the two countries causing disruption to the work of people who cross the border daily to conduct business.

The City College team will return in a few months to disclose what they find to Haitian officials, whose recent interest in the matter was emphasized when Prime Minister Lamothe visited the site recently.

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