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“I’m so angry for what those people did to this country,” said Rosette Francillette, a 55-year-old resident of the lower-income neighborhood of Sandy Grounds, clutching her granddaughter in her arms.“I understand stealing groceries, but these wicked people destroyed everything that wasn’t already destroyed.” The beauty store where she works, called Lipstick, was ransacked, she said, leaving her jobless.A creditor had called, checking on his next payment for the baking equipment he’d bought two years earlier. The oven was filled with seawater when he came to check on his restaurant after the storm. His insurance, he discovered, would not cover anything on the terrace, which was pretty much the entire restaurant. Others, too, have made the difficult choice to abandon their homes, at least temporarily.But he would stay, he had decided, and rebuild what he lost. Christiane Carvigant sat near the makeshift government offices with her three children, ages 17, 16 and 9, as they prepared to evacuate. “It will be a long time before we can live normally again,” she said, “but at least we have our lives.” Ludmen Vincia, a Haitian woman whose children were born in St. Her son, Michael, has special learning needs, and their social worker says he must leave the island to continue studying.“This thing was just so big, I think people believe the death toll has to be higher.” Whatever new form the island takes, tourism will remain the heart of its economy. The storm did not differentiate between the island’s stark socioeconomic differences.Poor areas flooded and suffered the same as the high-cost, pastel-colored communities of Orient Bay.For many, though, the future is confined to making it through the day. The government on the French side has reported an official death toll of 11, but an assessment of the full extent of the islandwide destruction may be weeks or months away.
The sea, an inviting cerulean once again, offered a cruel contrast to the chaotic mess where he sat, alone and facing economic ruin. Thibaud, 48, adjusting the motorcycle gloves he was wearing to clear debris.At a storm shelter in the neighbourhood of Concordia, a motley crew assembled in the emptied classrooms of a converted elementary school.A Dominican mother quietly bathed her children over a drain in the playground, while homeless men reeking of rum stumbled around the hallways and the windswept parking lot.Hourslong lines wind through the port, as families, tourists and migrant workers alike wait for aid, receiving an odd assortment of items that on some days include frozen chicken and a three-pound bag of mozzarella cheese — on an island with no power and few working appliances to cook or refrigerate them.With little phone or internet service, residents rely on chance encounters to learn the fate of their neighbours and loved ones.
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They stopped instantly, threw open the doors, ran into the street and embraced, weeping with relief. Tin roofing and smashed concrete line practically every street and alley, the disembodied bits of what was once a haven.