A fatal bus accident in southern Haiti has left 23 people dead, with 32 injuries reported thus far. The crash, which took place on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, allegedly happened when the driver of the bus lost control on a coastal road in the town of Petit-Goave, causing the bus to veer off the roadway and into a ravine below. Petit-Goave is located in the Ouest Department region of Haiti, some 40 miles southwest of the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince.
Officials from Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency report that the bus was en route to the city of Jeremie when the crash took place. The injured parties were transported to local hospitals via ambulance and helicopter. There are some reports of the hospitals becoming overloaded due to the large influx of new emergency patients that the crash has caused, and having difficulty with rendering the treatment the injured parties need due to being ill-equipped to deal with such a large-scale incident and severely understaffed. The gravity of the injuries sustained by those who were hurt in the crash is not clear at this time.
Haitian prime minister Laurent Lamothe has expressed “deep sadness” over the accident, and has stated that investigation into the cause of the crash will remain ongoing. Road traffic safety is a significant concern in the country of Haiti, where the integrity of the roadways is often questionable at best. After the devastating earthquake that hit the nation in 2010 and killed nearly 300,000 of its denizens, the quality of many roadways in Haiti has suffered and—lacking funds for proper repair and maintenance—the roads have yet to be repaired to a standard that ensures traffic safety.
The desperate need for road repair and maintenance in Haiti is one that is nationwide, and although there are some projects currently underway to initiate these much-needed repairs, most of the country’s roadways remain treacherous and due to the unstable political climate within the nation at this time, it is unclear whether these road-repair projects will continue—or if they do, for how long. There are few guardrails on Haitian roads, road paving may be cracked and diminished, and flooding of the roadways is common in this island nation. When you add buses that are filled well beyond capacity to this mix, the results can be tragic, leading to loss of life and serious injury.