Sunday, January 11, 2009
Haiti is in a gas crisis. Last week, all the gas stations in Port-au-Prince stopped selling gasoline. The cause was unclear - some say that it was simply due to a fuel shortage. Others, however, told me that the government had ordered gas companies to lower the cost of a gallon of gasoline from $6 (US) to about $2 (US) and that the companies had refused. To force the government to repeal the order, the companies just shut down the pumps or only allowed small amounts of gas to be sold.
Whatever the reason, things were rather hairy for a few days. A mile up the road, our local gas station had to close down because people starting rioting over the rationed gasoline. In Gonaives, people parked their cars in the street in queues stretching a quarter mile in both directions and lined up on foot to receive 1 gallon. At Dorothy's, we were down to our last 1/8th of a tank with doctor's appointments to go to, water that needed to bought, and a friend who needed pick-up from the airport. Somehow, we managed to go everywhere we needed to go, and on Friday, we miraculously filled our tank at a gas station on Delmas 75. Things are better in parts of the capital now, but transportation in the provinces and the outlying cities will be a challenge for at least another week.