The Dominican Republic has closed its borders and stationed its military on all borders with Haiti.  Only medical emergencies are being allowed in to the Dominican Republic.  Most of the passes into the country are 4-8 hours from the impacted area in Haiti.  Because of destroyed infrastructure, the trip is now taking 10- 12 hours.

It was unclear about traffic going the other direction, from the Dominican Republic into Haiti as rescue crews begin to arrive.   There is no air traffic tower at the Port -au- Prince Airport in Haiti.  Landing is possible but crowded and risky.  The harbor is so damaged that ships cannot dock.  Looting has become rampant and buildings are simply too dangerous to enter.  There is a huge risk of disease.   Aid workers are camped at the airport.  The Red Cross office in Port-au-Prince has been destroyed. 

Should the Domincan Republic close its borders to earthquake victims and refugees?  Is this behavior un-humanitarian?  Can the Dominican Republic absorb that many people?  Ethical questions become more immediate in the wake of a national disaster.

UPDATE:  Audio of Washington Post reporter going to Port-au-Prince via the Dominican Republic:


62 Thoughts to “The Dominican Republic Seals Its Borders”

  1. GainesvilleResident

    Getting back to DR sealing it’s borders – one thing on the news is the main prison was demolished by the earthquake, and that has allowed 4500 prisoners to escape!

    Can you imagine what the average prisoner in a Haitian prison must be like? Can you imagine them all of the sudden now out on the streets?

    It’s a small wonder that DR is concerned about not allowing a huge influx of Haitians to get across the border. In the mix might be some of these 4500 prisoners, and I’m sure they are maybe a bit like the “worst of the worst” in our prisons!

  2. That is a truly frightening situation. That’s a lot of criminals on the loose.

  3. GainesvilleResident

    Can you imagine if the very worst of our prisons had something like this happen, where 4500 prisoners escaped? That’s basically what it seems like has happened in Haiti. Imagine the chaos just that is creating, on top of everything else. How many of that 4500 are murderers, rapists, whatever? What a mess.

  4. GainesvilleResident

    Moon-howler :
    I know very little about Haiti, I have to confess. I do know that there are many in this country illegally, right here in PWC even.
    I have only known one couple to vacation in Haiti, back in the 50’s. My favorite cousin and her husband both honeymooned there. They brought me back haitian maracas or however you spell it. I have no idea why they chose Haiti. Do cruise ships even stop there for ports of call?

    Somehow, I kind of doubt any cruise ships stop at Haiti. While I’ve heard it is a beautiful place, the problems they’ve had in recent years would not seem to make it be a desirable vacation destination – when there are many more desirable places (such as Puerto Rico for example) not that far away. It just doesn’t seem like Haiti, with its recent history in past years, would be very high up on the list of Carribean vacation destinations. There’s so many more places to visit in the Carribean, that don’t have Haiti’s problems.

  5. I would think the average tourist might be afraid, if nothing else, just because the reputation the country has.

  6. s.williams

    After Katrina, people inNew Orleans try to seek shelter on the west bank of the parish via the Greater New Orleans Bridge. They were met with the police with guns drawn. too bad we can’t help people without worrying about property instead of human life and shelter.

  7. Lucky Duck

    Haiti was the first place Christopher Columbus actually stopped at in the New World. He stated that it was one of the most beautiful places he had ever witnessed. Quite a compliment from a world traveler. He named it “Hispanola”.

    Unfortunately, that landscape has changed so much. Gone are the trees, the scenic beaches, the beauty. Very few, if any tourists go to Haiti. In fact, its only in recent years that the DR has been able to attract tourists and they visit in the “all inclusive”resorts and are warned not to travel off of the property. With so many other islands in the Carribean – and I have been very fortunate to travel to a great many – Haiti is not a destination nor a thought. Why risk the turmoil or violence when you can go to any number of international Carribean islands that are void of such things?

  8. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    How could I describe Haiti for you, Moon. I suppose the closest example would be southern PWC.

  9. I don’t know where southern PWC is, Slow.

    Lucky Duck, I also understand the same is true of Belize. Don’t go off the compound. DR really has gotten popular. I can remember when that country would not have been considered safe either.

    My cousin and her husband vacationed in Haiti in the 50’s. I have never known another person to go there on a vacation. It just sounds dreadful.

    I have only been to St. Croix and Puerto Rico. Actually the flight sort of took away my will to live. shudder.

  10. Gainesville Resident

    I’ve heard about some of the all-inclusive resorts on certain islands in the Carribean, and indeed, people are told just to stay on the resort, as going outside of it is definitely dangerous.

    I can’t imagine even before this anyone wanting to go to Haiti for a vacation. I doubt they had any tourism industry to speak of.

    I did not know that much of the beautiful trees have been cut down, etc. That’s too bad, as I imagine it indeed was a very beautiful place years ago, or also way back when Columbus saw it.

  11. Lafayette

    Southern PWC is newcomer talk for the eastern end, Moon. 😉

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