Four months after Hurricane Matthew devastated southern Haiti, residents say they hope a colorful carnival will bring back tourism and give their economy a much needed boost. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Haiti's National Carnival has brought song and dance to the port town of Les Cayes. But the joy in the streets cannot disguise the desperate need for financial help. It's been four months since Hurricane Matthew devastated the region, killing almost 900 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. Survivors say the town needs to rebuild. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) UNIDENTIFIED CARNIVAL PARTICIPANT, SAYING: "We don't only want to dance. We also want to build. The country is destroyed as can be seen in my area (Tiburon). We are here to send a clear message. If it rains, farmers in general don't know where to sleep." Jude Bonhomme from the department of tourism says the carnival is helping in a big way. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) DIRECTOR DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM IN THE SOUTH, JUDE BONHOMME, SAYING: "Thirty-six hotels were destroyed after Hurricane Matthew passed through the south. Also our beaches and some water streams were affected. But today, we are taking part in the national carnival. We can say the losses were valued at some 14 million dollars. Today, all the hotels are fully booked." One of the pledges of newly elected Haitian President Jovenel Moise is to boost the economy. The people of Les Cayes hope the carnival paves the way for just that.