Haiti’s Fuel Shortage and Potential Crisis

28Jan19

My resolution for 2019 is to write more updates, so I’ll start today.
However, I think one of the hardest things for me to encapsulate in a blog post is the complexity of life here.
As such, I’m going to try to stick to single-topic posts rather than giving a complete update each time.

Today’s topic is the logistical nightmare hanging over the entire country this year, our Fuel Supply.

About three weeks ago, Anderson came to the house and told me that Jacmel was running out of gasoline. This isn’t a completely abnormal occurance; Jacmel runs out of

fuel 3-4 times a year for various reasons. Usually it’s just that there was a road block or a truck was behind schedule. So Ander went and sat in line for a few hours

and bought us enough fuel to last a couple days, as that’s how long a typical shortage lasts.

Unfortunately, the news finally broke a few days later that this fuel shortage will affect all fuels, not just gasoline, and it may be a perpetual situation for a

while. Haiti’s government imports all of the fuel for the country, then sells it to distributors. Unfortunately, they have also run out of any kind of credit status

with the fuel companies so they have to pay cash up front for each ship to deliver fuel. Apparently, the distributors are behind on their payments to the government by

about US$80 million. So there were multiple ships parked in the bay outside Port Au Prince that would not unload until they were paid, while the country was running on

fumes. This meant that there were significant reductions in how much power the electric company put out, it caused major telecommunications issues as the cell phone

companies couldn’t keep their towers running without generators, and it meant that people and goods couldn’t get around the country as needed.
Within a week, they worked out a deal to get those 3 ships unloaded, but the issue remains unresolved.

Last summer, the government made the foolish decision to raise fuel prices by up to 40% overnight. This, predictably, results in major protests all around the country

until the government backed down and rescinded their price increase. Unfortunately, this price hike is neccesary. Haiti has had a fuel subsidy in place for over a

decade, meaning that each tanker that unloads costs the government a significant amount more than what they sell it for. They don’t have the money to continue this

policy, and now we see that this lack of money has led to a lack of fuel all around.

So, until this gets resolved, we will live under the spectre of either (a) a long term fuel shortage, or (b) a significant price hike in fuel, but since the government

does not work transparently, we will not have any indications that this will be happening until it hits.

Please pray for Haiti. I don’t know how this can be resolved on a national level, so pray that the leadership would have the wisdom to sort this out well, and that the

populace would respond well to their decisions.
For us, we have purchased some more solar panels, and plan to purchase more batteries when we get some more money, in an attempt to reduce our dependence on fuel.

We will also be putting a new roof on our house to try to reduce out the temperature indoors each day without having a perpetual fuel cost, as we currently run a

generator to provide A/C a couple hours each night that EDH (city power) doesn’t show up, which is typically every other night.

If anyone wants to help with these projects, let me know. The batteries are purely a funding issue, and I think we may have funds soon, but first I have to finish the

sepctic tank so we will have a functional toilet in the shop for the first time, and we need to try to get vehicles running again, because we only have 1 of the 4

functional as of this morning.

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One Response to Haiti’s Fuel Shortage and Potential Crisis

  1. Gretchen says:

    Doesn’t sound like there is a simple solution for Haiti’s fuel crisis, at least one that everyone will be happy about. Wow! I will definitely be praying for Haiti and for you guys that your vehicles will get running again and the construction of the roof goes well.
    Working on getting a septic tank up and running does not sound like fun to me but you got to do what you got to do. Thank you for the card and for the carved nativity. Love it! Although Christmas has passed, it will be on display in my house year round . Thanks so much!

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