Connect to share and comment

One dead and hundreds injured at Haiti summer carnival


At least one person was killed and hundreds more injured at Haiti's three-day summer "Carnival of Flowers," which wraps up Tuesday, police and medical sources said.

Police said the death occurred Sunday, when a man in his thirties fell off a float.

And over the three days, some 800 people, including four young children, were treated by emergency services on Sunday and Monday for illness, accidents and knife injuries, according to emergency services.

The generally noncritical injuries were largely due to altercations and the influence of alcohol, they said.

"What's alarming is the many young people, mostly girls, found inebriated. They've consumed alcohol and taken drugs," a medical source said.

Tens of thousands of people participated in the first two days of the carnival, joined by President Michel Martelly, a former singer who has previously presided over the summer festival.

The festivities took place in a large public square near the presidential palace -- which had been destroyed during the country's 2010 earthquake that killed 250,000 people.

Some 6,000 of the country's 10,000 police worked the festival.

"The carnival is a great, popular success. It will promote tourism and provide significant economic benefits," Martelly said.

The president has been criticized by various associations and opposition parties over the carnival, particularly for starting the celebration on July 28, the day Haiti's US occupation began Haiti in 1915.

Martelly has also taken heat for the nearly $2 million spent organizing the event. It is money some say could have been used to help people still living in makeshift shelters three years after the country was ravaged by the earthquake.

Elsewhere, in the capital's Delmas neighborhood, three people were killed and 15 injured Tuesday in an accident involving a garbage truck with failed breaks, according to an official.