PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) — Haitian police authorities said on Monday that one person was killed and 183 others wounded during a three-day carnival parade launched on Sunday in the Haitian capital, with slogans promoting the Caribbean country’s environment and culture.
The police director for the West region, Michaelange Gédéon, said a carnival-goer, in his early thirties, Jean Noel Cerisier, died on Sunday when he fell off the float of a musical group that rolled over him. The float belonged to the group Ambiance.
“It seems that he was drunk. He was killed after he fell off the float and that is the only death we registered,” Gédéon told HCNN in an interview. “183 people received slight injuries after falling on the ground or after being hit and a good number of them were taken to the hospital for respiratory problems or after feeling faint,” Gédéon said.
Hundreds of thousands of people participated on Sunday in the carnival, known as Carnival of Flowers (Carnaval des Fleurs), with emphasis on the need to protect the environment and reforest the country that has now less than 2% tree coverage.
Haitian President Michel Martelly called on Haitians to plant trees in great numbers to reforest the country, as he declared 2013, the year of the environment in Haiti.
“One person, one tree! That’s the slogan for the carnival this year, because we want all Haitians to feel that they have a responsibility to plant trees instead of cutting them,” Martelly told reporters on Monday, as he prepared to attend the parade in the Champs-de-Mars area where the carnival in taking place.
The festivities continued on Monday evening and were due to end Tuesday night. This carnival parade is the second one organized this year. The first one was held in February, in the country’s second largest city of Cap-Haitien, in the Northern region.
Some 13 musical groups are taking part in the parade, and allegorical floats, reflecting the beauty and the originality of the Haitian culture and traditions, were also seen.