Flour mill destroyed in Haiti earthquake

by Josh Sosland
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — Les Moulins d’Haiti, flour mill located in Port-Au-Prince, was destroyed yesterday in the devastating earthquake that was centered just outside the densely populated capital of Haiti.

According to local news accounts and trade sources, Les Moulins, the only flour mill in the country, was leveled by the quake. Casualty figures were not immediately available, but several employees were believed to have been trapped in the rubble.

The destruction of the flour mill will make even more difficult addressing a humanitarian situation already of massive proportions. Other milling companies have begun to inquire ways to be of assistance.

The mill is owned as a partnership between the government of Haiti and three private companies including Continental Grain Co. and Seaboard Corp.

The mill had daily capacity of 14,300 cwts and about 900,000 bus of grain storage capacity.

Adding poignancy to the mill’s ruin, the facility had survived a number of serious challenges over the past two decades. Les Moulins de Haiti had been closed for seven years because of a coup and subsequent embargo when Seaboard and Continental acquired a stake in the facility in 1998. The companies spent more than $10 million bringing the mill back into working condition and renovating the milling complex.

In the years that followed, mill operations were interrupted on several occasions by severe civil unrest in Haiti as well as several devastating hurricanes there, only to bounce back and resume operations.

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