Haiti



Asnycnow Radio Will Continue to Update This Page on The Latest Developments from Haiti until the people of Haiti are comfortable in homes with plenty to eat. Updated by Asnycnow Editorial Staff

Last Update 12 January 2011

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France 24 Report: Dreadful life for Haitian women, assailants walk scot-free

ByGaëlle LE ROUX(text)

Life is dreadful for women and young girls living in Haiti’s sprawling refugee camps, which are home to at least two million earthquake survivors.

“The situation in the camps is really bad. Sexual assaults are a daily occurrence,” says Yolande Bazelais, vice president of FAVILEK (Fanm victim levé kanpé, or Rape Victims, Rise to Take Action), an aid organisation for rape victims. Founded in 1994, the association has 850 members in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

THE NEVER-ENDING FIGHT AGAINST CHOLERA IN HAITI’S SLUMS
In Haiti, rape has often been used as a tool of political repression. It was only in 2005 that rape was declared a criminal offence. But the situation for women became unbearable after the devastating quake on January 12, 2010. At least250 cases of sexual aggression were reportedwithin the five months after the earthquake, but most activists believe that the actual number of victims is significantly higher.
Dark, jittery nights
Anxiety sets in as soon as darkness descends upon the camps. Lack of security in the obscure dimly lit camps and the freedom perpetrators enjoy makes life a nightmare for more than half a million women and young girls living there.
At night, armed men rip open tents with their knives, rape women, beat them and take away whatever few belongings they possess. Victims often come under attack at water spouts and toilets, which are located at a distance from the camps or in the isolated narrow corridors between the tents.
Last week, 21-year-old Barbara was attacked in broad daylight in a cemetery. “I was forced to enter the cemetery and I fell unconscious […] when I regained consciousness, I was naked,” she recounted. “There were two men. They told me they molested me because they had to make a sacrifice to the devil (a Voodoo ritual),” Barbara explained in a barely audible voice.
Syndicate contentREPORTERS
FAVILEK aid workers rushed Barbara to the hospital for medical examination. Barbara will be spending a few days at the FAVILEK centre. “It’s important that she talks about her experience and meets other women who went through a similar ordeal. She needs to realise that she isn’t a lone victim,” says Yolande, also a rape victim. She was molested by a group of military soldiers “on 07 May 2003” – a date etched in her memory forever.
Assailants walk away scot-free
Yolande’s assailants didn’t face a single trial. Nor will Barbara’s. The latter could not identify her attackers and she will not file a case with the police like in most rape cases. “When the country’s judicial system is not functioning, the police are inefficient to the point that it does not even register complaints related to sexual aggression, it is discouraging for women who want to take action against criminals,” explains Gerardo Ducos, a researcher for Amnesty International.
In most cases, victims who try to take legal action face a deadly backlash.  “A mother and her daughter were killed after they filed a complaint against the assailants,” says Marie-Esther Félix, a lawyer working closely with FAVILEK. In the past six months, she has managed to send only five perpetrators to prison. In 2005, rape was made a criminal offence with a minimum 10 years in prison. However, none of the five men will spend more than five years behind bars. “The judges, mostly men, lack information about this law,” explains Gerardo.
In the months ahead, some victims may see their attackers go to prison, but many more will continue to suffer their ordeals in silence.

Haiti’s year of misery ends with cholera toll still rising

Haiti’s cholera death toll has soared in recent days with 3,333 people dead, official figures showed Thursday, including a one-day record high for the daily number of fatalities since the outbreak erupted in mid-October.
The new data up to December 26 of 432 more recorded deaths compared with previous Haitian health ministry data marked a major jump in fatalities, although it was unclear exactly when they occurred.
The number of confirmed cholera deaths on December 19 alone was just over 100, the new data showed, far higher than previous peaks around 80 in mid-November.
More recently, the death tolls have returned to previous averages of around 50 new reported deaths each day.
The total number of infections soared towards 150,000 in Haiti and authorities in neighboring Dominican Republic said Thursday there have been 139 cases there, none of them fatal.
Haiti’s first cholera outbreak in more than a century has poured further misery on a poor and politically dysfunctional country trying to recover from a devastating January earthquake that killed some 250,000 people.
The epidemic, which began in October, spawned deadly anti-UN riots last month as some turned their anger on peacekeepers from Nepal accused of bringing the disease into the country.
Experts say the outbreak was likely sparked by a human source from outside the region and the United Nations has promised a thorough investigation into the origin of the epidemic.
Angry mobs in the deeply superstitious nation have stoned or hacked to death at least 45 people — most of them voodoo priests — accusing them of spreading the water-borne bacterial infection.
Cholera, which causes potentially deadly cases of diarrhea, often strikes in poor countries where there is a high danger of an epidemic due to inadequate sanitation and limited access to clean water.
The Pan-American Health Organization in early December estimated Haiti could see up to 400,000 cholera cases over the next 12 months, half of them within three months alone.
The epidemic comes against the backdrop of deep political uncertainty.
Flawed first round elections November 28 to find a successor to President Rene Preval are to be the subject of a recount monitored by international observers.

My Dream the New Haiti

Haiti cholera outbreak stabilizing 26 October 2010

Haitian authorities appear to be containing the spread of cholera – which has so far killed 260 people – but the UN is preparing for a nationwide outbreak, saying it’s possible that tens-of-thousands of people could become infected.

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Citizen Protests, Government Repression Mount in Haiti

by Beverly Bell

“I came to protest so we can find a solution. Misery is killing me,” said Mascarie Sainte-Anne, 70, at the edge of a rally in front of Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive’s office on October 12.

[A police officer chases a student during a protest last week in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Demonstrators clashed with U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police during protests to demand improvements to a quake-damaged school building. (AP / Ramon Espinosa)]A police officer chases a student during a protest last week in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Demonstrators clashed with U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police during protests to demand improvements to a quake-damaged school building. (AP / Ramon Espinosa)

Haitians have been taking to the streets with increasing frequency since August in calls for redress of the economic and social crisis which has followed the earthquake. The social movements’ demands of the government include the right of those living in internally displaced people’s camps to permanent, humane housing; accessible education; and an increase in minimum wage. Rallies have also protested the continued presence of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH.Throughout Haitian history, state repression has often accompanied protests, and that pattern has repeated twice in the past week. Haitian police have killed one demonstrator and beaten a handful of others.

On October 15, according to video footage and to witness Melinda Miles of Let Haiti Live, about 200 people were marching in front of the U.N. logistics base when MINUSTAH forces fired two bullets in the air and leveled their guns at demonstrators. A MINUSTAH vehicle and a second UN car pushed three foreign journalists and at least two Haitian demonstrators into a ditch. Haitian police then began striking demonstrators and journalists, including foreigners Sebastien Davis-VanGelder and Federico Matias, with the butts of their rifles. A policeman bashed his rifle into the mouth of a demonstrator from the Kanarin camp, knocking out his front teeth.

“There was no provocation at all. The Haitian police and the private UN security guards were so aggressive. They were just looking to do violence,” said Miles.

On October 8, demonstrators were in front of the Ministry of Education, peacefully calling for education for the nation’s students, when Haitian riot police fired tear gas. Jean Louis Filbert (his name also reported as Jean Filbert Louis), a math teacher and member of the teachers’ union, was hit in the head with a tear gas canister. He died in the hospital the next day. Jean Pierre Edouard, who was not involved with the rally but had gone to the ministry simply to pick up a certificate, was also hit in the head.

One recent protest focus is also the principal concern of citizens today: permanent housing and other support for the estimated 1.5 million people who lost their homes in the earthquake and who still languish in tents or under tarps nine months later. No authority has told this group what their fates will be. Their shelters, usually made of plastic or nylon, are variously sweltering in the daytime heat and wet and muddy in the torrential night rains. Protection against thieves and rapists is non-existent. According to an extensive new study, 40% of camps have no water, 30% have no toilets, and only 20% have access to education, medical care, or psychological support. With near-total unemployment; with food aid suspended since April; and with virtually no outside assistance; hunger, illness, and poverty are on the rise.

“Tighten our belts, we can’t take it any more,” loudly sang Sainte-Anne and 200 or so others in front of the prime minister’s office on October 12. “Tighten our belts” is not a metaphor in Haiti; it refers to the belts or ropes that people bind tightly around their waists in an attempt to dull hunger pangs.

The demonstrators continued their call-and-response chant:

“Heat under the tarps is brutal, we can’t take it any more.
We have fever, we can’t take it any more.
We’re being raped, we can’t take it any more.
We have no water, we can’t take it any more.
We have infections, we can’t take it any more.”

This was the third demonstration for a response to massive homelessness in as many months. “Each rally has been larger than the last,” said Reyneld Sanon, a leader with the Force for Reflection and Action on Housing (FRAKKA). “People are starting to stand up for their right to housing that is, after all, guaranteed by the constitution.” The protests are convened by a coalition including a housing rights group, a human rights group,[3] and committees of camp residents.

Sainte-Anne said, “I’m old, I’m going to die, but I don’t want it to be from hunger. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have children. I’ve been sleeping in the street since my house in Martissant fell flat. The government has to do something.”

At least three recent demonstrations, led by labor groups and grassroots organizations, have called for raising the minimum wage from $3.20 (125 gourdes) a day for export assembly work to $12.82 a day (500 gourdes). Last year, after the Parliament passed legislation to raise the minimum wage for all workers, factory owners complained to President René Préval. He refused to implement the law. Instead, a compromise agreement raised the salary of factory workers producing for export to only $3.20 a day. “You couldn’t live on that before the earthquake.  But costs have risen so much since then, it’s really impossible now,” said Gerome Dupervil, an advocate for workers’ rights.

Another series of rallies has taken place on October 1, 14, and 15 in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.N. logistics base. Demonstrators were protesting the annual renewal of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which has been here since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s ouster in 2004. The force includes almost 12,000 armed personnel. Its current annual budget is $380 million.

MINUSTAH troops have been charged with killings, arbitrary arrests, and human rights violations. They are currently suspected in the death by hanging of a young man, Gerald Jean Gilles, in the courtyard of a MINUSTAH base in Cap-Haïtien on August 17.  MINUSTAH personnel claimed that the youth killed himself, a fact disputed by family and friends.

Activists interviewed say their call for MINUSTAH’s departure is based on the force’s violence, its ineffectiveness in accomplishing its mission, the waste of money, and the undemocratic and colonial nature of the operation in a sovereign nation. The actions have been convened by a coalition including a media network, human rights and housing rights groups, and committees from various camps.

Asked what she and others in Haiti’s social movement want, Jetty Jenet said, “We’re calling out for help to make the authorities hear us.  We’re all dying.” For nine months, Jetty has had no income and has lived with her children under a plastic tarp in Cité Soleil. “But we’re people, too.”

submitted by @DBSchell  Thank you, DB!

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/10/18-3

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Haiti Help-A-Thon Text, Phone and Tweet to support Save the Children’s Relief Efforts in Haiti.

Haiti Relief

Ways to participate (text, phone or tweet)

Hours of your time

Cell Phone

Equals a HUGE difference. Haiti Help-A-Thon.

Thank you for your support of Save the Children’s Emergency Response in Haiti by

participating in our Haiti Help-A-Thon. Your participation is making it possible for us to provide support to initiate and sustain work that will focus on the immediate needs of children and their survival and rapid recovery. Thank you for making a difference!

You can Download the Save the Children School Fundraising Toolkit from the Community

Fundraising Section of www.savethechildren.org.  Here is some of the information available there.

Checklist

  • If you are under 18 years of age, ask your parents or guardian for permission to participate in the Help-A-Thon.
  • Decide if you will text, phone or tweet your friends and family to raisemoney for Save the Children’s relief effort in Haiti.
  • If you are calling, collect phone numbers of friends and family you know who may be interested in donating. Review your facts (at the end of this document) so that you will be well informed on Save the Children’s response efforts in Haiti.
  • Call your prospective donors and inform them on Save the Children’s work. Ask if they would be willing to make a pledge to Save the  Children’s efforts.
  • Tell them how they can fulfill their pledge: >>Check: Email tthe Help-A-Thon donation form to your supporter and ask them to return to mail with the check to Save the Children. >>Text Message: Ask your supporters to text the word SAVE to phone number 20222. $10 will be charged to the cell phone account. Callers can text up to three times from the same cell phone. Standard text messaging rates apply. (US only)

Save the Children Haiti Help-A-Thon

Text, Phone and Tweet to support Relief Efforts in Haiti

§ Credit Card, three ways to donate by credit card:

1. Ask your supporters to visit www.savethechildren.org/haitifund

2. Have them call Save the Children at 1-800-728-3843 to give their information over the phone

3. Email the Haiti Help-A-Thon donation form to your supporter and ask them mail it to Save the Children

  • >>If you are texting collect cell phone numbers of friends and family you know who may be interested in donating. Text the word SAVE to phone number 20222. $10 will be charged to the cell phone account. Callers can text up to three times from the same cell phone. Standard text messaging rates apply(US Only) . Forward the message on to friends.
  • >>If you are tweeting, tweet your friends and family and ask them to donate to Save the Children.
  • Tell your friends on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter how many pledges you have raised. Post your success stories on Save the Children’s Facebook wall!
  • Write a thank you to your friends and family who have pledged their support.
  • Mail all donation forms to  Save the Children c/o Gift Processing 54 Wilton Road Westport, CT 06880

Do’s and Don’ts:

DO ask permission to participate if you are under 18 years old.

DO provide information about Save the Children’s specific role in relief

efforts. Visit our website www.savethechildren.org that has the most up to

date information regarding our response efforts.

DO use this opportunity to generate interest and awareness of the current state of the relief effort and the importance of each contribution.

DO create an environment of compassion and respect. Each potential donor should feel valued and important.

DO ask politely and thank your supporters for their time even if they are unable to make a pledge

DO provide Save the Children’s contact information whenever asked.

DO NOT pressure potential donors to give money.

DO NOT make statements about which you are uncertain.

Know the Facts and Stay Informed

• At 5 p.m. on January 12, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale

struck the impoverished island nation of Haiti. It was centered 15 miles from

the capital of Port-Au-Prince. The earthquake is believed to be the country’s

worst in 200 years.

• Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1985, primarily in Port-au-Prince

and the Central Plateau region, providing health, education, protection and

food security programs to vulnerable children.

• Save the Children staff in Port-Au-Prince began assessing children’s needs

immediately after the earthquake and continue to do so.

• To the extent Save the Children can determine, all sponsored children in our

sponsor program area of Massaide to the north of Port-Au-Prince are safe.

• Save the Children has released funds from an endowment fund to begin

providing immediate assistance to children and families.

• As in any disaster, children are especially vulnerable. They are at increased

risk of diseases. Those children whose families are homeless are exposed to

the elements and in need of temporary shelter.

• Save the Children is also concerned that some children may be separated from their families, and we are prepared to begin reunification programs as needed.

• All children in the affected area have experienced a great shock and are likely to be very stressed and in need of emotional support now and for manymonths to come. Save the Children has significant expertise and experience in caring for the emotional needs of children in emergency situations.

• Save the Children will be addressing such immediate needs as food, clean water and other essential materials that children and families need to survive these first days after the disaster.

• Save the Children is also planning to help protect children through hygiene programs.

• Your support is critical – Save the Children will be working nonstop for children in Haiti for many months and is seeking private support for our relief and recovery efforts.

• Your gift, pooled with other support, will help us deliver aid to children and

families in and around Port-Au-Prince and reach them with other urgently needed activities such as child protection and health care, and education when Save the Children is ready to transition its work from relief to recovery.

For the most up-to-date information on Save the Children’s response, visit our

website at www.savethechildren.org . If you have any questions, please email getinvolved@savechildren.org.

Thank you again for your support of Save the Children’s relief efforts and those affected by this catastrophe.

54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT 06880

1.800.SAVETHECHILDREN www.savethechildren.org

Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children USA also is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance, a global network of 27 independent Save the Children organizations working to ensure the well-being and protection of children in more than 120 countries.

Thank you for supporting Save the Children’s Emergency Response in Haiti.

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Haiti Contour Canals with Velvetier Grass to fight erosion. VOA ~ S. Baragona

“Rebuilding Haiti must start from the ground up, with agricultural education.”

Are you a member of FFA, 4-H or run a farm yourself?

Mike at Haiti Reconstruction is looking for people who can help with the chicken project in Haiti. Here is his email.

I am looking for any member who has worked on any chicken project to increase their production of eggs and meat in Haiti.  What ever your group has tried what works, what hasn’t.  If we should look more at how we raise or feed them, or best program to increase their food value.  I have been asked if we have any information on a chicken project and believe this would be a great short term project to provide them with another tool to feed themselves and produce more food!  I will make new pages on a new section Produce more meat!  plus any other ideas anyone thinks we should add to our site.  Please send me a message.    Thanks, Mike

PS: I am also interested in chicken production myself for the area I am working.

You can reach Mike here.

http://haitireconstruction.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

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Eight Days cover Edwidge Danticant

Scholastic is donating $10,000 to the IRC in connection with the September publication of Eight Days: A Story of Haiti, an illustrated book by acclaimed author Edwidge Danticat about a resilient boy trapped under his house for eight days after the January 2010 earthquake. Scholastic and Danticat are working with the IRC to raise awareness about the ongoing needs of children in Haiti.

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Haiti camp of tents still in use. UNICEF photo

Haiti, 2010: People displaced by the 12 January earthquake move into the Tabarre Issa camp, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. They have been relocated from camps at high risk of flooding and landslides during hurricane season. United Nations agencies and partners continue to distribute thousands of tons of shelter items to those in need. Over 1.3 million people remain displaced at the peak of the storm season.

© UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne

via Twitter @UNICEF Haiti, 2010: People displaced by the 12 January earthquake move into the Tabarre Issa camp, on the outskirts of Po http://twitpic.com/2odedv

http://www.unicef.org/

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Haiti braces for storm disaster
Approaching Tropical Storm Gaston worries thousands of earthquake victims, who are still living in makeshift shelters.
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2010 04:12 GMT

Haiti may soon find itself in the path of a storm taking shape in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Weather forecasters have said that Tropical Storm Gaston could become a hurricane and threaten the island by next week.

But with thousands of people still living in makeshift tents after January’s earthquake, Haitian officials say a direct hit from a major storm could have catastrophic consequences on the population.

Al Jazeera’s Sebastian Walker reports from the capital, Port-au-Prince. Video.

 

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Haiti Reconstruction

“Connecting like-minded people who want to help the people of Haiti reconstruct their land and livelihood.”

Video made by SOIL: Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods. It is a great compostable toilet that not only helps health and sanitation of the people but provides a lot of valuable fertilizer and conserves valuable H2O.

More about Haiti Reconstruction:Rebuilding Haiti must start from the ground up, with agricultural education. Check them out! Good, smart people. Mike Mahowald blogs for Haiti Reconstruction on ning.

We are inviting any volunteers who are trying to improve the conditions in Haiti to our social networking organization, especially members of sister parish or church sponsored groups, aid workers, and NGO’s.

Our mission is to connect all our efforts into one powerful force to empower the people of Haiti to become self-sufficient.  Our emphasis is on a long-term project which create fertile soil so they can grow more food while stabilizing the land and reforesting the hillsides.  We also want to help with income-generating community projects that fit this criteria:
■Conserves their resources
■Increases food supply and getting them to market
■Improve health of population with healthier foods that provide needed vitamins
■Clean water and sanitation
Our philosophy is educating and providing them with the tools they need to start up projects, not free handouts that may create dependencies.
We only help with projects that are asked for or adopted by the groups as their own.
We use proven methods and latest technology.
We look for long-term solutions that conserves for future generations.
We take ideas and criticisms; we improve ourselves with our member’s suggestions

Another video added by Mike Mahowald on July 28, 2010 at 8:00pm Earthquake damage in some of the chapel areas, tent city at Mathew 25 Port au Prince, Gris Gris school and children.

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Eurasian Minerals, Inc. Building Wealth via Prospect

Generation and Strategic Investment

in the World’s Mineral Belts

Projects in Haiti The geology of Haiti is prospective exploration terrain for epithermal gold-silver as well as copper-gold porphyry deposits, and consists of preserved remnants of a Cretaceous island arc assemblage situated along the northern margin of the Caribbean Plate. This geologic environment hosts numerous gold and copper occurrences in Haiti, as well as the Pueblo Viejo deposit in the adjacent Dominican Republic. Pueblo Viejo has 215 million tons of proven and probable reserves containing 20.4 million ounces of gold, 117.3 million ounces of silver, and 423.5 million pounds of copper as of year-end 2007 reporting (www.barrick.com). However, even though Haiti’s mineral potential is similar to that found in the Dominican Republic, it has remained under-explored.The recognition of Haiti’s exploration potential, coupled with an improving business climate, resulted in EMX’s establishment of an exploration program in early 2006 and the acquisition of the La Miel and La Mine gold properties. The Treuil copper property was acquired in 2007. EMX’s exploration successes on these properties led to the establishment in 2008 of a Joint Venture and Regional Strategic Alliance (the “Agreement”) with Newmont Ventures Limited (“Newmont”) for exploration in the Republic of Haiti. The Agreement includes a private placement, a joint venture on the La Miel gold project, and a regional strategic exploration alliance that covers northern Haiti.  EMX’s programs in Haiti gained further momentum later 2008, with the acquisition of the 27 additional exploration licenses, including the historic Meme copper-gold mine. This property package, in combination with EMX’s previous license awards, gives the Company a commanding land position along 130 kilometers of strike length in an emerging new gold belt. EMX’s exploration land holdings now total 281,858 hectares, and cover approximately half of the Massif du Nord metallogenic belt in Haiti.

EMX, and exploration alliance partner Newmont, are aggressively exploring the Company’s extensive property portfolio in what is gaining recognition as one of the world’s premier, early stage gold exploration terrains.

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1.5 million people – or more – continue to reside in precarious and overcrowded tent cities in Haiti.  Photo: Gerald Martone/The IRC

1- August 2010 Why would victims of the Haiti earthquake stay in overcrowded camps if they had somewhere else to go? More than six months after the earthquake, people ought to be leaving camps that were set up under emergency conditions. Indeed, some 500,000 people who were left without shelter by the earthquake have moved in with host families. And a structural survey of 200,000 buildings in Port-au-Prince found nearly 75% require either no or minimal repairs. Nonetheless, some suspect that the camps have actually grown with the passage of time, so that today 1.5 million people – or more – continue to reside in precarious and overcrowded tent cities.

The displaced stay in camps despite the fact that life there is miserable and their frustrations deepen with each passing day. The scorching summer temperatures rise under the plastic tarps. The floor may be dirt or, when it rains, mud. There is very little privacy. When I walked through one camp in the early evening, I found inhabitants taking sponge baths out in the open in their underwear, using small plastic basins. I averted my eyes, in the hope of preserving a small piece of their dignity. My colleagues run programs to aid and protect camp residents and their children, but bigger changes are needed if their lives are to return to anything like normal.

One reason that some Haitians stay in camps is they fear living under concrete and experiencing the trauma of another earthquake. Another reason is because aid is handed out there. Clean water, food for children, soap, and hygiene kits are distributed in the camps. Camp work programs help some earn a little money. For the poorest Haitians, this help may leave them better off than before the earthquake.

A third reason is that camp residents may be betting on more help to come and do not want to miss out. The tents they inhabit now are supposed to be replaced by something sturdier — transitional shelters that will have a concrete foundation, timber or steel frames, and a bit more room. These will do a better job withstanding rain and hurricanes, and any future tremors, while permanent housing is built. As of mid-July, however, only a fraction of these transitional shelters had been erected: roughly 5,700 (or 4%) of 135,000 planned..

Seven months after a massive earthquake struck Haiti, the International Rescue Committee’s teams of experts continue to deliver help and hope to the devastated city of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

A senior UN official gave a fuller explanation of why Haitians would stay in camps and suggested that the displaced constitute “a social movement.” “Apart from those who have no choice, others remain in camps because they have lived without real jobs, schooling or adequate shelter for years,” he said. They had struggled to live and raise families in poverty. Now, assembled in camps, the eyes of the world are on them. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been pledged; delegations of officials, journalists and celebrities visit. The Government of Haiti is under pressure to rescue them and their presence serves as a reminder that all is not yet well.

Sadly, there is no plan to get the displaced into permanent housing soon. Discussions are bogged down in legal arguments about eminent domain, land titles, ownership, and compensation. Even attempts to resettle camp residents in tents in safer locations have had problems. Meanwhile, Haitian government officials are impatient to move beyond the single subject of transitional shelter- a temporary solution at best – to wholesale reconstruction of the country. But questions about when rubble will be removed from the streets and who will lead urban planning efforts are also yet to be resolved.

Aid experts believe that the calamity of the earthquake offers an opportunity for Haitians to receive the long-term development assistance they desperately need and, as former President Clinton has said, to “build back better.” But at least for the next six months, the plight of Haitian families living in severe conditions deserves to be a central preoccupation for all of us. With or without the help they need, they will continue to serve as a living and breathing symbol of poverty and survival in the face of extreme adversity.

Anne Richard is the International Rescue Committee’s vice president of government relations and advocacy. This post first appeared in the Huffington Post.

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On the Ground in Haiti with Scott Pelley

CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley gives a glimpse of what the International Rescue Committee is doing on the ground to help earthquake survivors in Haiti. As the needs in Haiti remain great, the IRC is working hard to provide clean water, sanitation, education and support of women who face sexual violence in the wake of the disaster.

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First person: Haiti then and now in picturesThousands of people from abroad have tried to improve the lives of Haitians after a massive earthquake struck on January 12, killing 300,000 people. One of them is Skyler Badenoch, who works for Build On, a US organisation that builds schools across the globe. He arrived in Haiti a day before the quake struck, and has since returned many times. T hrough his photography he tells Al Jazeera about the situation then, and now. (July 14, 2010)

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Wyclef Jean cannot appeal against Haiti presidency ruling

It’s over’ … Wyclef Jean told he cannot challenge his disqualification from the Haiti presidential race. Photograph: Jemal Countess/Getty Images Electoral council tells singer its decision to disqualify him from the Haiti presidential race

Electoral council tells singer its decision to disqualify him from the Haiti presidential race is final by Sean Michaels guardian.co.uk Thursday 26 August 2010 11.47 BST       The door has slammed shut for the second time in Wyclef Jean‘s bid to become president of Haiti. According to the country’s electoral council, the singer cannot appeal against his disqualification from the race. With officials refusing to review his file, Jean will now reportedly file a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
“Wyclef does not intend to stop here,” explained Jean Renel Senatus, a member of his legal team. “We will exhaust all options, we will go all the way to fight this unacceptable decision.” Last week, Jean was one of 15 proposed candidates disqualified from Haiti’s presidential race, with the provisional electoral council citing the country’s five-year residency requirement. Although Jean initially said he “accepted” the ruling, he later announced plans to appeal. “Friends … warned me that much trickery would be used to block me,” he said. “[This] has proved true.”
A representative for the council’s legal department declared yesterday that their decision cannot be challenged, citing article 191 of Haiti’s electoral law. “When it comes to electoral matters, the electoral council is the supreme court, meaning there is nowhere else to go,” Samuel Pierre said. “There is absolutely no possibility for Wyclef Jean to be added to the list of candidates approved to run in the next presidential elections. So it’s over.”
But Jean shows no sign of backing down. The ruling is “arbitrary”, Senatus said, claiming that Jean is a long-time resident – his role as roving ambassador to Haiti simply forced him to spend lots of time abroad. “He has been living in the country for more than six years,” Senatus said. Jean will now argue to the Inter-American Commission that his democratic rights have been violated, and Senatus is also considering filing with Haiti’s highest court, the Cour de Cassation. Jean may also join forces with other rejected candidates, including his uncle, Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s former ambassador to the US. “[We are] in talks about forming a united front against this arbitrary decision,” Joseph said. “We do not think that the council can organise [a] democratic election.”
Wyclef Jean Fights Back in Haiti Presidency Ruling, “I Cannot Surrender Now” Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 7:58PMs  Written by Cyrus Langhorne

In a prepared statement, Clef said he will seek legal help to reverse this past week’s ruling. “After careful consideration and much soul-searching, I have made the decision to contest Haiti’s board of elections’ pronouncement stating that I am ineligible to run for the presidency of the country,” Jean said in a statement. “I will be seeking a solution through legal channels, and I urge my countrymen to be patient through this process. In the 36 hours since the board’s decision, I have been in constant conversation with my family, friends and advisers, and reading the comments of good people and supporters throughout the Haitian diaspora. I’ve also been closely monitoring the situation on the ground, which I am happy to report has remained peaceful and thoughtful…These factors, and more, inspire me now. I am heartened by the world’s focus on Haiti and its needs, as well as the great spirit of the Haitian people–my people, and I cannot in good conscience give up my quest to lead Haiti to the greatness I know in my heart we are capable of reaching. I cannot surrender now, simply because an obstacle has been set before me; now is the time I must stand up and show Haiti–and the world–that my vision of a nation renewed and redeveloped is a vision for which I am willing to fight.” (Statement)

On Saturday (August 21) morning, Clef issued a letter titled “Keep The Faith” which addressed the ruling.

“It is with a heavy heart that I tell you today that the board of elections in Haiti has disqualified me from my run for the presidency of the country. Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee’s final decision, and I urge my supporters to do the same. We must all honor the memories of those we’ve lost–whether in the earthquake, or at anytime–by responding peacefully and responsibly to this disappointment.” (Huffington Post)

Clef also said Haiti would still be able to count on his support and leadership.

“I want to assure my countrymen that I will continue to work for Haiti’s renewal; though the board has determined that I am not a resident of Haiti, home is where the heart is–and my heart has and will always be in Haiti. This ruling just tells me that I can’t officially seek the office of president. More importantly, there is no one who can tell me to stop my work in Haiti, and there is no one who could. I think of my daughter, Angelina, and it makes me want to redouble my efforts to help give all the children in Haiti better days.” (Huffington Post)

Details on the rapper’s ineligibility hit the Internet late Friday night.

Haiti’s electoral council ruled Friday that hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean cannot run in the nation’s presidential election. Questions came up about whether the rapper met eligibility requirements, as a candidate must live in Haiti for five consecutive years before the election. Jean’s supporters said they suspected Haiti’s political elite were trying to derail his bid. The council accepted 19 candidates and rejected 15. The musician was born in Haiti, raised in Brooklyn and lived in his home country on and off in recent years. Jean said he cannot meet the residency requirement, in part because he has been a roving ambassador for the country since 2007. (New York 1)


Haiti presidential list delayed

Haiti’s electoral commission has postponed its ruling on who will be allowed to run in November’s presidential elections, leaving the candidacy of hip-hop mogul Wyclef Jean, and other contenders, in limbo.  The decision was supposed to be released on Tuesday, but after a marathon session, the electoral commission decided to postpone until Friday the publication of the final list of approved presidential candidates.  At issue is a disagreement on the country’s electoral law which stipulates that candidates must hold a Haitian passport and have five consecutive years of residence in Haiti, among other requirements.

More than 30 contenders are vying to replace Rene Preval, the current president, in the November 28 election and several have been scrutinised by the commission.

Al Jazeera’s Sebastian Walker, reporting from the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, said that Jean “is having trouble making it clear that he had been a resident of Haiti for the last five years”.

Prior to announcing his intention to run for president, Jean acted as a goodwill ambassador for Haiti, the country where he was born.

The New York-based singer said his role, working for the Haitian government, made international travel and foreign residency necessary parts of his public service.

Jacques Edouard Alexis, a former two-time prime minister and another presidential hopeful, and Leslie Voltaire, a US-educated urban planner and former minister, have also faced scrutiny from the electorial commission.

Street support

Some candidates who could be deemed uneligible, including Jean, “have significant support from the streets” and disallowing them to run “could lead to unrest,” Al Jazeera’s Walker said.

Jean, who left Haiti for the US at age nine, is popular with many Haitians, especially the youth, who see him a national success who never forgot his roots.

Several Haitian youth organisations and Creole music groups have undertaken to support his national campaign as a candidate for the Viv Ansan-m party.

The hip-hop star and three-time Grammy award-winner has, however, been criticised for lacking political experience.

“We await the CEP decision but the laws of the Haitian Constitution must be respected,” he said in an email to The Associated Press news agency.

He also told the AP that he had gone into hiding after receiving death threats. Jean said he received a phone call telling him to get out of Haiti and that he was now in a secret location in the Caribbean country.  Preval, the current president, has been widely criticised in Haiti over his handling of the January 12 earth-quake that killed more than 200,000 people and destroyed much of the country’s already weak infrastructure.

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DH Editor’s Update|The children of Cité Soleil

Develop Haiti  Posted on by Carla Murphy A day after arriving in Haiti I went to Cité Soleil, a shanty city that is, by many accounts, the worse slum in the western hemisphere.  I hadn’t planned on going but my roommate volunteers with the Haitian-run Sunday Project and the organizers made room for me in their car.Nearly every Sunday for the past 11 weeks, a small procession of cars led by a midnight blue SUV rolls into Cité Soleil, an infinity pool of iron shacks and not much else divided by a highway on the western outskirts of Pótoprens.  Think, a massive warren of chicken coops, but bigger and not nearly as airy, for roughly 300,000 people.

Cité Soleil is one of the biggest shantytowns in the world.  It’s also the most feared slum in Pótoprens, if not the western hemisphere.

When asked if Haitians thought them brave, Tanya Lemaire and Carel Pedre, the under-40 organizers of this bootstrap pantry operation laughed.  We were back at the house where the food, just off the stove, was being packed.  Both gave bug-eyed replies.

“Foreigners think we’re brave.  Haitians think we’re crazy!”

Hardly anyone drives out here.  I can tell because our approach is one of the few smooth stretches of road I’ve driven since arriving in Pótoprens last Friday.  Up ahead on the horizon, I see two or three vehicles; an anomaly in a city where driving anywhere requires at least an hour head start and drivers handle rusted cars spewing black exhaust like they’re changing lanes at the Indy 500.

And on the day that I’m finally in a vehicle with air condition, I’m driven to a landscape that is dusty and yellow with heat.  Hardly any green in sight. No trees.  That’s some feat for a tropical island.

The children, from toddlers to pre-teens, smash like flapjacks into each other; there’re only so many snack-sized white Styrofoam bowls and dentist office-sized cups of juice to go around.  Oh, to be unlucky number 330.

I have so many questions: Why are they half-naked? Why are they barefoot out here in this dry, gravelly land? Why do so many of these children have red or blondish hair and distended bellies—telltale signs of malnutrition?

Why are so many of the littlest boys running around outside with their penis nubs out?  In any other place I would tease a toddler for walking around naked. Here though, I avert my eyes.  It is shame that I feel.

Why are children, especially the littlest ones, covered in a layer of dust and dirt? Why is the little girls’ hair scattered over their heads, as though it hadn’t been combed for two days?  Forget what it does to her self-esteem, a visibly uncared for little girl is easy prey for opportunists of the worse sort.  How do teen girls and women take care of their menses? Where do they find water to wash their cloths?

I ask myself all of these questions about basic standards of living in the first five minutes after stepping out of the car and surveying the children who are, in addition to all of the above, happy, giddy, expectant, curious, starving.  What an unbelievable waste of intellect, talent, leadership, strength, courage, beauty, hope.  Until Cité Soleil, I never imagined anything worse than what I’ve already seen in parts of Pótoprens.

Haitians think we’re crazy.  Cité Soleil has a reputation for being lawless and overrun by gangs with the collective moral compass of a child soldier.  For that reason, Tanya and Carel run the Sunday Project like military tacticians.

Drive in with as few vehicles as possible, which could mean cramming 20 volunteers into three cars.  Drive out as soon as the 329th hand takes the last meal. No goodbyes, no dawdling, no ceremony, just scramble back into the vehicles and pull away amidst bodies crushing the cars and peering into the windows.

Today in fact, project organizers had to distribute food from the back of the white pickup, not the usual sheltered stage.  (Imagine a tornado destroyed a plain cement home, leaving only the porch and the hallway entrance.) Pay to use the space, a community leader demanded, one Haitian volunteer explained to me.  Meanwhile, a crowd of adults were bunched on the “porch” cheering Argentinean footballer, Messi on a small TV in the enclosed hallway area.

Paying was out of the question though, not least because Tanya and Carel barely raised enough money to add meat to this week’s meal; children received the usual white rice but with a watery stew made with specks of ground beef and a few carrots.  I remarked to Tanya that none of the children ate out in the open.  I’d expected, after the din of gathering on line, to hear the quiet of children eating.  No, she said.  They take the food back to their homes to share.

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Blog Post from New Haiti ProjectShards of untold chronicles of deceit and distrust have poisoned the atmosphere in Haiti over the past couple of centuries: residual resentments over tumultuous relationships between the country and the world, particularly the United States. Thosehistorical scarshave casted some antagonistic clouds over the authenticity and genuineness of the world’s sudden altruistic and empathic initiatives.

Characterized by theDalai Lama, “such a massive show of global assistance and solidarity — one sign of the world’s increased interdependence — would not have been possible 100 years ago,” and many observers have agreed. As the shocking images grabbed the world’s attention, governments around the globe pledged about $10 billion over the span of 10 years to help with the long-term reconstruction of Haiti. In addition, individual benevolence had also funneled about $1.3 billion through NGOs and other aid organizations with direct access to the people of Haiti.

Nevertheless, history may disagree with the naïveté of some perceptions, as many now tend to look at Haiti’s prolonged torments through the prisms of finality. In fact, it may outright reject the notion that the recent chaotic implosion is the turning point for the poor nation. This is due, in large measure, to a legacy of corrosive policies aimed at– according to some– “hindering any step towards progress” of several generations.

Those policies or “Haiti’s Death Plan”, as Tom Reeves explained in hisextensive report, have literally constituted a death grip around the neck of a feeble nation then scrambling to establish its identity.

The U.S. and its powerful, influential imperialist partners needed to ensure that Haiti’s abolitionist ideals didn’t spill over into the entire Western Hemisphere. Hence, Haiti’s turbulent history was marked by centuries of strategic invasions, presidential assassinations, military coups, civil unrests, embargos, outright neglect, dismissals, and denials. In the meantime, Haiti’s economic infrastructure regressed to prehistoric status while its citizens starved. Consequently, some Haitians have been wondering about the true intentions of the foreigners this time around.

As recently as 2004, the incriminating fingerprints of the U.S. and its loyalists were found all over the civil unrest that led to the removal of the democratically elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide whom they restored to power only ten years prior. To accomplish this endeavor,U.S. Special Forces(about 200 of them) trained a 600-member paramilitary army of anti-Aristide Haitians in the neighborhood country of Dominican Republic and supplied them with 20,000 M16 rifles. Hipolito Mejia, the president of the Dominican Republic, inked that initiative.

Further, the same U.S. government, currently one of the largest donors in the rebuilding efforts that managed, in 2001, to convince Europeans countries, the IMF, WORLD BANK, and the European Union to suspend credits for Haiti. In addition, it also funds the International Republican Institute (IRI) with $3 million annually, an organization with strong connections to well-known criminals and thugs who led the civil uprising and eventual overthrow of Aristide. For instance, three months after the IRI met with the leader of the anti-Aristide movement, Guy Phillippe, 20 of his commandos attacked a hydroelectric plant in Haiti’s central plateau killing a security guard.

Not surprisingly though, incidents such as those were nothing new to Haitians; they have been at the mercy of imperialism’s iron fists since 1915 with the first U.S. invasion. It was then characterized as a strategic deterrent to growing German geopolitical ambitions over Haiti’s accessibility to the Panama Canal. However, five additionalU.S. military Interventionsin Haiti would follow, yet the people of the country, 70 to 80 percent of whom has been unemployed, have not experienced any significant improvements in their lives as a result.

In light of this perpetual cycle, some have even conceded that every foreign intervention has left the country worse off and that the first sovereign black state in the Western Hemisphere was being punished for their insolence 206 years ago; hence, the residual resentments.

With presidential elections scheduled for November 28, 2010, what could be the agenda of the Obama Administration and his loyal imperialist following? “This was one of those moments that calls for American Leadership,” he argued passionately soon after the disaster leveled Port-au-Prince, and added that this intervention was “for the sake of our common humanity.”

On the other hand, several hundreds NGOs, with enough cash to perhaps purchase the entire country, continue to operate in stealth mode, about 24,000 foreign troops are on the ground, a crippled government plagued by a history of corruption, and enough power starved political parties to fill all 50 seats in the United States’ National Governor Association. This scenario may have provided some validity to the concerns and nervousness of so many Haitians.

While this impotent people look outward to the international gods to wave a magic wand and make its troubles disappear, they also question the credibility of the flood of emotions thrown at them. Meanwhile, some familiar tune has invaded the atmosphere in Haiti: it will take some drastic steps to convince donors to honor their pledges.

“I’m going to call all those governments and say, the ones who said they’ll give money to support the Haitian government, I want to try to get them to give the money, and I’m trying to get the others to give me a schedule for when they’ll release it,”

These are the words of former President Bill Clinton in a televised interview with CNNs Anderson Cooper. Chris

Haiti struggles to clear quake debris for rebuilding Seven months after Haiti’s devastating earthquake only a fraction of the huge volume of rubble generated has been cleared, but the issue is certainly nothing new. In February, Haiti’s president Rene Preval predicted it would take “a thousand trucks moving rubble for a thousand days” to clear all the debris out of the capital. Some 1.5 million people are still living in makeshift camps despite tens of millions of dollars in aid pouring into the island-nation. International aid agencies told Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab in Port-au-Prince that the Haitian government is to blame for the lack of cleanup. (Aug 15, 2010)

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From Operation Safe:Helping Children Deal with Trauma Mizak, Haiti

Twitter address @operationSafe

In most disasters the first few weeks after the event are the most critical, with humanitarian groups scrambling to find survivors amidst the rubble and get food, water and medical attention to needy people. In Haiti this has taken months and is still critical. OperationSAFE seeks to help children with emotional trauma, the hurts on the inside that can be overlooked when there are so many other needs. Haiti’s children are beautiful and resilient, but need our help.

“Pete’s Adventure” The core of the OperationSAFE program is the story of Pete, or “Pierre”, as he was called in Haitian Kreole. Pete is a playful little penguin who is separated from his parents when his ice-shelf falls into the sea. As Pete discovers that he is not alone, makes new friends, regains hope, overcomes fear and finds help, children who have suffered trauma learn right along with him. Children love the story and laugh at the funny and colorful characters, and at the same time find ways to express their own stories and find support and hope.

HUMAN IMPACT ON THE NATION OF HAITI

On January 12, 2010, shortly before 5pm, a Richter scale 7.3 earthquake, lasting 35 seconds, struck Haiti. This was the most powerful earthquake to strike the country for 200 years. The human impact is huge. About 1.5 million people, or 15% of the national population, have been directly affected. More than 220,000 people have lost their lives and more than 300,000 have been injured. About 1.3 million people are living in temporary shelters in the area of Port-au-Prince. More than 500,000 people have left the devastated area to find shelter in the rest of the country, resulting in an exacerbation of already existing problems in access to food and basic services.

PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL NGO

In Mizak, a mountain village on the pass between Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, we trained our first Haitian OperationSAFE team at an NGO called HAPI – Haitian Artisans for Peace International. HAPI has worked for years training locals how to produce crafts and sell them internationally to bring needed income into the village. Along with this economic work they have also established a small clinic staffed by visiting doctors. In the aftermath of the disaster we worked with HAPI to provide food, medical care and trauma care for the children of the village. The volunteers that we trained to run the OperationSAFE camp have also been certified to train others communities to run future camps in Haiti from which they should be able to obtain some income as well. In March, two week-long day camps were held at the HAPI Peace Park serving 150-180 children at each camp. In addition to the normal OperationSAFE trauma program the children received a mid-day meal, an added boost to their nutrition that they usually did not receive even prior to the earthquake. Another innovation in Haiti was the inclusion of a sanitation and hygiene component of the camp, with the children being given soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste and being taught how to use them.
With half a million people fleeing the cities to find refuge with relatives in the countryside, many of the children in Mizak were newcomers in a strange environment. Some had come with their families, but others had lost parents, or even been abandoned by parents overwhelmed by the tragedy. One of the most vital functions of the OperationSAFE camps was for these refugee children to be accepted and make
friends with the local children of the village. Each day centered on a theme, with the first one being “I am not alone.” As the children played games, made crafts and sang songs they learned that they had all been
through the same experience.There are many challenges to overcome in Haiti including making sure that physical needs are met where they weren’t before. With so much of the country directly affected by the disaster, and so many more being affected by the refugees streaming into the countryside, it is difficult to find volunteers who are not traumatized themselves. Haiti’s children need our help, and we can best help them by giving Haitians the tools and training they need to care for their emotional needs. OperationSAFE will continue to partner with local NGO’s in Haiti to spread trauma care for children. We are projecting to run day-camps for children through 2010 and 2011. International groups that would like to support these camps with volunteers, funding or donations please contact us. @OperationSAFE or http://opsafeintl.com/contact-us/

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Counting the Cost – Money Talks – Haiti July 19, 2010 Each week on Counting the Cost we hit the streets to get your opinion on a big financial or economic story. This week it is Haiti.

Dear Readers, I hope you will have time to give the carefully researched article from The Progress Report. $1.8 billion was promised to Haiti by the international community but only a small fraction of that has reached the country.  Neo-liberal policies of finance still have unfortunate repercussions.  The former Presidents’ Council led by Wm. J. Clinton and G. W. Bush did not meet until mid-June, 6 months after “the catastrophe.”

Please be sure to review the web links embedded in the text for much more context. This article was brought to our attention by the political cartoonist whom you can find on Twitter @dbschell.      Vicki

Still Hoping For Haiti  

August 3, 2010 by Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, and Nina Bhattachary

Earthquake in Hait i- Hope for the Survivors

On Jan. 12, 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale shook Haiti for 35 seconds. The most powerful to strike the country in 200 years, the earthquake devastated the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince,killing over 200,000 people and leaving nearly 300,000 injured. Despite the outpouring of international assistance, six months later, the impoverished country is still struggling to get back on its feet. Basic living conditions — including access to shelter, water, sanitation, and health care — have yet to be restored to a majority of Haitians. Rebuilding Haiti successfully requires re-evaluating the flow of aid and bolstering a shattered public sector. More than anything, however, rebuilding Haiti requires an enduring commitment from the United States. As USAID Haiti Task Team coordinator Paul Weisenfeld told NPR earlier this month, “U.S. military provided invaluable support — under the leadership of USAID,” but nonetheless, Haiti will need “sustained attention because the rebuilding effort is going to be an effort that will take many years to come.”

AID BLOCKADE: While the U.S. government has funneled roughly $4 billion into Haiti’s economy to counter the country’s “dismal economic trajectory” since 1990, Haiti still “continued to languish as the poorest in the Western Hemisphere,” with the U.S. and neoliberal economic policies partially at fault. “By the end of the U.S.-supported embargo in 1994, which was enforced in response to the military coup that deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s per capita income had fallen by 30 percent and unemployment had peaked at 75 percent,” concluded a report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In spite of Haiti’s great need, only a mere fraction of the nearly $10 billion in promised aid to Haiti has actually made it to the country. While donors promised $5.3 billion at an international aid conference in March, “less than 2 percent of that money has been handed over so far to the United Nations-backed body set up to handle it.” Despite pledging $1.15 billion to Haiti, the U.S. has failed to follow through, with the money “tied up in the congressional appropriations process.” The Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), co-chaired by former President Bill Clinton and tasked with administering the donor fund, met for the first time on June 17, five months after the earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince. Still, the IHRC will prove crucial in addressing the long list of priorities in Haiti. A Center for Strategic and International Studies report observes, “Priorities for the immediate future also include dealing with budget support for the Haitian civil service; ensuring that the newly trained Haitian National Police remain on the job to support security; preparing for disaster and recovery in the event that a major hurricane hits Haiti; developing mechanisms to transfer cash to individuals so they can have a source of credit to rebuild businesses in the informal sector; and providing support in case of an outbreak of epidemic disease. Ongoing job programs must be accompanied by greater access to schools, micro-credit, and temporary housing.” Until a new legislature is established, it will have to be the IHRC that provides the much-needed structure to Haiti’s relief efforts and encourages the flow of aid into the country.


BARE NECESSITIES: In its current state, Haiti’s government cannot provide basic services to its citizens. A report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee notes, “Up to 40 percent of thE civil service perished and 28 out of 29 government ministries collapsed.” Consequently, 1.5 million Haitians still remain homeless, trapped in the some 1,300 makeshift camps around Port-au-Prince. Sixty-nine percent of families in camps lack food security since the earthquake. Moreover, inadequate protection and shelter have led to increased gender-based violence in Haiti, where rape and domestic violence have already beentools of oppression for far too long. “Women who reported rapes — and were already struggling with stigmatization and the psychological effects of sexual assault — were often mocked or ignored by police.” To tackle these immense problems, relief efforts must focus on strengthening Haiti’s government. A successful recovery, then, relies heavily on ensuring free and fair elections on November 28, which would not only “re-establish an effective legislature that can make the vital national policy decisions entrusted to it by Haiti’s constitution,” but also institute “political accountability for the expenditure of large amounts of money that will have a lasting impact on Haitian society.” Furthermore, there is a push for Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (PEC), which is in charge of organizing the elections, to embrace all political parties — including Aristide’s exiled but influential Fanmi Lavalas party. Demonstrating a “clear political commitment” to the elections would inject confidence into a Haitian public looking for a “grand vision to rally behind. Despite some signs of progress, an underlying issue still remains: “of $1.8 billion for earthquake relief sent to Haiti, less than 2.9% has so far gone to the government.” Without a vibrant public sector, administering relief funds will be inefficient and encourage a cyclical dependency on aid organizations. “[T]here needs to be a shift, especially in how we plan and deliver basic health, education, and other safety-net services: a commitment to move at least some of the assistance…into public hands,” testified Partners in Health founder Dr. Paul Farmer, to the Congressional Black Caucus in July. “If we’re going to have sustainability we are going to have to work through Haitian institutions, which require strengthening them,” said USAID’s Weisenfield at a State Department roundtable.

CONTINUED COMMITMENT:
In the weeks immediately following the catastrophic earthquake, the Obama administration asserted its commitment to rebuilding Haiti. Within weeks of the disaster, the U.S. had alreadycontributed $130 million in aid, 12,000 military personnel, 265 government medical personnel, 18 Navy and Coast Guard ships, 49 helicopters, and seven cargo planes to assist in aid delivery, support, and evacuations. And facing pressure from activists and over 80 lawmakers, including at least eight Republicans, the Obama administration agreed to grant undocumented Haitian immigrants already in the U.S.Temporary Protected Status (TPS). For a country deeply involved in two wars abroad, the American response to Haiti has been unprecedented in the degree in which it places U.S. aid agencies at the forefront ofUnited States national security policy. With this in mind, it is imperative for the United States to continue its efforts in Haiti, encouraging the nascent activities of groups like the IHRC, fulfilling promises of aid, and strengthening the country’s public institutions. Humanitarian aid, noted the Center for America Progress’ Andrew Sweet and Rudy deLeon days after the earthquake, “is at the heart of U.S.foreign policy and its actions don’t usually make the headlines.” Americans tend to believe that a vast amount is spent on foreign assistance and should be cut, when in reality less than 1 percent of America’s total spending is on foreign aid. Still, as the Center for American Progress’Lawrence J. Korb and Max Bergmann wrote in 2008, that while some claim these missions are a “distraction” from “hard” security concerns, “engaging in these operations promotes U.S. interests. … [S]uch missions act to maintain precious stability…improve the image of the U.S…and help cast our global military posture in a better light.”

The Progress Report

Dr. Paul Farmer’s Testimony (reference The Progress Report)

Please read Dr. Farmer’s answer to “What is to be done?

PAUL FARMER, Testimony of Paul Farmer, Co-founder of PIH, Chair of the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti at the United Nations

3. What is to be done?

This is where we are at the six-month mark, as hurricane season approaches. Less than five percent of the rubble has been cleared. People are going to camps for shelter and for other services that all of us humans need to get by. Gender-based violence worsens the “structural violence” to which the poor, in general, are subjected. The good news is that the enormous generosity and solidarity of the world after the earthquake was and is real: it’s estimated that more than half of all American households contributed to earthquake relief. Speaking as a volunteer for PIH, I can proudly announce that we have, along with the Ministry of Health, already broken ground on a huge new teaching hospital in central Haiti. We know from experience, as my colleague Loune Viaud will report, that it’s possible to get a great deal done in rural Haiti, and these services and jobs will also pull people out of the city and contribute to the decentralization so desperately needed.

But there needs to be a shift, especially in how we plan and deliver basic health, education, and other safety-net services: a commitment to move at least some of the assistance (including private money) into public hands, which has not been at all the favored approach to assistance to Haiti. This is increasingly recognized as the right thing to do, as Paul Weisenfeld, Haiti Task Team Coordinator for USAID, who reported the falling rates of water-borne diseases noted above, observed recently: “I think it’s key to us that if we’re going to have sustainability we are going to have to work through Haitian institutions, which requires strengthening them.

Obviously [they’ve] been weakened tremendously by this earthquake, so at the same time that we implement reconstruction programs, we need to strengthen government institutions so that we can work through them.”[1] We have also just worked with the American Red Cross to support performance-based financing of medical and nursing staff in Haiti’s largest public hospital.

These efforts will not be easy, but they are necessary.

This shift will not be a panacea for Haiti but could be coupled with a powerful and complementary focus on another movement of capital, this time from public to private and from wealthy to poor: a focus on job creation and on strengthening the hand of those trying to farm (and reforest) the land and also on young people, especially young women, living in poverty. We need a greater sense of urgency. And the most urgent task of all is the creation of jobs that will confer dignity to those in greatest need. As FDR said early in the Depression, “The Nation asks for action and action now. Our greatest primary task is to put people to work.”[2]

As it was during the Great Depression, there are innumerable public-works jobs imaginable, from reforestation and rubble removal to preparing for back-to-school (la rentrée), which must put kids back in schools, safe schools, with the books and uniforms they need and a nutritious lunch during the day. As for health, Haitians need a real health system. This will require a massive investment in new clinics and hospitals, staff to run them, and health insurance at a time when only 300,000 families have it. These are indivisible tasks, as FDR noted at the outset of the Depression: “Public health . . . is a responsibility of the state as [is] the duty to promote general welfare. The state educates is children. Why not keep them well?”[3]

Job creation and improved health and educational services, with greater investment in the public sector: this should be a big part of the mantra. I do not mean to suggest that this transfer of capital, resources, etc., is easy. We know it’s not, because we’re in direct contact with the representatives of large multilateral and bilateral agencies, which have to follow laborious processes in order to disburse funds. But let us ask, in the face of urgent need, if we are well served by the fetishization of process now retarding the flow of capital into the hands of families in greatest need.

The International Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti, which is now being born, needs to be swift and nimble; the rules of the road for development assistance need to be rewritten, not to favor contractors and middlemen and trauma vultures, but to favor the

victims of the quake. Right now there are shovel-ready projects, which could create tens of

thousands of jobs and perhaps more. There are plenty of people living in poverty, including the market women who have never had access to capital or financial services and who have been working against an undertow of unfair trade policies, who are as entrepreneurial as anyone else in the world. Projects of all sorts can be greenlighted, but will move sluggishly if the funds seep into the ICRH too slowly and if projects cannot be moved forward because of strangling strictures on how the money is to be used.

People in this country know it’s possible to move forward with a sense of urgency. During the Depression, job creation and improved services from health care to education to rural electrification were the focus of many efforts. FDR, then the governor of New York, called for “workfare” and welfare through the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA). This call was made on August 28, 1931, and it was up and running by winter: The crisis had finally imposed some discipline of responsibility even on the Republican legislators, who with uncharacteristic docility did what the governor asked. (The New York Voters would overwhelmingly approve the bond issue in November 1932.) Faithful to romantic notions of rural life, Roosevelt had TERA subsidize the resettlement of as many unemployed as possible on marginal farmland, with tools and instruction on how to cultivate it. In six years TERA assisted five million people, 40 percent of the population of New York State, at a cost of $1,555,000. At the end of the period, 70 percent of these were no longer reliant on government assistance.[4]

Later these lessons were taken to scale in many programs, including the Civil Works

Administration, which created millions of jobs and moved billions into the public sector through public works and into the hands of the previously unemployed.

Certainly Haiti’s need is no less great than that faced by the States during the Depression. Let us hope it can build a more just tax base, even though its IRS, like its Ministries of Health and Education, has been destroyed. In the meantime, the world has responded generously and now it is incumbent upon us to move these resources into the hands of the Haitian people, especially those directly affected, in these two complementary ways. Again, this is not a choice between public and private sectors, any more than this is a choice between strengthening local agriculture and rebuilding infrastructure, but rather a plea to focus resource distribution on the poor and displaced by providing basic services and through job creation.

Reality and Presidential Election in Haiti.

Jean Wyclef  has announced his intention to run for President of Haiti.  Here is an excerpt of his interview with Esquire.

ESQ: That’s a good breakdown of how it was before, but what’s the change been like since?

WJ: One-point-two million homeless. There were homes then. No matter what kind of homes they were, they still were homes. Forget the fact that people live in tents these days. Now, no homes. That will catch up to them.

ESQ: Haitians talk about this being a new beginning.

WJ: Oh, yes. Haiti has an opportunity now to start from scratch, and what that means is, we can get real schools in there, there’s a chance of getting real hospitals, of teaching a population how to read and write, where kids can get a degree, and actually do something with the degree right now. As far as investment and business, this is the best time to invest in business in Haiti.

Here is Wyclef Jean’s blog on which his recent interview with Esquire can be found in totality.  http://wyclefjean.wordpress.com/

 

Wyclef for president of Haiti? Look beyond the hype

by Charlie Hinton, with editing assistance from Kiilu Nyasha  Check out the comments at the weblink http://sfbayview.com/2010/wyclef-jean-for-president-of-haiti-look-beyond-the-hype/ .

Many SF Bay readers were upset about this article and felt some of what has been written is inaccurate or misrepresentative.  Journalist Riz Khan interviews Wyclef Jean in one of the videos below.  So you will be able to judge better for yourself. Vicki

To cut to the chase, no election in Haiti, and no candidate in those elections, will be considered legitimate by the majority of Haiti’s population, unless it includes the full and fair participation of the Fanmi Lavalas Party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Fanmi Lavalas is unquestionably the most popular party in the country, yet the “international community,” led by the United States, France and Canada, has done everything possible to undermine Aristide and Lavalas, overthrowing him twice by military coups in 1991 and 2004 and banishing Aristide, who now lives in South Africa with his family, from the Americas

A United Nations army, led by Brazil, still occupies Haiti six years after the coup. Their unstated mission, under the name of “peacekeeping,” is to suppress the popular movement and prevent the return to power of Aristide’s Lavalas Party. One must understand a Wyclef Jean candidacy, first of all, in this context.

Every election since a 67 percent majority first brought Aristide to power in 1990 has demonstrated the enormous popularity of the Lavalas movement. When Lavalas could run, they won overwhelmingly. In 2006, when security conditions did not permit them to run candidates, they voted and demonstrated to make sure Rene Preval, a former Lavalas president, was re-elected.

Preval, however, turned against those who voted for him. He scheduled elections for 12 Senate seats in 2009 and supported the Electoral Council’s rejection of all Lavalas candidates. Lavalas called for a boycott, and as few as 3 percent of Haitians voted, with fewer than 1 percent voting in the runoff, once again demonstrating the people’s love and respect for President Aristide.Fanmi Lavalas has already been banned from the next round of elections, so enter Wyclef Jean. Jean comes from a prominent Haitian family that has virulently opposed Lavalas since the 1990 elections. His uncle is Raymond Joseph – also a rumored presidential candidate – who became Haitian ambassador to the United States under the coup government and remains so today. Kevin Pina writes in “It’s not all about that! Wyclef Jean is fronting in Haiti,” Joseph is “the co-publisher of Haiti Observateur, a right-wing rag that has been an apologist for the killers in the Haitian military going back as far as the brutal coup against Aristide in 1991.

“On Oct. 26 [2004] Haitian police entered the pro-Aristide slum of Fort Nationale and summarily executed 13 young men. Wyclef Jean said nothing. On Oct. 28 the Haitian police executed five young men, babies really, in the pro-Aristide slum of Bel Air. Wyclef said nothing. If Wyclef really wants to be part of Haiti’s political dialogue, he would acknowledge these facts. Unfortunately, Wyclef is fronting.”

As if to prove it, the Miami Herald website reported on July 28, 2010, “Secret polling by foreign powers in search of a new face to lead Haiti’s reconstruction …” might favor Jean’s candidacy, as someone with sufficient name recognition who could draw enough votes to overcome another Lavalas electoral boycott.

Wyclef Jean supported the 2004 coup. When gun-running former army and death squad members trained by the CIA were overrunning Haiti’s north on Feb. 25, 2004, MTV’s Gideon Yago wrote, “Wyclef Jean voiced his support for Haitian rebels on Wednesday, calling on embattled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to step down and telling his fans in Haiti to ‘keep their head up’ as the country braces itself for possible civil war.”

During the Obama inaugural celebration, Jean famously and perversely serenaded Colin Powell, the Bush administration secretary of state during the U.S. destabilization campaign and eventual coup against Aristide, with Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.”

Jean also produced the movie, “The Ghosts of Cite Soleil,” an anti-Aristide and Lavalas hit piece, which tells us that President Aristide left voluntarily, without mention of his kidnapping by the U.S. military, and presents the main coup leaders in a favorable light. It features interviews with sweatshop owners Andy Apaid and Charles Henry Baker without telling us they hate Aristide because he raised the minimum wage and sought to give all Haitians a seat at the table by democratizing Haiti’s economy, a program opposed by the rich in Haiti.

It uncritically interviews coup leader Louis Jodel Chamblain, without telling us he worked with the Duvalier dictatorship’s brutal militia, the Tonton Macoutes, in the 1980s; that following the coup against Aristide in 1991, he was the “operations guy” for the FRAPH paramilitary death squad, accused of murdering uncounted numbers of Aristide supporters and introducing gang rape into Haiti as a military weapon.

Wyclef Jean’s movie, “The Ghosts of Cite Soleil,” an anti-Aristide and Lavalas hit piece, features interviews with sweatshop owners Andy Apaid and Charles Henry Baker without telling us they hate Aristide because he raised the minimum wage and sought to give all Haitians a seat at the table by democratizing Haiti’s economy, a program opposed by the rich in Haiti.

It uncritically interviews coup leader Guy Phillipe, without telling us he’s a former Haitian police chief who was trained by U.S. Special Forces in Ecuador in the early 1990s or that the U.S. embassy admitted that Phillipe was involved in the transhipment of narcotics, one of the key sources of funds for paramilitary attacks on the poor in Haiti.

Wyclef runs the Yele Haiti Foundation, which the Washington Post reported on Jan. 16, 2010, is under is under fiscal scrutiny because “(i)t seems clear that a significant amount of the monies that this charity raises go for costs other than providing benefits to Haitians in need … In 2006, Yele Haiti had about $1 million in revenue, according to tax documents. More than a third of the money went to payments to related parties, said lawyer James Joseph … (T)he charity recorded a payment of $250,000 to Telemax, a TV station and production company in Haiti in which Jean and Jerry Duplessis, both members of Yele Haiti’s board of directors, had a controlling interest. The charity paid about $31,000 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Duplessis. And it spent an additional $100,000 for Jean’s performance at a benefit concert in Monaco.” A foundation spokesperson “said the group hopes to spend a higher percentage of its budget on services as it gains experience.”

PLEASE SPREAD THE NEWS: “WYCLEF JEAN IS NOT A FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT OF HAITI.” The floating of his candidacy is just one more effort by the international forces, desperate to put a smiley face on a murderous military occupation, to undermine the will of the Haitian majority by making Wyclef Jean the Ronald Reagan of Haiti.

The floating of his candidacy is just one more effort by the international forces, desperate to put a smiley face on a murderous military occupation, to undermine the will of the Haitian majority by making Wyclef Jean the Ronald Reagan of Haiti.

Let us be clear. Jean and his uncle, the Haitian ambassador to the U.S., are both cozy with the self-appointed czar of Haiti, Bill Clinton, whose plans for the Caribbean nation are to make it a neo-colony for a reconstructed tourist industry and a pool of cheap labor for U.S. factories. Wyclef Jean is the perfect front man. The Haitian elite and its U.S./U.N. sponsors are counting on his appeal to the youth to derail the people’s movement for democracy and their call for the return of President Aristide. Most Haitians will not be hoodwinked by the likes of Wyclef Jean.

Charlie Hinton is a member of the Haiti Action Committee and works at Inkworks Press, a worker owned and managed printing company in Berkeley. He may be reached at ch_lifewish@yahoo.com. Posted to SFBAY By Mary On August 2, 2010

Haiti fears over presidential pollAbout 20 candidates have registered for Haiti’s presidential election, which is set for November. Hundreds of people gathered outside the electoral council in the capital Port-au-Prince, to cheeron candidates just hours before the registration deadline on Saturday. But many analysts question whether Haiti is ready to hold the vote after January’s devastating earthquake that left more than a million people in makeshift camps and without IDs. Some fear the election could throw the island nation into a political crisis, citing lack of poll transparency and voting fraud as prospective causes. Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab reports from Port-au-Prince. [August 8, 2010]

There is not evidence whatsoever that this is an impossible mission.

By Nicole C. LEE, Esq. July 24, 2010 Editorial: 6 months on . . .

In 37 seconds on January 12 quality of life in Haiti went from dire to catastrophic. In the days and weeks after the 7.0 earthquake, Haiti was promised billions in aid and reconstruction. Money, food donations, and consummate international cooperation were assured. However both the scope of the disaster and existing bureaucratic structures hampered the emergency efforts from being Haitian-led.

I have travelled to Haiti often since the quake. Each time, I am more shocked by the extreme devastation.  Many Haitians I’ve met have observed, “the earthquake was a natural disaster; now we’re dealing with a man-made disaster. “

Nothing could be truer. It has been widely reported that enough money has been raised for each household affected by the earthquake to receive $37,000.00. Yet relief efforts remain anemic and overly bureaucratic. Large charitable organizations that spent the better part of this year advertising the success of their aid work are now compelled to defend their incapacities on the ground and the low percentage of funds actually used for relief efforts. Like the controversy after Katrina, despite all the promises of support, the international community remains unaccountable to expectations and victims’ needs.  Five minutes away from the airport, families do not have access to clean water or food.

Where is the money? This question should resound all over the international community and should be levied against sectors of governments to non- profits. This week The Financial Times reported that only two percent of the USD$5.3 billion in short-term aid pledged by the international community has been sent to Haiti.  Two percent of what was pledged! I can’t imagine what the percentage is of how much Haiti will actually require for rebuilding.

In answer to the question, “where is the money?” many of the largest aid groups respond that they need to save their dollars for reconstruction or even for other disasters.  This last minute bait and switch illustrates the cynicism underlining our system of aid.

Many donors were just regular people, who saw the situation on television and cared enough to send their hard earned money to charities who advertised that they were the best poised to help. In the midst of an economic recession, for many this was quite a deliberate gesture.  It’s estimated that as high as 50% of Americans gave to various relief efforts. They believed that advertised charities would turn their $10 or $25 into an immediate tangible result. Hypocritically, a number of the same charities who received this money frankly cannot be found stationed or even working in the quake affected areas except when junkets come to appraise their work.

But it goes farther then just unfilled pledges and charities pocketing donations for their rainy day fund. The system of aid in place in Haiti which under-sell local farmers and ensures that Haitian community organizations cannot participate in any consequential manner. The very organizations that understand the intricacies of Haitian society and can assess the needs on the ground.  It is even commonplace for Haitians and in turn their organizations to be excluded from meetings where aid decisions are made. It is routine for those same people to require a foreign, in many cases white escort, to even be able to access the United Nations Logistics base where many of these meetings are held.  Six months in, this type of racist runaround exhaust meaningful efforts for relief and recovery.

Thankfully, there are small pockets where we see exceptions to this model, Haitian civil society organizations and community members are prioritized and the job of relief effort is robust. We must prepare to change models of aid and development that protect calculated bureaucracies and notions of supremacy.  If we do not, we set the stage for a failed reconstruction period in Haiti with the collateral loss of lives and money.  Failure will mean continuous human rights violations, wasted resources, national and international corruption, and most importantly, extended suffering and loss for the people of Haiti.

Nicole C. Lee is the President of TransAfrica Forum

Commemorating Six Months After the Quake: What’s Next?

Six months after the devastating earthquake effectively destroyed Haiti’s largest city, Port-au-Prince, a multitude of surrounding towns and cities, killed over 300,000 people and internally displaced over 1.5 million people, the situation in Haiti requires our immediate attention. Despite record-breaking individual contributions and commitments by the international community, relief efforts on the ground remain feeble.

People throughout Haiti are doing the best they can; living and thriving to maintain a level of normalcy in extraordinary circumstances. We have been there with them. We have experienced the violent rainstorms where Haitians who lost everything in the quake have any meager belongings now washed away because of inadequate shelter. We have met with women and girls that survived the earthquake only to face rape and violence in the camps. The youngest victim was five years old. Over 1 million Haitians are living in camps throughout Port-au-Prince. Six months after the quake, some have not received distributions of
basic necessities from aid organizations.

STAND WITH US AS WE STAND WITH HAITI

In spite of all of this Haitians have been organizing on the ground since minutes after the earthquake. We as TransAfrica Forum think it our duty to work closely with Haitian organizations. The people of Haiti need everyone to help rebuild a Haiti where every person: men, women, children, the elderly and disabled, can be live with dignity.

And TransAfrica Forum has stood beside them.  We have been there – talking with Haitian local leaders and grassroots activists. We work with emergency relief partners to ensure Haitians receive basic necessities. We continue to report violations of people’s basic human rights such as forced evictions of victims’ from in some cases the only shelter they could find.

What have been the results of our work?  Better congressional oversight and public awareness and in some instances an end to bad practices.  After the reports of forced displacements, a moratorium on forced removals was implemented.

HELP IT

Support Haitian organizations that are best positioned to help Haiti six months and six years from now. TransAfrica Forum’s partner organizations are doing everything they can to assist those who need it the most. Learn about the efforts of these extraordinary organizations:

KOFAVIV is a premier Haitians women’s organization combines support for individual women with the power of grassroots women’s organizing to transform the underlying conditions that give rise to sexual violence against the poor.

Zanmi Lasante is a holistic, long-term healthcare direct service and policy organization working to provide high-quality healthcare to people in Port-au-Prince as well as inhabitants of Haiti’s rural regions, particularly in the Central Plateau.

Haiti Response Coalition is a coalition representing over 50 grassroots organizations in Haiti working in displacement camps in Port au Prince and in the Earthquake zones throughout the country.

CHANGE IT

The need to reform foreign aid and assistance has never been greater. As Haitians continue to find challenges to their inclusion, we must push for a change in the status-quo. While we repeatedly hear phrases like “build back better in Haiti” or “Haiti for Haitians” largely the policies largely enacted do not secure fulfillment of basic needs for the victims of the disaster.

We must demand accountability for the money that has been raised in the name of the people of Haiti. Today, we must put pressure on large aid and relief groups and the governments, both international and Haiti, to ask: where is the money?

TransAfrica Forum has been working closely with various partners on the ground to get consistent, up-to-date information from those affected most.

STAND WITH US AS WE STAND WITH HAITI

We recognize the importance of relationships and holistic solidarity/alliance work and are committed to a steady presence on the ground. We cannot do this work without your support. Please donate to TransAfrica Forum today.

18 JULY}Rebuilding Haiti and 1 Billion Hungry campaign with actor Jeremy Irons

From France 24’s ‘WEBNEWS’ program – Rebuilding Haiti- 1 Billion hungry campaign with actor Jeremy Irons


13 JULY } Haiti’s dilapidated hospitals

(Andy Salcedo)Like everything else, Haiti’s medical infrastructure was dealt a severe blow by the deadly earthquake that struck the country six months ago, killing at least 200,000 people.

Six months on, the central public hospital remains in disrepair.

While the devastating quake has inspired an unprecedented outpouring of generosity from countries around the world, recovery efforts are still slow in the aftermath of the disaster.

FoCUS: Haiti
Special Coverage on the Haiti Quake From Aljazeera English

At least 1.5 million people are still living in temporary shelters, which are in danger of blowing away during hurricane season. The country does not have a resettlement strategy and most families have not been able to move into a new home.

Meanwhile, crime rates are soaring due to gangs of thugs roaming Haiti’s streets, 98 per cent of which are still covered in rubble.

With few services offering little protection to the most vulnerable groups, pregnant mothers are concerned about Haiti’s dilapidated hospitals that are in need of repair.

Al Jazeera English’s Lucia Newman reports.

10 JULY} Six Months on, Haiti’s quake Victims fear rape

(Andy Salcedo)When a powerful earthquake devastated Haiti, aid workers poured into the country along with pledges of security and billions of dollars in aid.

But six months on, conditions for the victims have improved little and in some cases it has worsened.

Aljazeera English’s Sebastian Walker reports on the victims of rape.

My Dream ~ The New Haiti

My dream: The New Haiti

STAND WITH THE PEOPLE OF HAITI!

For More Information about Haiti, Please Call

  • Emergency Number: +33 1 43 17 53 53
  • International Committee of Red Cross/Red Crescent . . .
  • Simon Schorno, ICRC Port-au-Prince, tel: +41 79 251 9302
  • Anna Nelson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 3264
  • ICRC out-of-hours duty phone, tel: +41 22 730 3443

Workers Unite in Haiti

By Nicole C. Lee, Esq., National Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NNPA), May 28, 2010

There is evidence in every corner of Haiti that the relief efforts are failing. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians still are without adequate food and water.  Despite billions of dollars in donations from around the world, Haitians still live in partial tents at are laughable housing for anyone.  The world media has moved on and governments have now focused on rebuilding.

Rebuilding? What does that mean in Haiti when 90% the population lived below the poverty line before the January 12 earthquake? What does rebuilding mean to workers who had very little rights or privileges before the devastation?  As starvation and housing needs continue and corporations prepare to “rebuild” what does it mean to the average worker in Haiti?

Let me tell you the story of “Maryse”. She wakes before dawn and leaves her home by five o’clock.  In order to get to work at the Wilbur Ellis factory, “Maryse” must spend 20 Goudes (50 cent USD) on public transportation.  “Maryse” earns $5.00 a day which is more than most workers because she is a manager.  The highest position a Haitian can achieve.

Her day is more than 12 hour long. Workers are divided into teams of four to six people. Each team must produce 1,200 garments a day in order to receive their full wage. If they do not make their impossible quota, they only receive a small portion of their already ridiculously low wage. The reduction in the wage forces many workers to have to walk home because they can no longer afford car fare and food for their families.

Verbal abuse and intimidation is rampant on the factory floor. The workers have no formal union or representation. There are also no workplace protection or health and safety protocols. When a worker had a serious fall, the company did not take her to the hospital and the company took no responsibility for her care. “Maryse” believes for positive change to take place in Haiti the needs and wishes of the workers must be articulated. Due to a fear of dismissal and a lack of support, however, she doesn’t believe the workers in the factory will organize.

The textile industry has been placed at the forefront of the post-earthquake development plans. The U.S. Congress recently passed the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act to extend current trading benefits on Haitian manufactured textiles. Regarding the HELP Act, Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush remarked, “The important step responds to the needs of the Haitian people for more tools to lift themselves from poverty, while standing to benefit U.S. consumers.” Multiple additional free-trade zones have been established since the earthquake in an attempt to encourage further investment. While economic development is essential for Haiti, these efforts do not reform the broken system. The impact of this sweat shop style of development in Africa, Asia, and Latin America has only further impoverished the working class.

As Haitian trade unions in the country have repeatedly argued, development plans in Haiti must be coupled with increased wage and labor standards.   In the rebuilding we must re-envision trade and development standards because as “Maryse” says, “…there isn’t anything about my job I wouldn’t change.”

Workers in Haiti have to feel safe enough to organize and demand better wages and work conditions. Union leaders in Haiti have be feel they are welcomed in the rebuilding process in Haiti. It is a common belief that workers rights must come after economic development. But history has proven that workers will be left with nothing if corporations and governments are left to design the rebuilding process without union participation.  In this country we must unite behind the belief the Haitians across the board will be better off for generations to come if Haitians today are unionized.

Nicole C. Lee, Esq. is the President of TransAfrica Forum.

US to end ‘military mission’ in Haiti

The US military is due to leave Haiti in June.
Tue, 20 Apr 2010 The US says it is going to end its military mission in Haiti on June 1, insisting that it will maintain a visible military presence in Latin American and the Caribbean.”I anticipate us being able to close down the Joint Task force,” said Lieutenant General Ken Keen, who resigned as head of the Haiti Joint Task Force on Sunday, according to Reuters.”That does not mean that US Southern Command will not continue to have an enduring military presence,” Keen added on Monday, referring to the US military division responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean.Keen said the US aid operations will not come to an end in Haiti after next June, as some 500 members of the Louisiana National Guard would arrive in the country to continue the job.The US stationed about 22,000 of its forces in the Caribbean country in the aftermath of a deadly January 12 earthquake.The devastating quake killed more than 250,000 people and left homeless another one million.RB/MB  http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=123882

World Bank relieves Haiti of debt

 
An estimated 1.2 million people were  made homeless in the January 12 quake [GALLO/GETTY]

The World Bank has cancelled Haiti’s $36m debt in an effort to help the impoverished country recover from a devastating earthquake that struck the nation more than four months ago.

The move, announced on Friday, means Haiti will not have to repay its remaining debt owed to the International Development Association (IDA), the bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries.

“Haiti now has no further amounts payable to the World Bank,” the US-based institution said in a statement.

The debt nullification was made possible by financial contributions from 13 of the bank’s member nations: Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

“Relieving Haiti’s remaining debt is part of our effort to pursue every avenue to help Haiti’s reconstruction efforts,” Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, said in the statement.

“We will continue to work in close co-operation with the Haitian government and our international partners to support the country’s recovery and longer-term development.”

Devastating quake

The magnitude-7 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, destroying the government and commercial centre of the capital Port-au-Prince and killing between 217,000 and 300,000 people, according to government estimates.

The EU, promising $1.6bn, and the US with $1.15bn, led 50 countries in pledging $5.3bn for the first two years of reconstruction.

Haiti’s government has detailed its plans for the money in a 55-page rebuilding plan, at the core of which is the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which is co-chaired by Bill Clinton, the former US president, and Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti’s prime minister.

The damage to the capital is estimated to be up to 120 per cent of the impoverished Caribbean country’s gross domestic product.

An estimated 1.2 million people were also made homeless, many of whom continue to live in tents and under makeshift shelter.

Shortly after the quake, the 186-member nation World Bank announced that it had suspended repayment of the debt owed by Haiti and would seek to cancel it.

Months later, international donors pledged $9.9bn to rebuild Haiti during a donor conference at the UN in April.

The EU, promising $1.6bn, and the US with $1.15bn, led 50 countries in pledging $5.3bn for the first two years of reconstruction.

Haiti’s government has detailed its plans for the money in a 55-page rebuilding plan, at the core of which is the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which is co-chaired by Bill Clinton, the former US president, and Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti’s prime minister.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/05/201052815164722306.html

Haiti donors urged to keep promises

 
Thousands of Haitians continue to live in tent cities, exposed to tropical storms and floods [AFP]

Haiti’s president has called on leaders from Europe and the Americas to keep their promises of aid for the Caribbean country as it struggles to rebuild from the January’s devastating earthquake.

Speaking at a donor conference in the neighbouring Dominican Republic on Wednesday, Rene Preval said that the nation faced an “immense challenge” to rebuild.

According to aid experts, Haiti needs about $11.5bn for its anticipated decade-long rebuilding effort.

But so far, Haitian government officials say, only Brazil has delivered its entire aid pledge of $55m.

Speaking to representatives of more than 50 donor nations on Wednesday, Preval said planned recovery projects to be financed by funds pledged at a donors meeting in March would produce “a more decentralised, fairer Haiti”.

The meeting in New York had pledged $5.3bn toward Haiti’s reconstruction over the next two years and $9.9bn over the next decade, but little of that money has so far arrived.

Former US president Bill Clinton, who co-chairs a commission overseeing much of the reconstruction funds, also called on donors to make come through on their pledges to realise Haiti’s recovery plans.

Wednesday’s conference, titled the “World Summit for the Future of Haiti,” was aimed at extracting more of the pledged money, defining reconstruction projects and deadlines, as well as reassuring donor countries that the World Bank would oversee the process to minimise embezzlement and corruption.

“Today, we have a very clear framework in terms of what we must do,” said Jose Miguel Insulza, the secretary-general of the Organisation of American States.

“This is not just a meeting to look over what has been done, but really to set out a program, adopt it and put it into action.”

Democracy in jeopardy

The top UN representative to Haiti also warned that the country’s struggling democracy was in jeopardy if there was no improvement in the lives of millions of earthquake survivors.

Bill Clinton, the UN special envoy to Haiti urged donors to keep their pledges [AFP]

“The longer that the victims continue living in precarious conditions, the more they will have reason to be discontent,” Edmond Mulet said at the conference.

“That discontent can be manipulated for political ends.”

Officials also discussed ways to finance a planned November 28 election to replace Preval, whose term expires next year.

Preval ignited off street protests in the capital Port-au-Prince when he published a law extending his term by up to three months if the election is not held on time.

On Wednesday however, he reiterated a pledge to step down as scheduled on February 7.

The January 12 earthquake effectively levelled Port-au-Prince, killing more than 250,000 people and leaving 1.3 million living in precarious tent camps exposed to tropical storms.

The economy of Haiti – already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere – was badly hit.

While international aid has flowed in, the magnitude of the disaster means reconstruction efforts have been slow to have an impact.

Much of the country’s infrastructure – roads, water distribution and electricity – has to be rebuilt, along with schools and universities.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/06/2010630313965339

Haitians demand president’s ouster

Tue, 11 May 2010 A demonstrator holds an image of Haiti’s former President Jean-Betran Aristide as police fires tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters.
An anti-government demonstration in Haiti has turned violent, as more than a thousand of angry protesters urged President Rene Preval to step down.Some 2,000 protesters hit the streets of Port-au-Prince on Monday, to show their outrage at what they called Preval’s plan to remain beyond his term.The situation grew tense after riot police arrived on the scene.Officers eventually fired tear gas to disperse the crowds, who were throwing rocks at counter-demonstrators and passing UN vehicles.At least one man was wounded by a bullet during the riots, police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said.Seven people have also been arrested on charges of robbery during the chaos.Opposition groups have been criticizing Preval for allegedly using Haiti’s devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake as a pretext to stay in office beyond his term.The country is scheduled to hold presidential elections before February 2011.However, the parliament has so far granted President Preval 96 more days in office due to the emergency situation in the Caribbean state.Frustrated opponents say the extension or any delay in the vote is unconstitutional.Meanwhile, reports say many of the demonstrators have called for the return of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was exiled to Africa In a US-sponsored rebellion in 2004.The political protest was the largest since the January 12 earthquake.Over 250,000 people were killed in the temblor and more than a million others were left homeless, according to UN estimates.FF/TG/MB  http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=126121

‘Haiti quake may have killed 300,000’

Haiti’s earthquake killed between 250,000 and 300,000 people.
Fri, 23 Apr 2010 The United Nations mission head in Haiti estimates the death toll from the January 12th Port-au-Prince earthquake at 250,000 to 300,000.The Haitian government had previously announced a projected figure of over 220,000.Edmond Mulet said on Thursday that 300,000 were also injured and more than one million people have been left homeless.The UN official also urged people to “not underestimate the size of the task and the challenges that Haiti faces.”He added that the impoverished nation “is … on the right path” towards reconstruction, and that he was showing “prudent optimism.”The 7.0-magnitude quake devastated the capital Port-au-Prince, causing a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions in a country already considered the poorest in the Americas.AGB/MTM/MSA



HAITI: Rights Violations Continue

TransAfrica Forum Policy Brief, May 2010

…multiple
grave
human
rights
violations
are
occurring in
Haiti.

On January 12, 2010 Haiti experienced a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude
earthquake, which killed over 230,000 people, injured over 300,000 and left
millions displaced. The country’s capital, Port-au-Prince was devastated
and several major cities completely destroyed. The international
community, led by the United States, responded with an outpouring of
emergency relief. At least 50 percent of U.S. households made donations
to Haiti relief efforts, totaling almost $1 billion dollars and on March 31
nations around the world pledged $15 billion dollars in short and long-term
aid.
The international effort to help Haitians address the impact of this
devastating event has been laudable. However, the scope of the disaster,
coupled with structural inefficiencies, bureaucratic inertia and vested
interests trying to preserve privilege while giving the appearance of change
have undermined the efficacy of the effort.
From May 2-8, 2010, TransAfrica Forum’s legal staff traveled to Port-au-
Prince, Haiti as part of a delegation coordinated by the Institute for Justice
and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). The delegation met with grassroots
women’s organizations, including KOFAVIV (Commission of Women Victims
for Victims) and FAVILEK (Fanm Viktim Leve Kanpe), and larger NGOs
including Kay Fanm (The Women’s House) and SOFA (Solidarity with Haitian
Women). Additionally, the delegation attended cluster meetings on the UN
Log Base and met with individual Haitian and UN officials. The delegation
also conducted individual interviews with survivors of rape in the internally
displaced persons (IDPs) camps.
Preliminary Findings: Based on interviews and information obtained
during meetings, it is the opinion of TransAfrica Forum that multiple grave
human rights violations are occurring in Haiti. These violations are
occurring through the affirmative actions of the Haitian government, the
UN, donor nations, and NGO’s, and through disregard for the UN Guiding
Principles on Internal Displacement. Haitian civil society is under-consulted
on issues ranging from food distribution to forced relocation of IDPs. In
many cases, the forced relocation is compounding the vulnerable conditions
being faced by millions of Haitians.

http://www.transafricaforum.org/files/POLICY%20BRIEF%20Haiti%20051910.pdf

Haiti: Time Passes But Medical Needs Persist

May 19, 2010

Haiti 2010 © Brigitte Guerber-Cahuzac/MSF

A new MSF structure being raised in Port-au-Prince’s Tabarre neighborhood.

Four months after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams continue to adapt their activities to meet changing, but still major, medical needs. The organization continues to provide primary and secondary care to the population at no cost, working out of approximately 20 sites and operating several mobile clinics.

“More than one million people are still living in deplorable conditions, beneath tents or plastic sheeting, without a clear sense of what’s ahead in the coming months,” says Stefano Zannini, MSF’s head of mission in Haiti. “In the meantime, the rains are intensifying, flooding the sites where earthquake victims live several times a week.”

These conditions produce heightened health risks. Since January 12, MSF has provided medical care to 137,000 patients. The diseases treated in primary health care facilities today include respiratory and waterborne illnesses such as malaria and diarrhea. Since late March, 71 suspected cases of typhoid fever—a disease linked to poor hygiene conditions—have been treated at the Choscal Hospital in the Cité Soleil neighborhood.

In a country where 60 percent of the medical facilities suffered serious damage or were destroyed, MSF is working to meet second-line medical needs by managing or supporting hospitals and specialized medical facilities. “There are patients who were wounded during the earthquake and need orthopedic and revision surgery, but everyday medical needs such as automobile accidents and domestic accidents are also returning to the fore,” explains Dr. John Pratt, who practices at MSF’s Saint-Louis Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

Treating obstetrical cases is also a priority. In April, 635 complicated deliveries, including 131 Cesarean births, were performed at the Isaie Jeanty medical center in Port-au-Prince. In Léogâne, MSF performed 514 surgeries, most of them obstetrical.

MSF has set up the country’s only specialized department for severe burn victims at the Saint-Louis Hospital. The unit includes 3 tents and 27 beds for severe burn patients, both children and adults. Most are children who were burned during household accidents that occurred in the makeshift shelters that often house large families.

Three specialized MSF facilities continue to provide functional rehabilitation therapy, including physical therapy, psychological assistance and other follow-up services. This post-operative care, both in-patient and out-patient, is also provided in the other facilities that MSF manages or supports in Haiti. Over the last four months, the organization has provided post-operative care to more than 14,600 patients.

Psychologists have treated 69,000 earthquake victims at MSF medical facilities and in camps. “Four months after the earthquake, many Haitians still feel the earth move, and the noise is ever-present,” says MSF psychiatrist, Dr. Maryvonne Bargues. “We see many people who are experiencing an onset of acute psychosis. There is a collective depression behind the smiles that pre-earthquake Port-au-Prince evokes. People know that the unsettled nature of their lives will not be resolved for a long time. They are discouraged, but not resigned.”

In April, MSF treated 81 victims of sexual violence in its Port-au-Prince facilities. Care includes psychological and medical assistance, specifically including vaccination against Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS preventive treatment.

With the arrival of the rainy season and, in late Summer, the hurricane season, MSF is gradually shifting its medical activities from tents to permanent or semi-permanent structures. In Léogâne, for example, construction of a 120-bed hospital built out of containers began in early May to replace the hospital destroyed by the earthquake. In Jacmel, where the hospital was largely destroyed, the surgery, maternity, internal medicine and pediatrics departments have now been organized into a semi-permanent structure. Extensive rehabilitation work has also been performed at public medical facilities that MSF supports.

The areas outside of Port-au-Prince were not affected by the earthquake but they nonetheless experienced an influx of hundreds of thousands of people who fled the capital. To evaluate the situation and the medical needs, an MSF team went to several towns, including Gonaives, Port-de-Paix, Cap Haitien, Fort-Liberté, Saint-Marc and Les Cayes. These regions do not have earthquake-related needs but access to health care in rural areas still remains limited. After a more detailed analysis of these evaluations, MSF may decide to expand its activities in some areas.

Lastly, MSF is preparing to meet a possible increase in needs for emergency treatment related to the arrival of the rainy season and a possible worsening of the medical situation in Port-au-Prince and throughout the country. Additional medical and logistical supplies have been ordered and will be available in the coming weeks based on the needs that may arise.

http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=4473&cat=field-news

Judith’s story: In the face of grief, education brings hope in Haiti

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2010/Van den Brule
Judith and fellow students attend class at Ecole Nationale Republique du Bresil, one of many schools that have re-opened in Port-au-Prince with UNICEF support.

Judith, 15, lost her mother to the earthquake that devastated Haiti four months ago. Today she and her fellow students support each other through their grief at one of hundreds of schools that have re-opened with UNICEF support. Here Judith talks about her experience – and hopes for the future – in her own words, as told to UNICEF Haiti staffers Cifora Monier and Jill Van den Brule.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 14 May 2010 – On the day of the quake, Ms. Lambert, our school director, sent us home early. I usually stayed after class to help clean the trash in the schoolyard. But that day, Ms. Lambert had heard that not far from our school a university teacher had been killed and there was fear of rioting. She insisted that we rush home and not linger on the streets.

I was home in about 35 minutes flat, my blouse sticking to my back from the scorching heat. Suddenly we were all white, covered in dust from head to toe. I couldn’t believe what was happening.

My world crumbled

It was a moment that changed everything. My mother, who had been home tending the house, was trapped beneath the rubble, her leg broken. My family worked frantically to remove the rocks, but they were too heavy to lift and we could not move quickly enough. That night we buried our mother.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2010/Van den Brule
Surrounded by UNICEF school supplies, Judith, 15, laughs with her head teacher, Ms. Lambert. “She’s exceptional, always smiling, even after all she has been through,” says Ms. Lambert of her student.

After wandering the streets, we eventually huddled on a street corner and fell asleep among the sounds of wailing women.

We no longer had a home and no longer had our mother. The two places where I sought refuge were gone. My entire life had crumbled before me. I cried a lot over the next few days and weeks, sometimes hearing my mother’s voice or seeing her in my dreams.

After the earthquake, my family went to Les Cayes to spend several lonely weeks in the countryside. I missed my mother so much. But although she was no longer with me, she had given me the strength to move on. Today I keep her alive through my memories – like sitting in front of the TV and watch music shows together.  She said that one day I would also display my talents for the world to see. I want to realize her dream.

A reason for living

Since I came back to Port-au-Prince, I live with eight members of my family in a small room. My father and brother sleep on the floor and my sister, cousins and I sleep on the two beds. When it rains, our room is like a swimming pool as the plastic bags don’t prevent the rain from flooding our room.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2010/Van den Brule
Judith, 15, does her homework. She is back in class at a UNICEF-supported school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, several months after the earthquake that devastated the city.

I now have to walk two hours to get to school each day – 6 km in total.  It is tiring, but I know that I must continue my studies. Sometimes I want to give up but a little voice tells me to stay determined, to keep going. I go to school for my mother, for my future. It’s my reason for living.

I love school and have many friends there. It’s also a place where I can pursue my dreams of singing – I am part of a school choir and study music every day. We recently composed a song about the earthquake.

We must help each other

While school makes me happy, I’ve also lost many friends here. We used to be 74 in my seventh grade class, but now we are just 32. Many have left for the countryside, the U.S. and Canada. Ms. Lambert has become a mentor to me now that my mother isn’t here.  She even worries when I don’t eat before I come to school.

On Fridays, Ms. Lambert organizes assemblies where we share our stories and feelings about the earthquake. Here I talk about my mother. One of my classmates, who is now on crutches, described how her grandmother died right beside her, holding her hand.

The assemblies help us get through these difficult times together. We’ve learned that we must help each other – there is no other way. We must fight to have what we want in life.

http://www.unicef.org/haiti_53652.html

Sean Penn running camp in Haiti for 50,000

Sean Penn has spoken about working as part of the humanitarian effort after the huge earthquake that rocked Haiti earlier this year.

‘I’ll admit, I’m probably fueled a lot by rage right now,’ he said.

The actor now manages a camp of more than 50,000 people, and says of his new role: “There is pressure, and there is added pressure.”

Penn says he is not recognized from his other high-profile job, but “sometimes people are told he is an actor and call him ‘Actor’”, AOL reports.

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Social mobilizers throughout Haiti spread the word about vaccines

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2010/Monier
Omene Charles, a community leader and social mobilizer in Haiti’s recent vaccination drive, uses a megaphone spread the word about immunization.

By Cifora Monier

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 12 May 2010 – Haiti is still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the devastating 12 January earthquake, which claimed more than 200,000 lives, destroyed schools, homes, and water and sanitation systems and left more than 1 million people homeless.

Immunization activities were severely affected by the quake. Many health-care facilities were damaged or destroyed, and the interruption of fuel and power supplies has had a major impact on health services. Facing low vaccination rates across the country – which pre-date the earthquake – UNICEF and its partners are now working to reach every child in Haiti with routine immunization.

Vaccinations resume

In Port-au-Prince, young mother Kelida Henrisme said she had been unable to access vaccines for her three-month-old baby, Kenley. Immunization programmes throughout the capital were temporarily disrupted by the quake.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2010/Monier
Kelida Henrisme holds her three-month-old son Kenley as he receives his first vaccination since Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January.

In recent weeks, however, health workers have been travelling through the city alerting families that vaccinations have resumed.

“When I heard the announcement from the megaphone, I decided to take my son immediately to the vaccination post,” said Ms. Henrisme. “I wanted to get my baby vaccinated.”

Omene Charles, a mother of three, has been a social mobilizer in the small Haitian locality of Campo for 19 years. A respected member of her community, she is stopped frequently by warm greetings on her way through Campo’s town centre. Children shout out her name as she walks by.

“I know the importance of vaccinations and I have witnessed firsthand the consequences these illnesses have when children are not vaccinated,” Ms. Charles said. “For this reason, I feel that it is my duty to motivate my people.”

Reaching every child

In her new role with the immunization campaign, Ms. Charles uses a megaphone to spread the word about vaccines. She visits churches and schools, and goes door-to-door on foot, sometimes walking as many as 20 km per day.

To vaccinate the maximum number of children, the campaign’s mobile teams travel to some of the country’s most difficult-to-reach communities.

Haiti’s latest immunization drive is part of the annual Vaccination Week of the Americas, a regional campaign spanning 44 countries. The 2010 vaccination week, which wrapped up on 6 May, reached some 60,000 children under teh age of five in Haiti alone, protecting them against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles and rubella. The children also received vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets.

More vaccination rounds are being planned for the coming months and will continue to be supported by UNICEF, its partners and the Haitian authorities.

“It is vital that we reach every child,” said UNICEF Immunization Specialist Dr. Yasmine Chalhoub. She noted that another essential element was to inform parents of the consequences of not vaccinating their children.

A long-standing need

In addition to restoring the vaccine programmes disrupted by the earthquake, vaccinators face the challenge of confronting immunization rates that have historically been low throughout the country – even prior to the earthquake. According to the most recent data, the number of Haitian children vaccinated against preventable diseases is as low as 52 per cent in many areas.

“The work is crucial,” said Dr. Chalhoub. “Vaccinators and social mobilizers are the key to ensuring the success of the campaign and we should encourage them to reach out more effectively to their communities.” By doing so, she added, Haiti also takes agency over its own essential vaccine programmes.

“This is the most effective way of ensuring ownership of routine life-saving immunizations,” noted Dr. Chalhoub.

For Ms. Charles and other social mobilizers, the challenge carries great weight and promises important results. “Even after the earthquake, I feel responsible for [the community’s] well-being,” she said. “Parents need only a simple explanation to allow their children to be immunized.”http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti_53628.html

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/people/news/article_1557318.php/Sean-Penn-running-camp-in-Haiti-for-50-000

From International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent

Haiti: Saïda has been found!

12-05-2010 During the earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, Salvanie lost all trace of her nine-year-old daughter, Saïda. The girl had been pulled alive from the rubble of her school, taken to a hospital and then sent on to an unknown destination. Her desperate mother appealed to the ICRC and the Haitian Red Cross for help. Thanks to their efforts, little Saïda was finally found in Guadeloupe. More than three months after the earthquake, she was back in her mother’s arms.

Mother and daughter cannot hide their joy!
©ICRC/O. Miltcheva / ht-e-00636 click to enlargeclick to enlarge
Saïda with her mother, Salvanie, and her little sister, Cama-Lisa.
©ICRC/O. Miltcheva / ht-e-00635

Peals of laughter and joyful cries reverberated across the wooden bungalow where Saïda’s family had been living since the earthquake destroyed their home. The little girl was once again romping around with her three-year-old sister, Cama-Lisa, while their mother looked on with a twinkle in her eye.

“Saïda has been home for a week now and we’ve been celebrating the entire time – the first evening, we sang and danced with our neighbours until two in the morning,” said Salvanie. “Nothing in the world could have made us happier than having our Saïda back.”
The face of the 46-year-old mother lit up when she described being told by the Red Cross that her daughter had been found. “The lady who called said that Saïda was already on a plane heading straight for Port-au-Prince. I was so overcome with joy that I started to tremble.”
A few hours later Salvanie was waiting quietly at the airport with an ICRC team, still in a state of disbelief… until Saïda ran up and threw herself into her mother’s arms.
Avel Joseph, a Haitian Red Cross volunteer, said: “I’ve never been quite so moved by a meeting of this kind. The beaming faces of both mother and daughter made me more aware than ever of the importance of my work.”
Long separation

During her stay in Guadeloupe, Saïda was treated in a hospital and then taken in by a foster family. “Everyone was kind to me,” she said. “The family that took care of me even gave me picture books. But I was so sad to be separated from my mama that I could hardly eat.”
Isabelle Jeanneret, head of the ICRC’s family-links programme in Haiti, explains how the little girl was traced: “We tried every means of finding Saïda. Her name was broadcast daily on four radio stations in Port-au-Prince. We investigated the possibility of a medical evacuation abroad and considered submitting a tracing request to the National Societies of the countries concerned. In the end, we found Saïda’s name on a list of children evacuated to the Antilles that had been provided to us by the French authorities.”
‘I want to be a doctor’

A week after her return home, Saïda’s head was swirling with projects. She was so eager to start school again that she couldn’t wait for her injured foot to fully heal. “I want to catch up on everything I missed and work hard so that I can become a doctor and help other injured people.”
Salvanie is now looking for a school in which to enrol her daughter – but not just any school. After experiencing the trauma of being buried alive in the rubble of her old school, Saïda is afraid to go inside a cement building and wants to attended a tented school. Some scars left by the earthquake will take a long time to heal.

http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/haiti-feature-100510

Haiti: tracing evacuated children

April 9, 2010   Three months on from the earthquake, radio stations are back on the air, phones and Internet are working again. These technologies have enabled many people to find their relatives. However, some parents are still desperately searching for their children, evacuated to unknown destinations in the chaos that immediately followed the quake. ICRC and Haitian Red Cross teams are doing all they can to reunite the families. A report from Olga Miltcheva in Port-au-Prince.

Despite her injured foot, Mimose is running. She is running fast, arms open wide, to welcome her son. The energetic 38-year-old has spent most of her life here in Martissant, one of the poorest areas of the Haitian capital. She lost her house and most of her possessions in the 12 January earthquake. “We’re living from day to day. But I’m happy despite it all. My family survived, and now the Red Cross has brought my child back to me,” she explains, hugging her son tightly.  His name is Claudel. At the tender age of 13, he has already flown over Haiti twice. The first time was in a helicopter, just after the disaster, scared stiff and clenching his teeth on account of the pain in his leg, broken by a concrete block. The second time was in an aeroplane, following an operation and a few weeks at Milo Hospital in Cap Haïtien, where a rescue team had taken him.

“I was really afraid at first. I didn’t know where they were taking me or when I would see my mother again. But then we were able to talk to each other by phone.”

Chaotic evacuations
Finding his parents could have turned out much harder for one young patient at the hospital in Cap Haïtien. Jamesly was evacuated from Port-au-Prince just after the earthquake, shortly after his second birthday. No-one asked his name, or that of his parents.
“Luckily, his father thought to write his phone number on the little boy’s tummy. That’s how we managed to find his family. It’s not easy to think of something like that in the middle of a disaster,” explains Isabelle Jeanneret, head of the ICRC’s restoring family links operation in Haiti.

Taken abroad?
Salvanie is still looking for her nine-year-old daughter. She makes no effort to hide her tears. After a night of terror, Saïda was pulled alive from the ruins of her school, amidst the cries and tears of the survivors. To get her into hospital as fast as possible, her mother loaded her into a car full of other casualties. But there was no room in the car for Salvanie. “That’s the last time I saw her,” she says. When she got to the hospital, she was told that several patients had been evacuated out of the country.
“When we have reliable information indicating that a child has been sent abroad, we contact the Red Cross Society of the country concerned, and they look for the child. Being able to work as a network is one of the great strengths of the Red Cross Movement,” explains Ms Jeanneret. “We will do all we possibly can to find Saïda.”

click to enlarge
Mimose and her son Claudel, back together at last.
©ICRC/O. Miltcheva

//

click to enlarge
Salvanie with her other daughter, Cama-Lisa (3). “Since Saïda’s been gone Cama-Lisa cries a lot and has trouble sleeping. She keeps asking for her sister.”
©ICRC/O. Miltcheva

Social Entrepreneurship in Haiti by Danny Ducat

May 11, 2010  At the recent 2010 Skoll World Forum, one of the most passionate calls to action was made by Paul Farmer, charging social entrepreneurs around the world to come together to assist in rebuilding Haiti. Indeed, we are daily reminded that the direct damage wreaked by the earthquake is far less than the disruption of aftershocks rolling through a fragile economy.  While we can hope that even more people heed Farmer’s rallying cry, it is interesting to look at how the concepts of social entrepreneurship are already being successfully applied to help rebuild Haiti.

From the side of innovation and technology development, inventive designs have been applied to both power delivery systems and easy housing solutions.  A piece at Change.org has recently highlighted one entrepreneur who has made a suitcase-sized solar generator for use to power small devices and lighting.  This is particularly a problem in many countries where central power supplies are unreliable or demand is too great for suppliers to provide on the existing infrastructure.  Unfortunately, this leads to horrifying tales of hospital blackouts where surgeries are abandoned mid-way, or conducted in the dark, due to power loss (watch the remarkable TED talk by Patrick Awuah).  The second innovation is an easily transportable, cheap, and durable housing unit that was developed by Rafael Smith, an Unreasonable Institute fellowship recipient.  The shelter is easily collapsed for shipment to places experiencing natural disasters or political unrest, constructed of durable components, and raised off the ground to improve the sanitation and health for residents (see a nifty construction diagram and image of the “Uber” housing).

To increase the liquidity of resources and capital in an economy that has been severely damaged, we see principals from the microfinance sector being applied in new directions within Haiti.  This includes partnerships between the non-profit microfinance institute Fonkoze, and MasterCard.  Notably, Fonkoze’s expanded influence following the earthquake has also lead to the establishment of Zafen, a collaboration between Fonkoze, The Vincentian Family, DePaul University, and the Haitian Hometown Associations Resource Group.  Zafen’s aim is to provide intrest free loans to enterprising Haitian individuals in order to assist in establishing and maintaining both non-profit and for-profit businesses that will improve nearby social circumstances.  Intriguingly, while Zafen employs a model that is very similar to Kiva’s (empowering many people to make online contributions to fund microloans), it dodges a couple of contentious issues faced by Kiva’s critics.  Namely, Zafen’s loans will be interest-free by acting in conjunction with its charitable organizations.  Furthermore, Zafen’s loans are not pre-approved in the same manner as Kiva’s, which is to say that if a loan is not fully funded by online donors, the project will not be funded at all – therefore the selection of users on the site is more critical to determine the borrowers that will receive loans. For more please visit http://commonwealthent.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/social-entrepreneurship-in-haiti/

Two best friends survive the Haiti earthquake and talk about life in camps for the displaced

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2010/Nybo
Miratson Guerrier and Ricardo Rocourt in the Sainte Therese temporary camp for displaced earthquake survivors in the Pétionville neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

By Thomas Nybo

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 28 April 2010 – Miratson Guerrier and Ricardo Rocourt have been best friends for as long as they can remember. But when the 12 January earthquake here destroyed each of their homes, they also became neighbours.

VIDEO: Watch now

Along with thousands of others, Miratson, 13, and Ricardo, 12, found themselves living in the same temporary settlement – the Sainte Therese camp in the Pétionville suburb of Port-au-Prince.

‘How I survived’

Miratson perched atop the rubble of what was once his family home, telling a visitor about the moments just before the earthquake.

“I was coming from school and my family was cooking food,” he explained. “When the quake hit, my brother went under a wall, and the wall fell and crushed his head and he died. I jumped down on the other side of the house. This is how I survived.”

With that, Miratson pointed to the spot where his brother died. Scattered amidst the rubble were the clothes and broken toys of his siblings.

Miratson’s best friend, Ricardo, has a similar story to tell. “The day of the earthquake, I was outside my house and my mother was on the front porch, so we weren’t injured,” he said. “But my seven-year-old brother was getting lessons at school and he was killed.”

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
Miratson, 13, talks about the difficulties in the camp where he lives.

Makeshift settlements

Back at the temporary settlement, Miratson shares a small makeshift tent with five other family members. There’s only one small bed, which is propped precariously atop bare earth.

“I feel miserable sometimes because where we are in the camp,” said Miratson. “When it rains during the night, we have to climb up on something to stay dry [because] the ground turns to mud.”

Like Miratson, Ricardo shares a tent with five family members. Sleep is difficult, and when the rains come, he walks to his uncle’s restaurant to sleep on the floor.

In addition, food and supplies have become scarce at the camp. Ricardo is getting used to eating just once a day.

“Sometimes there’s no food,” he said. His mother still has a job, “but they had to cut her paycheck in half,” he added.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF video
Ricardo, 12, has lived in Sainte Therese camp since his family’s home was destroyed in the earthquake.

Hopes for the future

The pair of friends has high hopes for the future despite their challenging surroundings. Ricardo talks about becoming president one day, and Miratson would like to be a doctor.

But in the camp, day-to-day concerns continue to outweigh talk of future plans.

“All I want is a house where I can go to sleep, food to eat, water to drink, a place to go to school and a yard to play in,” said Miratson. “This is what would make me happy again.

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti_53443.html

Charity Booth!

April 2010

Charity Booth

WomensRadio has teamed up with CAC to support the Haiti Relief Efforts through an Online Charity Booth.

WomensRadio Interview!

April 2010

WomensRadio

Mrs. Marilyn James, Executive Director of Children & Charity International did an interview with Pat Lynch, host of Speak Up! on WomensRadio, to highlight CAC programs and the ongoing Haiti Relief Efforts. Listen

Haiti Relief Project!

April 2010

CAC has sent 3 response teams to date to bring much needed relief to children and families in Haiti since the earthquake devastated the country. The teams are coordinated by Psychologist Dr. Fredo Ignace. Together with other medical personnel they have carried relief supplies including food, water and donated medical aids

The teams have surveyed conditions to maximize the relief efforts in Port-au-Prince, and they have visited students at the Institute of Grace in Del Mas and Maracia Hospital in Merger devastated by this disaster.
http://www.childrenandcharity.org/

One third of Canadians want troops home after Afghan pullout

Last Updated: May 18, 2010 5:52pm

OTTAWA – Canadians are split on whether the military should take on another mission post-Afghanistan, with one third saying they shouldn’t go anywhere at all.

In a Leger Marketing poll conducted exclusively for QMI Agency, 32% of Canadians said the forces should stay home once they return from the war-ravaged country. About one fifth – 22% – said they didn’t know where Canada should send its military.

The most support for a single country was for Haiti, with 24% of Canadians choosing it out of a list of options. Sudan was a distant runner-up at 6% and Pakistan came in at 5%. The more general Middle East option got 3% and “other” got 4%.

Congo, the troubled but resource-rich African nation, registered 5% support. Rumours had been rampant Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, the head of Canada’s army, wanted to lead the United Nations mission in that country, but he was appointed two weeks ago to the newly created Chief of Transformation role for the Canadian Forces.

Quebecers were more likely to agree with going to Haiti, with 43% support. One in 10 Albertans preferred the idea of sending troops to Congo, although 29% of those polled in the province don’t want the Canadian Forces to go anywhere.

Support for staying home was highest in B.C. at 40%, in Ontario at 34% and 32% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

“There is no longer an appetite for the mission that we have had for the past few years,” said Dave Scholz, vice-president of Leger Marketing.

“We don’t know what we should be doing but we don’t want to be anywhere outside of Canada.”

Scholz says Haiti’s popularity shows Canadians want the military to move back into a humanitarian role. And he says if the government does decide to stay in a combat role, they’ll have to be very clear why, “because right now Canada is saying we believe we should be doing something different.”

The poll asked 1,504 Canadian adults in what region Canada should next focus its military support since Canada has announced its intention to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan next year. It was an online survey conducted between May 10 and 13. The margin of error is 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

laura.payton@sunmedia.ca

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/05/18/13996926.html

Haiti Asks Expat Professionals to Return and Help by A. D. McKenzie

PARIS, May 13 (IPS) – Members of the Haitian diaspora responded with “massive and spontaneous” aid immediately after the Jan. 12 earthquake, with thousands of professionals leaving jobs abroad to go and assist their compatriots, according to a government minister.

Now the Haitian authorities are hoping that even more expatriates will return to settle in the Caribbean country as it undertakes its immense reconstruction programme.

“We are asking skilled Haitians living abroad to return because we need to fill the void in the professional sector,” said Edwin Paraison, minister for Haitians living abroad, as he visited Paris at the start of a European tour this week.

“We were touched by their massive, spontaneous and generous reaction after the earthquake,” he added. “But we have to focus on long-term efforts as we move ahead.”

The aim of his tour is to promote the government’s mobilization plan to entice professionals back, with offers of good salaries, housing and transportation, Paraison said.

“We know that people get accustomed to a certain standard of living abroad so we have to facilitate their return by providing definite benefits,” he told IPS in an interview. “We have to think of things that will make their lives easier in Haiti.”

He said the government was also launching a public awareness campaign so that Haitians who had remained in the country would not feel that they were being displaced by those who opted to return.

“We have to admit that there might be some small problems with feelings of resentment, but we cannot escape the fact that we need to replace the function of those who lost their lives in the earthquake,” he said.

Calling Paris the “capital of the Haitian diaspora in Europe”, Paraison met with groups based in France as well as with French officials, including immigration minister Eric Besson. Repatriation will need coordination from various parties, he said.

An Anglican priest by training, Paraison is also focusing on faith-based communities to spread the word, and he held talks with various congregations here. He was scheduled to meet with groups in Switzerland and Spain as well, ending with a diaspora conference in Barcelona.

Paraison’s visit coincided with events in Paris commemorating the abolition of slavery. Several associations also held demonstrations and a march on Monday, calling on France to pay reparations to its former colonies who suffered from the slave trade.

In the case of Haiti, protesters with the activist MIR (Mouvement International pour les Reparations / International Movement for Reparations) said there was a special obligation as the Caribbean country bore a heavy financial and human toll in its violent break from France two centuries ago.

Following its independence, Haiti was forced to pay France 90 million gold francs in exchange for recognition of the country’s new status and also as reparation for “lost lands and income” in the slave revolt that led to autonomy. The country had to borrow heavily from international banks to pay the sum plus interest, sinking ever deeper into poverty. The payments to France were completed only in the mid-1940s.

In 2004, then Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide calculated the value of the sum Haiti had to pay as 21 billion US dollars at current rates.

Paraison told IPS that Haiti was open to whatever France wanted to do in the area of cooperation and assistance, but he added that his main concern was “mobilizing the diaspora” and appointing a permanent representative for Haitians living here.

Metropolitan France is home to about 75,000 Haitians, among the 4-million strong expatriate community, according to figures from the Haitian embassy in Paris. Those living abroad comprise 83 percent of all Haitian professionals, resulting in a severe “brain drain” for the country, said ambassador Fritzner Gaspard.

Most expat Haitians are based in the United States and Canada. A significant number live in the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries such as Cuba and Jamaica, while others have settled in Europe, Africa and other regions.

Even if a small minority of these people return to Haiti, their contribution would boost the reconstruction efforts, as the country lost more than 20,000 professionals among the estimated 300,000 victims of the earthquake, Gaspard said. In addition, the “anguish and difficulties” following the disaster have forced countless others to emigrate, he told IPS.

Haiti is now working with the United Nations to offer incentives to skilled Haitians, with part of reconstruction contracts being reserved for such workers.

At the International Donors’ Conference held in New York at the end of March, international institutions and 48 countries pledged 5 billion dollars in short-term assistance and an additional 10 billion dollars for Haiti’s long- term reconstruction needs.

If some of these funds can be used to pay ex-pat Haitians for their skills and services, and to provide a decent level of living, even more will be tempted to return, said Mackendie Toupuissant, president of the Platform of Franco- Haitian Associations (PAFHA).

“There is a really strong willingness to return,” he told IPS. “We have cases of people who have already gone back, not necessarily to Port au Prince but to other areas. Sometimes it was a lifelong project that was speeded up by the events of Jan. 12, and sometimes they had certain skills that they wanted to contribute, particularly in the construction sector.”

(END/2010)

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51418

Read About Toronto Rehab’s Rehabilitation Team in Cap Hatien, Haiti

This post is the second of three from members of our first rehab team we sent to Haiti back in March. While Team 3 is in Haiti at the time of writing, Angie, Edith and Mandy were members of the reconnaissance team we sent to investigate how Toronto Rehab could be of assistance. Their work, and the work of their teammates was instrumental in setting the stage for our teams’ current engagement in Cap Hatien. Today’s post is from Edith Ng (OT)  where she  recounts her work with Welton (18 years old) following the injuries he sustained in the January 2010 earthquake.

Before I went to Haiti as part of the March team from Toronto Rehab, I wondered what I could do in 2 weeks to help given rehabilitation is often a long-term process. Now that I have gone and came back, I can confidently say that many things can be achieved in 2 weeks, although the work that still needs to happen is tremendous.

Being the occupational therapist in the team, I was given the task of seeing clients with hand related injuries at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschappelles, most of whom sustained their injuries during the earthquake in January. I quickly realized that although we can contribute by providing therapy, the teaching opportunities that we had were invaluable to promote sustainability after we’d returned home.

In the 2 weeks time, in addition to treating clients, I was fortunate to be able to work along side 3 rehabilitation technicians and a Haitian physical therapist. The rehabilitation technicians were graduates of a wonderful 9-month program organized by the Health Volunteers Overseas that is housed at the HAS to train Haitians in rehabilitation, since there are no physical therapy schools in Haiti.

Ameroline, a rehabilitation technician, at an after-work session on splinting

The physical therapist I worked with was trained in Dominican Republic. We problem-solved, provided treatment, and met as a group before and after each day of work to share ideas and to learn. Other than the learning needs that we identified, the therapy program in Haiti also lacked some basic therapy tools. I was able to leave behind various tools and resources with the help of many therapists around the Greater Toronto Area and support from Toronto Rehab.

It was encouraging to see the Haitian clinicians implementing their new learning, and I realized that 2 weeks may be just sufficient to promote some change. It was also wonderful to hear the clinicians asking for more opportunities to learn, as we knew that it would take more than 2 weeks to learn what they needed to know in order to manage the challenges that they face everyday. Continuing education is an important aspect of building capacity and professional development but it is often lacking for clinicians in Haiti.

Learning was happening throughout this trip for me. Among the many unforgettable individuals that I met and have learned from was an 18-years old gentleman named Welton (his name changed to promote privacy). He has never been to school, and was working on his family farm while living with his mother before his injury. During the earthquake in January he sustained a burn in his left hand and forearm when he fell into a kitchen fire. They did not have the money to seek professional help, so his mother used home remedies to try to help him.

10 days later they finally gathered sufficient funds to go to the hospital. Skin grafts and finger amputation were done but there continued to be exposed tendons, open wounds, swelling, and a lot of pain when we finally met him in March. His first question to me was when could he work on the farm again. He was quiet and was often observed crying. The psychosocial, medical, and rehabilitation needs of Welton and his family were not only an immediate need but would likely require long-term intervention from different rehabilitation professionals which Haiti does not have currently.

What we often take for granted as typical members of the rehabilitation team, such as psychologist, occupational therapist and social worker, are lacking in Haiti. Although a lot of great work is happening through the various professionals in the current healthcare system, there are still many aspects of the health and rehabilitation needs of the clients and their families that are left untouched. The need of ongoing support to provide direct services, to advance rehabilitation practices, and to enhance the quality of life of the many individuals that are now living with disabilities is obvious.

Typical homes we passed by between Port-au-Prince and Deschappelles

I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to share what we have at Toronto Rehab by extending our roles in patient care and education with individuals in Haiti where health services and opportunities to promote professional development are lacking. This is my second trip to volunteer in Haiti and I look forward to more opportunities to help where I can in the future.

Edith Ng
Occupational Therapist
Neuro-Rehabilitation Services
University Centre, Toronto Rehab

Posted by davidakermanis http://rehabinhaiti.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/a-patient-story-welton-18-years-old/


Haitian ambassador speaks at Augusta technology conference

Augusta-based company assisted in the crisis

Raymond A. Joseph, Haiti's ambassador to the United States, speaks at ESi's Web EOC User Conference at the Marriott Hotel on Thursday. He spoke on how the WebEOC software was used at the Embassy to support the Haitian earthquake relief efforts. Jackie Ricciardi/staff

Jackie Ricciardi/staff   Raymond A. Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, speaks at ESi’s Web EOC User Conference at the Marriott Hotel on Thursday. He spoke on how the WebEOC software was used at the Embassy to support the Haitian earthquake relief efforts.
Last updated 2:32 PM

One month after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in mid-January, the country’s ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Alcide Joseph rode through his native homeland to view the devastation.

He cried though he’s not an ordinarily emotional person.

“Through my tears, a broad smile came to my face,” Joseph told corporate emergency managers at a conference at Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites this morning.

Two gentleman who accompanied him asked why he was smiling. He told them they didn’t see what he saw.

“I saw something that struck me. All the traffic lights were working. They had solar panels. Right then and there, I got my first lesson from the earthquake. I said, ‘Haiti has to go green because we have enough sun to sell the whole world,'” Joseph said.

Jospeh was one of several featured speakers at a weeklong conference presented by Augusta-based ESi, a global crisis information management technology company.

The company produces WebEOC, a Web-enabled emergency management communications system, which was used to handle disaster efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

In response to the earthquake, the ambassador opened a crisis command center at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C. A team of volunteers from ESi worked in the embassy and from remote locations around the world, including Port-au-Prince, to use WebEOC to track missing persons, manage volunteers and accept donations.

Joseph said that he saw the writing on the wall for Haiti when he visited his country in 2004. From the air, he looked over the city of Port-au-Prince and was “saddened because the city had become a monstrosity.”

A city built for 150,000 in the 18th Century had grown to more than 2 million with the same infrastructure. When he landed, he went to see “the matchboxes that he saw over the hills,” which had disfigured the city.

Decentralization is at the heart of the reconstruction plan for Haiti, which will take the weight off Port-au-Prince. The earthquake only hit one-fifth of the country, but the country suffered an economic loss of 80 percent, he said.

In relief efforts, Haiti is encouraging people to distribute food, water and medicine outside Port-au-Prince where the people have dispersed. If this isn’t done, the people will come back to the capital city and Haiti will have the same problems that it had before, he said.

“Perhaps Haiti is on its way to a new Haiti,” Joseph said.

Today, camps in some of the most risky areas that are subject to hurricanes are being moved to other areas. The country has received pledges of $5.3 billion to help rebuild the country. Last Monday, the former ambassador of Brazil delivered a cash donation of $55 million to The World Bank for the Haitian relief effort. The U.S. has pledged $1.2 billion.

“The solidarity for Haiti that was evident in the first few days is still continuing on,” Joseph said.

Hopefully, they will be able to “make Haiti the country it should have been from day one,” he said.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2010-05-20/haitian-ambassador-speaks-augusta-technology-conference?v=1274359686



EVALUATING SAFETY, RETURNING HOME: The U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Government of Haiti Ministry of Public Works has assessed 12,000 houses in Port-au-Prince, identifying approximately 40 percent of assessed houses as suitable for habitation. The Government of Haiti and UNOPS, with the support of USAID are also training approximately 200 engineers to assess houses.


DISTRIBUTING SHELTER FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE: Relief agencies distributed shelter materials more rapidly following the Haiti earthquake than after other recent disasters, including the 2006 and 2009 Indonesia earthquakes and the 2008 Burma cyclone. The rate of shelter material distribution following the initial phase reached between 22 and 62 percent more people per week than distributions in the previous emergencies.

For more information, email: usaidpressofficers@usaid.gov.

USAID Responds to Haiti Earthquake

10 Ways That WINNER Is Changing Haiti

Why The Watershed Initiative For National Natural Environment

Natural Resources Reflects America’s Best Development

Practices and a Path Forward For Haiti (March 26, 2010)

WINNER IS:

  • A FIVE-YEAR MULTI-FACETED PROGRAM begun last May and designed to comprehensively build Haiti’s agricultural infrastructure, capacity, and productivity by providing concentrated and transformative support to Haitians in a large area north of Port-au-Prince. It is focused on building and strengthening Haiti’s agricultural foundation, particularly in the areas of Cul-de-Sac, Cabaret, Mirbalais, Archaie and Gonaives and is backed by $126 million in funding from the U.S. Government over the next five years.
  • MANAGED BY A MOSTLY HAITIAN STAFF that works with other Haitians to develop watershed management plans, strengthen farmer associations, provide access to expertise and vital supplies (seeds, fertilizers, credit, tools), and restore protective tree cover.
  • DEDICATED TO CREATING AGRICULTURAL GROWTH that can be independently sustained and flourish, while contributing to the growth of secondary poles of development. WINNER is focused as much on providing materials and expert guidance as on developing civic institutions and networks.
  • BUILT ON A NETWORK OF OVER 200 FARMERS ASSOCIATIONS which work in conjunction with local government officials, NGOs and other entities to form public-private partnerships and prepare the maximum amount of land possible for the planting/harvesting season which runs from March through October.
  • A CRITICAL WAY TO REDUCE RISK TO VULNERABLE POPULATIONS through innovative flood control work in Riviere Grise and La Quinte which will be implemented through labor-intensive projects.
  • PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES, such as watersheds and tree cover, which must be restored in order to ensure that meaningful agricultural development can take place. WINNER provides the funding and education Haitians need to sustain and grow their environment.
  • WIDESPREAD AND EFFECTIVE enough to deliver an efficient response to the country’s food security emergency and meet the needs of the dispersed population in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake.
  • THE CULMINATION of best practices derived from project experience from USAID and other donors over the last 30 years and is now the model for watershed methodology being used in Haiti and around the world by Canada, Spain, France, Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program.
  • A MAJOR SOURCE OF PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT for Haitians displaced by the earthquake. It will help to integrate 15,000 people into specified areas and provide jobs, shelter and services in collaboration with local authorities.
  • A PARTNERSHIP between the U.S. Government, Government of Haiti, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • http://www.usaid.gov/helphaiti/

The Smart Branding Story Behind Haiti’s Brightly-Painted Buses

BY Alissa Walker March 30, 2010

haiti bus

One service to resume quickly after Haiti’s earthquake were its privately-owned buses, which are cheap, reliable and, amazingly, painted with intricate murals featuring everyone from the Virgin Mary to Kobe Bryant. Adam Davidson reported on the curious economics of Haiti’s wildly-painted buses, called tap-taps, for the PBS show Frontline, which aired a special about the earthquake last night.

haiti bus

The story is an incredible tale of branding, entrepreneurship and, yes, simple economics. Keeping the buses outwardly maintained is a vital signal to riders, who, without any kind of government oversight, use the visual cues to tell if the bus is safe and reliable inside, too. “If it doesn’t look nice, people won’t ride it,” a bus owner tells Davidson, who watches as, sure enough, several unpainted buses pull up at a stop and leave, sans passengers. The hustle of getting customers onto the buses goes beyond slapping a coat onto the bus’s exterior: Some owners spend up to $1,200 a year so artists and carpenters (many trained in schools) can devote serious talent to their buses, repainting them several times a year to keep the murals bright.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1602285/the-smart-branding-story-behind-haitis-brightly-painted-buses

The New Haiti Project (TNHP) aims to reconstruct the affected regions in Haiti post the earthquake of January 12, 2010 through construction, educational tours and support services by linking together skilled international volunteers with those on-site in Haiti.  TNHPs mission is to re-build Haiti’s educational and cultural buildings, through networking and volunteer work, diminish future casualties through education and serve as a resource to those touched by the earthquake. (Main page of THNP at Crisis Commons on Wiki)

The New Haiti Project Soup Distribution

The New Haiti Project Soup Distribution Photo from Twitter @Internet Haiti RT @carelpedre: TNHP distribution Sunday started today! Soup to 200 kids at Cité Soleil http://yfrog.com/4jnsrgj

TNHP is ready to expand it horizons and do a blog talk radio show. It is the hope that this could turn into a weekly event. If you would like to be on the show or have any recommendations please let us know. All ideas are welcome.

April:
On the 10th – Meet some of the creators of the New Haiti Project.

On the 17th – Systems thinking in the classroom and in Haiti

On the 24th – The Grand Chemin Community Project with Albert Semerville

http://newhaitiproject.ning.com/group/tnhpblogtalkradio

ACTION PLAN FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION

AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF HAITI

This is the foreword of the English translation offered as a summary of the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan. The entire translation can be found at http://haitivoxpdna.blogspot.com/2010/03/action-plan-for-reconstruction-and.html The blog of Anne-christine d’Adesky.

FOREWORD
The post-earthquake Action Plan that we are presenting to our partners in the international community in this draft version is the expression of the needs that must be met, so that the earthquake that has so cruelly struck our country may becomes a window of opportunity for, in the words of the Head of State, the “re-foundation” of Haiti. It is a rendez-vous with History that our country cannot miss. We are obliged to yield results; we owe it to our children and our children’s children.

The solidarity expressed spontaneously in the hours following the disaster by Haitian men and women at home and abroad, as well as by the international community, towards our people gives us the confidence needed in this historic duty.

The plan that we propose to you is based on a collective effort of reflection and consultation. At the diplomatic level, formal and constructive talks have made us aware of the expectations of our international partners and allowed us to explain to them our choices for the future. On the technical front, officials at the national level supported by international experts conducted an evaluation of losses and damages known by its acronym PDNA (Post Disaster Needs Assessment), which is one of the pillars of this plan.

This proposal is Haitian, as despite the very tight schedule, key sectors of Haitian society were consulted. This is also the case for all Haitians living abroad who have mobilized themselves and have shown that their commitment to the future of the country remains a strong binding factor of this active solidarity. These efforts, these consultations are ongoing and will continue in the weeks and months to come.
We must learn from this national tragedy, which is why the proposal made encompasses not only the devastated areas but also calls for structural changes affecting the entire national territory.

We must reverse the spiral of vulnerability by protecting our people from natural disasters, by managing our watersheds to make them secure and productive in a sustainable way, by stimulating the development of regional poles that can provide quality of life and future prospects for a growing population.

In view of this, we must strengthen the links between all the regions across the country, encourage the strengthening of the regional partnerships that will bring the opportunity for change throughout the country, the Caribbean and beyond.
We need to connect these regions through a network of roads complemented by adequate port and airport facilities and a range of public services appropriate to the imperatives of economic and social development, particularly as regards education and access to quality health services.

We must act now, but with a vision for the future. We need to agree on a short-term program, while creating mechanisms that make possible the preparation and implementation of detailed programs and projects that will bring about firm actions within a ten-year timeframe.

The challenge ahead is huge. This is why, as the Secretary-General of the OECD and the Chairman of the Development Assistance Committee has pointed out, we must find new ways to cooperate, based on the principles of the Paris Declaration and the principles pertaining to operations in Fragile States, notably that of making the strengthening of the state central to interventions.

We understand the importance of reviewing our political, economic and social governance. We pledge to act in this regard.

Below is the web link for the pdf form of the action plan in English.

Government of the Republic of Haiti

Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti

Immediate key initiatives for the future    (March 2010)

http://haiticonference.org/Haiti_Action_Plan_ENG.pdf

What the Haiti Quake Means for the Climate Movement

Published by Josh Lynch January 14, 2010 blogging at

It’s Getting Hot in Here – Dispatches from the Youth Climate Movement

“In this time of distress, climate change is probably the last thing on many peoples’ minds. However, as someone whose life is centered on the issue, every time a natural disaster hits, I think about fossil fuels. Most people associate climate change with sea level rise, droughts, floods, and storms. In recent years researchers have discovered that as sea levels rise and water or ice is displaced, pressure on the underlying rock can trigger seismic or volcanic activity.
We don’t know whether or not there is a link between climate change and Tuesday’s earthquake. As a global phenomenon, it is inherently difficult to map changes in the Earth’s climate to any specific event. What we know is that burning fossil fuels is altering the climate, increasing the likelihood that disasters like this one will occur.
Our actions matter. As people concerned about climate change, it is on us to demonstrate what accountability for burning fossil fuels looks like. We should stand with people impacted by disasters because we know that tomorrow, next year, or in ten years, it could be our family trapped underneath the building, driving away from a wildfire, or looking for dry land in a flood.
We’ve created an unstable climate by burning fossil fuels without accounting for the impact. If I spend time and money supporting the people of Haiti, that is a choice to invest in the health and security of others. In a warming world, strong policy and better technology are urgently needed. However, what is needed the most is for humanity to get connected to the impact of our actions before and after we take them.
There are three basic ways we can account for the impact of burning fossil fuels:
1. Mitigation – Stop burning fossil fuels.
2. Adaptation – Help communities to build levees and other infrastructure to brace for inevitable disasters.
3. Compassion – Be there with volunteers, water, medical supplies, and relief whenever a catastrophic event occurs.
Climate change has taught us that we are all connected on this planet. The fate of a banker in Taipei, a plumber in Mexico City, and a climate activist in Boston, is bound to the fate of the doctor in Port-au-Prince who is searching for medical supplies and a generator after her hospital has collapsed.

Our actions matter. As people concerned about climate change, it is on us to demonstrate what accountability for burning fossil fuels looks like. We can stand with those impacted by disasters because we know that tomorrow, next year, or in ten years, it could be our family trapped underneath the building, driving away from a wildfire, or looking for dry land in a flood.”  For the whole blog please go to the following link.

http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2010/01/14/what-the-haiti-quake-means-for-the-climate-movement/Our actions matter. As people concerned about climate change, it is on us to demonstrate what accountability for burning fossil fuels looks like. We should stand with people impacted by disasters because we know that tomorrow, next year, or in ten years, it could be our family trapped underneath the building, driving away from a wildfire, or looking for dry land in a flood.1. Mitigation – Stop burning fossil fuels.2. Adaptation – Help communities to build levees and other infrastructure to brace for inevitable disasters.3. Compassion – Be there with volunteers, water, medical supplies, and relief whenever a catastrophic event occurs.


Haiti asks the international community for help

By Andy Salcedo

Haiti will ask the world for four billion dollars to help it rebuild and modernize in the wake of the earthquake which decimated the country.

Around 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups will meet at the UN in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan.

“Haiti is still an independent country. We appreciate donors’ help, but its important to let us take responsibility for ourselves. Don’t help out with the aim of taking control of the country, I wouldn’t like that.” said one man.

The earthquake on the 12th of January kılled 220 thousand and left one and a half million homeless. The cost of the damage and economic loss ıs estimated at around 14 bıllıon dollars, the equivalent of almost one point two times Haiti’s GDP.

In Port au Prince, where the majority of activity is concentrated, 100 thousand houses were flattened and 200 thousand were damaged, while 1,300 schools and 50 health clinics were destroyed.

“They don’t want charity. They are not just waiting now for the New York conference to give them a lot of money. They are ready to move ahead themselves and turn this into something positive.” said Marcel Stoessel from Oxfam International.

The EU and a coalition of US-based aid groups have hinted they are likely to pledge almost three billion dollars at today’s conference.

U.S. President Barack Obama has already asked Congress for 2.8 billion dollars in recovery funds.

OperationSAFE Haiti: Preliminary Report

I have only been home for a few days and I am still finding it difficult to pull my thoughts together regarding our work training the first Operation SAFE camp for trauma children in Haiti.  In some ways every disaster is similar, after all every human being needs the same basic elements to survive.  So as we drove through Port-au-Prince into the countryside I saw the crumpled buildings, tent cities, UN trucks and myriad vehicles from one relief agency or another working their way through the crowded streets.  I held on to my seat with the luggage in the back of the Tap-Tap (I was riding there to keep the medical supplies we were bringing in from disappearing) and compared it in my mind to similar scenes in Sichuan, Kashiwazaki and Jogjakarta.  But as we climbed up the dirt road farther into the mountains, winding our way up to a village at the end of the road, I realized that this disaster was different from others.  It is a disaster upon a disaster, a tragedy added to a long line of tragedies.  In some ways their lives have not changed that much, it was always difficult to find food, the water had to be hand carried a mile from a well that was drying up, and medical care was only available when a visiting charity team had doctors.  So at first look it seemed that perhaps they were better equipped to handle hardship and loss than we would be in their place.  Words like “resilient” and “patient” came into my head as I watched them make the best of bad situations.

But as we stayed longer, living with them, working together to help the children and seeing the issues that they face more clearly, other words started to surface, words like “fragility” and “hopelessness”.  We saw children who had been abandoned by parents described as “crazy” after the earthquake.  A man beating his wife mercilessly in public for taking his cellphone, and yet little that anyone could do to stop it from happening again.  Relief agencies based in the nearest city refused to supply food because it was out of their jurisdiction, and yet bringing it from the other side of the mountains seemed even more unlikely.  A woman with a difficult delivery gives birth in the back of the van taking her down the mountain to the hospital, but without proper care the baby doesn’t survive.  Adding tragedy to poverty causes the already precarious balance of daily survival to shift with dire consequences.

And yet I am encouraged as the Haitians bring their own strengths to the program. The children retell the story in their own words and act out the adventure of “Pierre”.  They absorb it like sponges and have greater attention spans than children who have been brought up on television and video games.  They never want to stop coloring or painting and love to sing and dance and play.  Without music or any notation, they learned “Aurore’s” song, “Follow and Believe” and made it their own, and I look into the faces of these precious children and workers and am left with words like “beautiful” and “thank you”.

Each disaster is unique, and every tragedy is profoundly local in nature.  This is why it is so important for healing to be first of all human.

Jonathan Wilson, founder of OperationSafe, has spent over 20 years in humanitarian efforts.

http://helpresources.net/operationsafe/blog/2010/03/operationsafe-haiti-preliminary-report/

Haiti Post-Quake: Devastation, Depravation, Exploitation, and Oppression –

March 29, 2010 – by Stephen Lendman

Two and half months post-quake, the major media mostly ignore Haiti, the calamitous conditions on the ground, and the growing desperation of millions forced to largely endure on their own – out of sight, mind, the concern of world leaders, and UN, USAID and other aid organizations diverting most of the $700 million + donated to contractors and profiteering NGOs.A March 11 New York Times editorial titled, “Haiti, Two Months Later,” tried to have it both ways, citing relief effort failures, yet praising the US, UN, foreign countries, and aid organizations for:”dispatch(ing) tents, tarps, food, water, medicine and doctors as they should. They have done a lot of good, particularly the United States, which rushed supplies, a troop force….and a hospital ship. Many lives were saved.”Unmentioned was the thousands of US combat troops obstructing aid, getting none to the most impoverished neighborhoods, and amounts to emergency shelters have been woefully inadequate, making calamitous conditions worse.A March 25 Times editorial titled, “Haiti’s Misery,” in fact, admitted it, stating:

“The emergency in Haiti isn’t over. It’s getting worse, as the outside world’s attention fades away….(Yet) Misery rages like a fever in the hundreds of camps sheltering hundreds of thousands of….people left homeless….The dreaded rains have swamped tents and ragged stick-and-tarp huts. They have turned walkways into mud lakes (exacerbating the problem of) cooking food, washing clothes, staying clean and avoiding disease.”

It’s the plight of around 1.3 million with no shelter, proper sanitation, clean water, enough food, or medical care. On March 4, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised concerns about a potential deadly malaria outbreak, besides numerous other diseases now spreading. On March 5, Partners in Health (PIH) called conditions on the ground “shameful….shocking, inhumane and rapidly deteriorating.”

Daily they worsen, placing millions of Haitians in grave peril of calamitous depravation, deadly diseases, greater pain and suffering, and potential mass deaths because imperial plans for Haiti are to plunder it for profit and control, not help desperately needy people, many of whom will suffer, then die.

Haiti is open for business. What was no longer exists. Reconstruction will be profit-driven, replacing former neighborhoods with gentrified ones, corporate ventures, and other upscale projects – poor Haitians being dispossessed, exploited, neglected, abandoned, and oppressed if they resist, especially if they interfere with planned plundering of Haiti’s oil and other resources.

On March 24, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited Port-au-Prince with Rene Preval, feigned concern, and participated in staged refugee

camp photo-ops. Haitians reacted angrily, especially at Bush for ousting President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, exiling him to South Africa, and preventing his return, now more than ever when he’s needed.

Protestors outside the national palace burned tires and an American flag, shouting: “Return Aristide! Down with Preval! Down with Bush! The Miami Herald described the Champ de Mars refugee camp visit saying:

“Quake survivors screamed at the three leaders, shouting details of the losses they suffered….Others took a moment to criticize their own president’s leadership. ‘President Preval has never come to see us before,’ screamed Myrlande Saint-Louis, who lives in the Place Mosolee camp the presidents visited. ‘Now because Bush is here he comes. Now he wants to see us!’ ”

The trip served two purposes:

— to increase interest for a March 31 New York international investment conference expected to approve an $11.5 billion package to solidify corporate control of the country, and

— for Preval to resolve land issues obstructing quake survivor relocations from areas wanted for commercial redevelopment, so Haitians have to go, willingly or by force.

Haitians are on their own, women and children most vulnerable, according to Amnesty International (AI). A March 25 report said:

“Sexual violence is widely present in the camps where some of Haiti’s most vulnerable live. It was already a major concern (pre-quake) but the situation in which displaced people are living exposes women and girls to even greater risks.”

Most victims AI interviewed were minors. “One eight-year-old girl was raped when alone in her tent at night. (A) 15-year-old was raped when she went out of the camp to urinate….There are no shelters in the country where victims of sexual violence can be protected and have access to services.”

From March 4 – 25, AI assessed conditions in quake struck areas, in particular, human rights abuses affecting women and children. It reported mass displacement, makeshift camps on “every plot of empty land, public or private, and in every space, square and football pitch.” Even a golf course and secondary roads were used.

Within the camps, security is non-existant, except for scattered ad hoc efforts, leaving women and girls most vulnerable as well as everyone to theft or assaults that might cost them their lives.

AI visited camps with no emergency shelter, food, sanitation, water or medical care, saying:

“Living conditions in these camps are dire and the majority of inhabitants are deeply frustrated with the Haitian authorities and international agencies” showing no concern for their condition.

The Latin American Solidarity Coalition’s (LASC) Assessment on the Ground Pre-Quake

LASC (lasolidarity.org) “is an association of national and local US-based grassroots Latin American and Caribbean solidarity groups (for) a truly progressive Latin America solidarity movement….in support of the people of Latin America struggling for justice and a better future for their countries free of economic, military and cultural imperialism.”

From December 28, 2009 – January 7, 2010 (five days before the quake), its 11-member delegation visited Haiti to investigate UN Blue Helmet (MINUSTAH) human rights abuses. On returning, it published a report titled, “Haiti: An Oppressed State,” its highlights reviewed below.

LASC met with over 70 individuals and organization representatives in Port-au-Prince and two of its most impoverished neighborhoods, Cite Soleil and Bel Air. It also spent two days in Jacmel visiting sustainable development projects.

Testimonies from MINUSTAH-inflicted violence victims were gotten, including people whose family members were murdered. Virtually everyone:

— demanded Aristide’s return;

— called MINUSTAH a repressive, criminal force;

— said international aid hasn’t reached the poor, but instead has been diverted to predatory NGOs, prison building, or stolen by corrupt politicians; and

— believed economic development is exploitive, not providing a living wage, or benefitting poor Haitians productively.

The story is long, painful and familiar. “For over 200 years (and 300 before that), the US, France, and Western Europe (actively) ble(d) and exploit(ed) Haitians and prevent(ed) the only nation born of a slave revolt from becoming successful.” It endured “military invasions, economic embargoes, gunboat blockades, trade barriers, diplomatic quarantines, subsidized armed subversions, US-armed black dictators, and finally, two US-supported coups against” its only beloved leader since liberation, twice democratically elected overwhelmingly, now exiled, and kept from returning.

Repeatedly people said:

“We want Preval to send President Aristide a passport. If Obama wants that to happen it will, because Preval takes his orders from the powerful nations.” Representing hope, Aristide “values social justice and would be an inspiration to the grassroots majority. When he was president, there were more jobs, healthcare and education for our children.” No longer since 2004 or Preval’s 2006 election.

“They don’t hear our demands for better education, healthcare, better roads, and an end to malnutrition. Where does the international aid go? We don’t see it. Preval is weak and corrupt. We want him to listen to us. We want the return of Aristide, and Preval should change and not exclude Lavalas.”

Preval was complicit in the 2004 coup, then allied with the Washington-installed interim Latortue government to prevent Aristide’s return after a more people-oriented 1996 – 2001 first term.

Post-quake, he’s been pathetic, inept, and indifferent to his peoples’ plight – largely invisible, out of sight, silent, and on the sidelines when he’s most needed. Public anger toward him is palpable. For one Haitian, he’s “the devil and we don’t want him” any more. His prospects for a third term are likely nil – he himself saying in a radio interview, “I don’t do politics, okey?” Former opposition figure, Evans Paul, accused him of “single-handedly show(ing) the Haitian people that he cannot lead them.”

MINUSTAH, the Problem, Not the Solution

It was established on June 1, 2004 for an initial six month renewable period to “promote interaction with the Haitian authorities as partners,” operating under the following mandate:

— “in support of the Transitional Government, to ensure a secure and stable environment within which the constitutional and political process in Haiti can take place;

— to assist with the restoration and maintenance of the rule of law, public safety and public order….;

— to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence; and

— to promote and protect human rights, particularly of women and children among other responsibilities.”

In fact, for the first time in UN history, a Blue Helmet force supported a coup d’etat regime, allied with imperial forces, prevented a democratically leader from returning, and systematically committed human rights abuses, including, persecutions, violence, rape, and cold-blooded murder.

Haiti Liberte journalist Yves Pierre Louis said:

“Since 2004, the only human rights violations are by the UN. In Cite Soleil, they break into houses and kill people. They shot into a protest by students. At Jean Juste’s funeral, the UN shot a mourner. People from the Central Plateau were demonstrating for electricity and the UN killed two of them. They commit rape and sexual abuse. They steal peasants’ goats….They are protecting the elites by terrorizing the population.”

Another Cite Soleil resident said “Now that there are no bandits, the UN are the bandits. If they search you and find jewelry, they steal it. They make women take off their clothes to humiliate them.”

Other accounts accused UN forces of shooting up a market, killing and wounding people there, Nigerian soldiers beating a man so severely he nearly died, and no investigations conducted of these or other incidents when demanded.

The case of human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine is shocking and disturbing. After announcing his 2007 Senate candidacy and participating in sit-ins denouncing UN human rights violations, he was disappeared without a trace.

Lavalas organizer Rene Civil said “The occupation is killing and humiliating the people. At any time it could explode into a revolt. MINUSTAH has incited the people to be violent. They live and eat well while we are hungry, homeless, and without schools….If not for the UN guns, Haiti would already have its freedom.”

Haiti’s Dysfunctional Judicial System

LASC investigated four areas:

(1) Lack of Legal Recourse

Victims of MINUSTAH violence are pressured to drop charges. Street vendors in Haiti’s informal sector report attacks that are ruining them financially, the police doing nothing to intervene or investigate. When suits are filed, the court system disadvantages the poor, including by transferring venues to distant locations, making it hard and costly for plaintiffs.

(2) Legal Limbo

Although Haitian law requires prisoner court hearings within 48 hours of arrest, delays of three months or longer are common, and according to Amnesty International, fewer than 20% of many thousands of prisoners ever get to trial, leaving innocent victims languishing under horrific confinement for years.

(3) Prison Conditions

Unconscionable describes them because of mistreatment, extreme overcrowding, prisoners forced to sleep in shifts, inadequate poor food, unsafe water, poor sanitation, little or no medical care, and no remediation efforts for change.

(4) Activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

His prominence was his undoing, LASC speculating that his abductors don’t intend to release him. Perhaps he’s dead, and efforts to learn the truth have been stonewalled.

Haitian Elections

The most recent April 19, 2009 one to fill 12 open Senate seats was a sham after Haiti’s Provisional Election Council (CEP) disqualified Fanmi Lavalas (FL) candidates on procedural grounds. Mass outrage showed up in pre-election polls with only 5% of eligible voters saying they’d participate.

Imagine holding a national election and virtually no one showed up. Because of clear election rigging, FL leaders urged a national boycott. They complied, discrediting the results. LASC testimonies called it a continuation of the 2004 coup, the people given no choice except hand-picked candidates they opposed.

Predatory NGOs

Haiti is called “the Republic of NGOs” for good reason, with over 10,000 in country, according to World Bank estimates, the highest per capital presence worldwide in all sectors of activity and society, many with sizable budgets and very much operating for profit.

LASC repeatedly heard complaints that they “reinforce systems of oppression and exclusion rather than ameliorate the economic and political conditions that lead to poverty and inequality.”

Common criticisms were that aid rarely goes for people needs or to grassroots activists who can best use it. In communities like Cite Soleil, residents get nothing – no schools, hospitals, just police stations. Organizations like Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, and many others exploit people they claim to serve, especially after disasters like wars, floods, famine, and earthquakes.

A peasant group complained that CARE International dumped cheap rice in the country that destroyed local agriculture, and ultimately Haiti’s ability to feed itself. International aid agencies divert funds for high salaries, luxury living, other business ventures, and according to Rene Civil, to co-opt social movement leaders, leaving little for poor Haitians.

After the quake, NGOs scrambled for their share of donations, over $700 million and rising, a bonanza ripe for plunder, so they’re lining up for their share, with plenty more expected to come.

The Economy

Pre-quake, Haiti was heavily dependent on foreign interests, especially American, at the expense of worker rights, a fair wage, even a job with mass unemployment or underemployed for the Hemisphere’s poorest nation, 80% of its population so deeply impoverished that malnutrition is rampant.

The result is a vulnerable population, most on small, subsistence farms, others easily exploited in corporate-run sweatshops, the kinds Bush and Clinton want more of as well as sweeping privatizations, tourism ventures, port development, free trade zones, and deregulatory freedom creating worker hell. Besides unmentioned resource development, the benefits solely for business, not people.

Haitian oligarchs control local agriculture and industry. Cheap imports, privatizations, poor infrastructure, slave wages, too few jobs, and management co-opted unions control Haiti, exploiting people deprived of their rights.

Conditions in Haiti’s sweatshops are instructive. They’re inhumane workplaces where employees work for starvation wages, few or no benefits, in unsafe, unfavorable, harsh, and/or hazardous environments with no ability to organize for redress.

In a 1990s report (still relevant now), the National Labor Committee (NLC) explained the dark, “pernicious…US corporate presence in Haiti: that many of the companies profiting from the abuse and exploitation of Haitian workers are among the largest and most successful US corporations: Disney, Wal-Mart, Kmart, JC Penney, Sears, Hanes/Sara Lee and Kellwood,” among the many.

NLC asked why can’t manufacturers and retailers pay a living wage? Why won’t they give independent human rights monitors access to their contractors’ plants? Why do they extract the most work for starvation wages? Why is the air heavy with dust and lint with no ventilation to speak of? Why are factories hot, dimly lit and crowded? Why do workers have sad, tired faces?

Why are they forced to work seven days a week (with no overtime pay) to accommodate company order schedules? Why must they work 70 hours a week during the year’s hottest season under stifling hot conditions? Why are they treated more like slaves than human beings? Why is none of this reported publicly so consumers can decide whether or not to support these practices by buying or boycotting sweatshop products?

Haitians Explain MINUSTAH violence

An unnamed man said a neighborhood youth disappeared. Many were killed. There’s shooting every day. People can’t conduct their daily activities safely. They’re threatened by MINUSTAH. They enter the area, shoot in the air or randomly at people, terrifying everyone.

Azy Jean Delanio mentioned an August 8, 2005 incident. He was visiting another home when UN soldiers “started shooting and people were just going crazy everywhere so I didn’t want to just run because I could get face to face with them and it would be worse for me.”

Outside, a soldier pushed him down and shot him in the neck. His partner wanted to get him to a hospital. At first, she couldn’t when beaten. Finally, he was treated, asked a lawyer for help, but nothing happened. Since the incident, the bullet is still in his body. He can’t walk, care for himself, or afford surgery to correct the problem. He’s like many others, victimized by a brutal occupier.

Bernard Maudler discussed a June 22, 2009 incident involving UN forces. They shot him in the legs and feet. He still can’t move his toe. He has iron in his leg to fix the bone. He needs medical help to remove it because it’s painful. But it’s too close to his spine for Doctors Without Borders. They don’t have the proper equipment. The bullet entered his stomach causing him cramps.

Jean-Baptist Ristil explained a July 6, 2005 incident. He was sleeping, heard shooting, and went outside to check. Jordanian and Brazilian soldiers were in the street. They had tanks, an MPV, and a helicopter overhead. He heard screams. They were shooting everywhere. He saw a man struck. His mouth was paralyzed. Others were hit. Dead bodies were on the street.

“The same day an old guy was shot and before they killed him, (UN soldiers) put like doo doo fecal from a goat on bread and told him to eat it, and then they killed him.”

It was a reprisal raid. MINUSTAH later blamed gangs for the incident.

Marie Therese Gazie discussed a July 6, 2005 incident from 3AM until 12:30 PM. Gangs had nothing to do with it. A “cannon bullet” hit the side of her house and smashed it. Her husband inside was killed. She’s now a single mother on her own with three children. She can’t afford to send them to school, pay rent, or feed them properly.

Lenene Morice described a December 22, 2006 incident. There was a lot of shooting in the neighborhood. Everyone was screaming. She was by herself, went outside, and was shot in the stomach. With help, she was taken to the hospital, was in pain, spent a month there, couldn’t get food down, and thought she wouldn’t survive. She was told if she got pregnant again she’d die because of the bullet’s location.

Edline Pierre Louis discussed a July 6, 2006 incident. She was sleeping when struck with a bullet in her stomach. At the time, she was seven months pregnant. The baby was prematurely delivered but died. She was the only one hurt. Her other children were screaming but not hit.

Pierre Jean Bernard described a July 6, 2005 incident when MINUSTAH shot and killed his brother. He wasn’t a bandit, had no gun, and never owned one. He was a domestic worker, played casino in the streets, but wasn’t involved with gangs. Soldiers claimed they were after bandits, but only hurt civilians going about their activities peacefully.

His brother had four children. They can’t go to school or have the basics for daily life. They’re victims like their father.

Lumane Etienne discussed a June 7, 2007 incident. Two of her children were going to visit a cousin, were shot in the street and killed. Five others survive, but life is very hard for her with everything going on in Haiti.

Cine Mirlande spoke about two incidents – on October 5 and 15, 2008. On October 5, UN soldiers killed her father. Then on October 15, they killed her eight-year-old son en route to school. The pretext again was going after bandits.

The above incidents describe daily life for poor Haitians, especially in the most impoverished areas. US and MINUSTAH forces are in charge along with repressive Haitian police as brutal as UN paramilitaries. From one day to the next, Haitians aren’t sure they’ll survive, now more than ever post-quake.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached
at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.uruknet.info/index.php?p=m64619&hd=&size=1&l=e

EDITORIAL: Thousands of Haitians will die unless U.S. beefs-up relief efforts

Haitian writer Frankétienne named UNESCO Artist for Peace

Frankétienne

24 March 2010 – The United Nations cultural agency today named the Haitian writer Frankétienne as one of their Artists for Peace in recognition of his contribution to French-language literature, his commitment to preserving Haitian culture and his contribution to the promotion of the agency’s ideals.

The agency’s director-general Irina Bokova bestowed the honour on Frankétienne at a forum in the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to discuss the reconstruction of Haiti’s social, cultural and intellectual heritage following January’s devastating earthquake.

A writer, actor, painter and teacher, Frankétienne is considered an emblematic figure in the Haitian culture. The author of 40 books in French and Creole, including Dezafi and Ultravocal, he has received numerous awards and literary prizes. His play Melovivi or Le Piège (“The Trap”) will be staged for the first time at UNESCO headquarters today.

Appointed for two years, Frankétienne will provide particular support to UNESCO’s programmes to promote books and linguistic diversity.

The UNESCO Artists for Peace are personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to the service of UNESCO’s message. The musicians Manu Dibango (Cameroon) and Gilberto Gil (Brazil), the actress and singer Maria de Medeiros of Portugal and the fashion designer Bibi Russell of Bangladesh are among personalities who have previously been designated.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34182&Cr=unesco&Cr1=haiti

How can lawyers help Haiti?

afua Posted by Afua Hirsch Friday 26 March 2010 14.30 GMT guardian.co.uk

From monitoring NGOs to supporting children’s rights, international lawyers are vital to Haiti’s reconstruction efforts

After a disaster on the scale of Haiti‘s earthquake, lawyers are low down on the list of experts most people would call. The obvious need is for rescuers, health professionals, security officials and teachers. Lawyers – whether of the domestic or international variety, like many of those here at the American Society of International Law – are known for litigation, and making money, neither of which spring to mind as useful or desirable during a humanitarian catastrophe.

But lawyers are also good at asking questions, and as far as what’s happening in Haiti is concerned, there is no shortage of those. Like, for example, what is happening to millions of extra dollars pouring into a country that already had a staggering 10,000 NGOs before the earthquake. For an island with a population of fewer than 10 million, there is at least one NGO per 1,000 people. Bearing in mind that the US government alone managed to waste an estimated $4bn in reconstructing Iraq, with fraudulent Americans looking like major beneficiaries, there couldn’t be a more tangible examples of what to avoid.

Then there is the question of immigration. One of the enduring characteristics of life in Haiti before the earthquake has been the attempts of its people to leave. Many headed here, to the US, and – in what remains a source of great bitterness among Haitians – boatloads were apprehended on the high seas and sent back. Meanwhile the US was welcoming Cubans into the country with open arms during the same period. Harold Koh, former dean of Yale law school and now legal advisor to the Department of State – one of the most senior lawyers in Obama’s government – represented Haitans who were held at Guantánamo Bay during this period in the 1990s, describes it as a dark period in the history of US immigration policy.

Just three days after the 12 January earthquake the US government put a significant, if temporary, end to that policy by granting Haitians temporary protected immigration status for 18 months, allowing them to remain in the country and work without fear of removal. But take-up has been much lower than the 200,000 Haitians expected to come forward. Haitian migrants are probably some of the least-well placed people to pay the $470 fee to obtain that status, but that is not, according to immigration law expert Muzaffar Christi at NYU school of law, the reason. He argues that the US policy of turning Haitans away over the past two decades has been so effective that the government cannot now find enough migrants to come forward to take advantage of its newfound benevolence.

Is it even right to encourage Haitians to work in the US – even if just temporarily? A historical brain drain is both a symptom and cause of Haiti’s problems. Talented individuals have left because of a lack of opportunities at home – a story that is familiar to much of Africa and the poorer countries in the Caribbean.

In Haiti, remittances now count for one third of the country’s entire GDP. Should skilled Haitians, of which there are many, be encouraged to work abroad to gain access to funds that will support the relief effort, or to return and contribute hands-on? And if the former, why are wealthier Caribbean nations such as neighbouring Dominican Republic and the prosperous Bahamas – which have increasingly stigmatised Haitians through their immigration laws – not doing their part to support them, too?

Last but definitely not least, what about rights? In this regard, the US and the UK are in a special place – driving the relief effort by, in part, preaching the adoption of rights which they don’t recognise at home. As Jonathan Todres, expert on children’s rights at Georgia State University College of Law, pointed out, 45% of Haiti’s population are children. Children’s rights are not an add-on in Haiti, they are mainstream – central to short-term aid, long-term planning and preventing abuse like child trafficking.

But the US and the UK – both major players in Haiti’s relief effort, are both deeply ambivalent about legal protection for children’s rights. The international rules governing children’s rights – most importantly contained in the UN convention on the rights of the child – is the most widely ratified treaty in the world, except the US hasn’t ratified it, and the UK has ratified it but not incorporated it into domestic law, leaving it toothless.

The US is an old hand at the strange art of encouraging other countries to adopt international law tools they refuse to accept at home. Whether children’s rights, the ICC, or domestic human rights organisations, the US devotes significant resources to promoting things abroad it deems unsuitable for domestic consumption. If the UK repeals the Human Rights Act but remains committed to human rights abroad, as seems likely, we will be moving in this bizarre direction too.

The commitment to Haiti does seem to transcend political divides. It’s impossible to conceive of a government in any major donor country that would shy away from contributing. But international law is there for a reason – it has been to disaster areas like this before. If it’s lawyers who serve as the bearers of that wisdom, so be it.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/henryporter/2010/mar/26/haiti-lawyers-rights-reconstruction

Clinton Urges Aid Groups to Make Haiti Self-Sufficient

26 March 2010    By Robin Caldwell

In his ser­vice as a spe­cial envoy to Haiti, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton spoke to aids groups serv­ing the earthquake-devastated coun­try on Thurs­day. He asked groups to focus their ener­gies on assis­tance that enables Haiti to become a self-sufficient nation.

“Every time we spend a dol­lar in Haiti from now on we have to ask our­selves, ‘Does this have a long-term return? Are we help­ing them become more self-sufficient? … Are we seri­ous about work­ing our­selves out of a job?’” Clin­ton said.

As a part of this request, Clin­ton asked the groups to des­ig­nate 10% of their bud­gets to Hait­ian gov­ern­ment salaries and employee train­ing. The spe­cial United Nations envoy also asked that focus be given to com­mu­ni­ties and munic­i­pal­i­ties out­side of Port-au-Prince, the capi­tol of Haiti, in order for the des­e­crated area to rebuild. And Clin­ton urged to hire local staffs and coop­er­ate with local author­i­ties in their relief efforts.

For­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton con­tin­ued by ask­ing relief agen­cies to uti­lize an online ser­vice that enables them to keep their dona­tions and expen­di­tures transparent.

Next week, a crit­i­cal U.N. donors con­fer­ence takes place, where Hait­ian offi­cials are expected to ask for $11.5 bil­lion to rebuild.

http://politic365.com/2010/03/26/clinton-urges-aid-groups-to-make-haiti-self-sufficient/



HAITI: Children struggle in make-shift orphanage


Photo: Tamar Dressler/IRIN
They should be in class

PORT-AU-PRINCE, 22 March 2010 (IRIN) – Mami George, a retired teacher, sits in a courtyard at the small orphanage she manages in San Marie, Port-au-Prince. The area, once home to 2,000 residents, now accommodates some 6,000 people who lost their homes in the January earthquake.

George began feeding the orphans living on the streets near the site and within days found herself caring for more than 50 children aged between three and 15.

Only 500 orphans have been registered with the different local and international agencies in Haiti since the quake, not including the ones living in orphanages before the disaster. According to local caretakers, most children who had one living relative were taken in by them, explaining the relatively low number of orphans. The children in George’s care, however, have no one.

In a small compound, living in tents donated by French volunteers, these children are cared for by a team of local helpers. Food is distributed daily by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) kitchen in the camp, with 1,300 calories crammed into each serving of porridge or rice and beans – enough to keep these children alive but not enough to drive away the hunger pangs. Another 900 meals are distributed to school children on the site as part of a WFP food distribution scheme. It plans to provide hot meals to some 170,000 school children nationwide. State schools are closed until 1 April, but local NGOs operate makeshift schools in some areas. In the interim more than one million children remain without access to classes.

Stressed children
More than two months after the quake, nobody has come to claim any of the children in Mami George’s care.
The children are stressed, says George, pointing to several mattresses drying on a nearby roof. Some of the children have gone back to bed-wetting following the quake.
Volunteers from different countries visit the orphanage compound once or twice a week and are an instant attraction for the children. With no toys or playground, every visitor is a welcome distraction. “We cope with what we have, but we need plastic bed sheets, clothes, snacks, toys,” George told IRIN.
Nineteen volunteer caretakers work in 12-hour shifts, every day of the week, but are unable to address the children’s psychological needs, and local Haitian psychologists are a rarity.
The International Organization for Migration has opened a psycho-social cluster for NGOs dealing with post-traumatic stress but it is difficult to access 1.3 million people living in 400 temporary sites. The children will have to wait – for assistance, for clothes, for schools to re-open. • This article was amended on 22 March 2010. The original version erroneously reported the number of children not in school as some 2.5 million, which has been corrected to reflect estimates as of 19 March.

http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=88510

Hundreds of Haitian families moved to first of new campsites – UN

Haitians set up temporary shelters in Port-au-Prince stadium

26 March 2010 – Some 200 Haitian families have been moved into the first of an expected five transitional sites being set up to decongest spontaneous settlements of those left homeless by the 12 January earthquake, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.     Discussions are still ongoing between agencies dealing with protection and camp management issues to come up with the best relocation criteria. One of the recommendations is to prioritize for relocation people who staying in areas prone to flooding and related hazards.     OCHA also reported that 74 per cent of the 1.3 million people in need have received emergency shelter materials. Distribution of waterproof shelter materials ahead of the upcoming rainy season remains a top humanitarian priority.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that it has scaled up efforts to reach 108,000 farmers with seeds and tools. The targeted farmers include 68,000 who will be assisted during the spring planting season in southern Haiti, and 40,000 who will receive help during the summer planting season in Artibonite, the country main rice-growing area in the northeast.     The UN World Food Programme (WFP), for its part, said it is currently providing food assistance to 67 hospitals with the aim of reaching up to 100,000 beneficiaries in the facilities.     In response to rising reports of gender-based violence incidents, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the national police have stepped up security patrols at six settlement sites.     Meanwhile, findings of the post-disaster needs assessment show that the earthquake caused damage and losses estimated at $7.8 billion – $4.3 billion in physical damage and $3.5 billion in economic losses. The damage and losses are equivalent to about 120 per cent of Haiti’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year.       According to OCHA, the revised humanitarian appeal for Haiti, which seeks $1.4 billion, is 50 per cent funded having received $718 million, with another $36 million in uncommitted pledges.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34219&Cr=haiti&Cr1=


Craig Kielburger is the co-founder of Free The Children, a unique international development and youth empowerment organization based in Canada.With Partners In Health, Free the Children is providing emergency relief and medical supplies in Haiti to get immediate, effective, primary health care and support to the hardest-hit communitieshttp://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100119/haiti_craig_day_three_100120/20100120/

January 19, 2010 10:29  by Dr. Neil Rau

Following the 2004 tsunami that affected Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand, the World Health Organization expressed concerns that the ensuing disarray might lead to outbreaks of cholera, malaria and dengue fever, to name a few threats. In the end, no such outbreaks occurred; relief and humanitarian efforts are credited for the favourable outcome.

In contrast, Haiti has multiple disadvantages at hand:

1) Before the earthquake, Haiti was a sad case for communicable diseases control

No city in Haiti ever had a water and sewerage system. Diarrheal diseases are common among children and often hit them before they can develop natural immunity. Typhoid fever remains endemic to Haiti. While cholera has not been encountered there so far, a few cases in the context of a contaminated water supply could cause havoc.

The population density in Haiti is the highest of all Latin American countries (crowding is synonymous with the spread of many infectious diseases), facilitating the spread of tuberculosis. Crowding also facilitates the spread of malaria, including the most deadly form: P. falciparum, and dengue fever (also transmitted by mosquitoes) in urban areas.

Poor vaccination coverage rates increase the risk of spread of measles, diphtheria and whooping cough in crowded settings. Respiratory infections such as pandemic H1N1 influenza spread also more easily in crowded settings, among those without access to medical care.

Other vaccine-preventable diseases such as tetanus are still encountered in newborn children. Fortunately, Haiti has been free of polio since 1994. Hepatitis B continues to spread in the absence of routine vaccination programmes.

Seven to 10 per cent of the sexually-active urban population is HIV-infected.  This group is at particularly greater risk of developing and spreading reactivated TB. The same applies to the 40% of children who are malnourished.

2) The earthquake just made a bad situation worse

In addition to all of the above, we have an additional issue: the administrative node of government has been destroyed. Even aid organization headquarters have been severely damaged. Moreover, aid workers cannot readily transport safe drinking water, water decontamination supplies or antibiotics / antimalarial medicines to many severely damaged areas of the country. Now, a civil insurrection and lack of a police force puts not only locals at risk but aid workers too.

Malnutrition will likely worsen for many in the coming days. Mother of infants, who should breastfeed in this circumstance, may see decreased milk production as a result of malnutrition and resort to formula feeding, with attendant risks of diarrheal disease for the infants with immature immune systems.

Improper disposal of corpses could lead to further contamination of the already unsafe water supply.

Many are now displaced into even more crowded and less hygienic environments than before, with improper waste disposal increasing the risk of spread of diarrheal disease.

An interrupted power supply increases the risk of stored food spoiling and becoming unsafe for consumption, while the lack of cooking fuel may increase the risks of inadequate cooking.

Inadequate laboratory diagnostic capabilities may require that many cases of dysentery occur before an outbreak is even noticed.

3) Even aid workers face risks

In contrast with the 2004 tsunami, aid workers face infectious diseases risks while in Haiti. Though they are protected from the worst of diarrheal diseases by access to bottled water, the segregated accommodation and bed nets will not entirely protect against mosquito-borne diseases cited above. In addition, the inadvertent consumption of local water may pose a risk of viral hepatitis (such as hepatitis A or E; a pre-travel vaccine does not exist for the latter), diarrheal disease, or typhoid fever. A domestic dog bite may pose a risk of rabies, and would need to be addressed promptly.

This is a dire situation that is quite different from the 2004 tsunami. As it turns out, the hackneyed aphorism of influenza pandemic planning — “Plan for the worst, hope for the best” — might have a more relevant application here.

http://healthblog.ctv.ca/post/Infectious-disease-risks-in-Haiti-A-worse-situation-than-the-2004-tsunami.aspx

President Sirleaf Calls for Prayers for Haiti – Launches Fund Drive
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on all religious institutions in the country to remember in their prayers victims of the earthquake in Haiti and dedicate their services to the country’s recovery.

The call by the President was made January 15 at a Cabinet meeting, at which time the Liberian Government announced a contribution of USD$50, 000.00 (fifty-thousand) to the Government and people of Haiti, in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck the country on January 12, leaving thousands of people dead and displaced. A moment of silence was observed by the President and her Cabinet in memory of those who lost their lives in the disaster. continue at following website.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201001181133.html

Survivor in Haiti alive after 7 days

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 07:41:10 GMT
Rescuers bringing out the woman, Ena Zizi, alive.
After the disaster in Haiti, hope seems to be the only thing to help people endure the situation as two women survive the killer quake after one full week.Rescue workers on Tuesday pulled an elderly woman alive and singing out from under the rubble of Haiti’s Roman Catholic cathedral, a week after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck.Crews saved the woman, Ena Zizi, who is in her 70s, making everybody call it a miracle, and giving hope to the rescue workers still digging for survivors in the ruins of the capital.Zizi’s right femur was fractured and she was in shock. She was taken to a nearby clinic. The clinic, however, did not have the operating facilities needed to treat her.Hours later, in a separate rescue, a 25-year-old woman also emerged alive from the ruins last week’s deadly earthquake.Rescue workers continue as crews think two other people may be alive under nearby wreckage, in part because of a text message the crews believe was sent from under the rubble, a CNN team reported.Haitian officials have put the death toll at 75,000, but have warned that 200,000 may have perished after the killer quake tore buildings to the ground.NAT/JG

On Friday, the US’ leading entertainers will once again organise a star-studded telethon in order to raise money for victims of an almost incomprehensible tragedy – the third time they have done so in less than a decade.

Relief may be arriving but distribution to Haiti’s shocked population is difficult [GALLO/GETTY

The first, in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, understandably avoided any sort of critical political imagery or discourse in favour of uniting the country in support of the victims.The 2005 telethon in response to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina occurred at a tenser political moment, as violence was flaring in Iraq and Americans were beginning to question President Bush’s true motives for invading the country.

The massive incompetence surrounding the government relief effort was already apparent

Please continue reading about this critical issue at the following link.

http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/01/20101196265844450.html

Haiti aid starts getting through  

The UN says 73,000 people have received aid but groups say three million need help [Reuters

International relief efforts are gaining momentum in Haiti a week after an earthquake killed tens of thousands of people and left three million in need of help.After criticism that military and rescue flights had been given priority over humanitarian aid at the tiny Port-au-Prince airport, the US and UN have now agreed to prioritise aid, paving the way for critical supplies to get out to survivors.

But severe shortages of fuel and security concerns, transportation bottlenecks and bureaucratic confusion, as well as the sheer scale of the need, have continued to pose severe challenges to the distribution of aid.

The UN said more than 73,000 people had received a week’s rations, but relief groups estimate that as many as one third of the nine million population is in need of assistance, and some 300,000 survivors in the capital alone are still living in sprawling tent cities.About 105,000 food rations and 20,000 tents distributed on Monday by the World Food Programme and humanitarian groups from neighbouring Dominican Republic, the AFP news agency reported one Haitian official as saying.

Sebastian Walker, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Port-au-Prince, said: “There really is a strong PR effect that has kicked into action to stave off that criticism heard in the past few days”, with US military press conferences and the embedding of journalists during aid work.

However, Walker added: “It will be a week tomorrow that the earthquake took place and the delivery of aid does not seem to be going that smoothly.”

‘Organised calm’

Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley, reporting from Port-au-Prince, said people were scavenging, going through buildings and taking whatever they could find to either eat or barter for food.

But while there were reports of isolated incidents of violence, for the most part, there was an “organised calm” in the capital, Birtley said.Frustrations were continuing to mount, however, at the pace of aid distribution – still too slow for many living on the streets with little food, water and shelter – and there were fears that security would deteriorate in the coming days if the situation did not improve, he added.

Still, the US military’s commander on the ground said the city was actually seeing less violence than before the earthquake.

“The level of violence that we see now is below the pre-earthquake levels. Nevertheless, any incidents of violence will impede our ability to deliver humanitarian assistance,” Lieutenant-General Ken Keen said.

US officials said some 2,200 marines were arriving to join 1,700 US troops already on the ground and Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, announced on Monday that he would seek 3,500 more UN police and peacekeeping troops join the existing 9,000 stationed in Haiti.

Meanwhile, search teams were still working to rescue victims trapped under rubble, Elisabeth Byrs, the UN humanitarian spokeswoman, said.

Birtley said many Haitians appeared to be giving up hope of finding survivors after so many days.

Getting out

While aid workers continued efforts to make their way into the country, many people were trying to get out.

Hundreds of US citizens, or those claiming to be, could be seen in a long line outside the US embassy in Port-au-Prince in the hopes of arranging a flight out of the country.The US said on Monday that it would temporarily allow entry to orphaned children to receive needed care.

“Authorising the use of humanitarian parole for orphans who are eligible for adoption in the United States will allow them to receive the care they need here,” Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, said.

The policy will be applied on a case-by-case basis to children legally confirmed as orphans eligible for adoption in another country by the Haitian government and who are being adopted by US citizens.

European nations pledged more than $500m in emergency and long-term aid on Monday, on top of the $100m promised earlier by the US.

But Leonel Fernandez, the president of neighbouring Dominican Republic, said on Monday that it would cost $10bn over five years to rebuild the country.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/01/201011935359242728.html


Earthquake Haiti coverage AsnycnowUSA Allows Entry for Thousands of Orphans

Agence France Presse

The United States said it would allow orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States legally so they can receive care they need on the heels of the killer earthquake in the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help reunite families in Haiti during this very difficult time,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement.

“While we remain focused on family reunification in Haiti, authorizing the use of humanitarian parole for orphans who are eligible for adoption in the United States will allow them to receive the care they need here,” she said.

The US move does not open the country’s doors to all Haitian orphans.

Rather it grants case-by-case humanitarian entry to those “legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the government of Haiti and are being adopted by US citizens … (and) children who have been previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to US citizen prospective adoptive parents.”

That means that US parents adopting children from Haiti will not have to wait for final paperwork or passports from the Haitian government, which is struggling to cope with a humanitarian disaster after a 7.0-strength quake flattened much of the capital and killed thousands.

“Unaccompanied minors entering the country without a parent or legal guardian are subject to special procedures regarding their custody and care. DHS coordinates with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement on the cases of these unaccompanied minors,” Napolitano added.

from @Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/rss/breaking_news/102897/us_allows_entry_for_thousands_of_haitian_orphans/

Haitian Red Cross at the Heart of Relief

Red Cross Appeals For $100 Million For Haiti

Lisa Schlein | Geneva 17 January 2010

Earthquake survivors carry buckets of water from a water distribution truck in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 15 Jan 2010Earthquake survivors carry buckets of water from a water distribution truck in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 15 Jan 2010

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is appealing for $100 million for Haiti.  The appeal covers emergency relief and long-term recovery assistance for 300,000 people over the next three years.

The International Red Cross Federation says its most immediate concern is to get lifesaving emergency aid to hundreds of thousands of survivors of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake.

But Red Cross spokesman, Matthew Cochrane, tells VOA, the needs of people go beyond the immediate emergency response and that is what its $100 million appeal is meant to address.

“Lives have been absolutely destroyed.  Houses have been destroyed.  Community infrastructure has been absolutely destroyed and we are very much committed to being involved in the rebuilding of Haiti once the relief operation winds down in six to nine months,” he said.

Cochrane says the Red Cross is making progress in getting together all the elements needed to scale up its humanitarian operation.  In the past couple of days, he says two planes carrying 22 tons of aid landed in the Haitian capital, Port au Prince.

He says a convoy of aid supplies, including a 50-bed field hospital, and disaster experts arrived overland from the Dominican Republic.

He says the earthquake victims are in desperate need of food, water, medical assistance and shelter.  In the coming weeks, he says the Red Cross will concentrate much of its effort on providing clean water.  He says this is crucial to reduce the risk of waterborne and water-related diseases.

“Dysentery, diarrheal diseases.  These were threats that were probably with the Haitians even before the earthquake,” he said.  “Now that this damage, that last bit of infrastructure, that last bit of social support, there are huge concerns that we will see outbreaks of entirely treatable and preventable, but nevertheless, very deadly illnesses.  And, so that has to be a focus,” he said.

Up to now, international aid operations have been centered on the capital, Port-au-Prince.  But, little attention has been given to the outlying areas because of the difficulty of reaching them.

Cochrane says the Red Cross has some preliminary assessments of the severity of the damage caused by the earthquake in three places.  He says aid workers report between 80-90 percent of the town of Leogane has been destroyed.

In Gressier, up to 50 percent of the town has been destroyed and in Carrefour, he says there are reports of people still being trapped in collapsed buildings.

Across the road, just a few meters away, is a small branch of the Red Cross working out of a garage beneath the Mayor’s office. It bears very little resemblance to a first aid station – the space is cramped and full of cars. But these are some of the conditions to be overcome in order to provide support to injured, explains one Red Cross volunteer.

“It may not be the best place with all these cars around but plenty of people are coming in and we are caring for them,” says Rita Aristide, a Haitian Red Cross volunteer since 1999. ”We have been dressing wounds for hundreds of people already.”

aid in Port-au-Prince, the city hardest hit by the 12 January tremors, which are believed to have impacted one third of Haiti’s 9 million people.

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/disaster/Red-Cross-Appeals-100-Million-Haiti–81921597.html

Earthquake in Hait i- Hope for the Survivors

I Let Out a Cry, as if I’d Heard Everybody I Loved Had Died

In a moving response to the earthquake, a Haitian singer demands that her homeland isn’t once again abandoned by the west.

by Regine Chassagne  from The Observer 17 January 2010

Somewhere in my heart, it’s the end of the world.

These days, nothing is funny. I am mourning people I know. People I don’t know. People who are still trapped under rubble and won’t be rescued in time. I can’t help it.

Everybody I talk to says the same thing: time has stopped.

Simultaneously, time is at work. Sneakily passing through the cracks, taking the lives of survivors away, one by one.

Diaspora overloads the satellites. Calling families, friends of families, family friends. Did you know about George et Mireille? Have you heard about Alix, Michaelle etc, etc? But I know that my personal anguish is small compared to the overwhelming reality of what is going on down there.

When it happened I was at home in Montreal, safe and cosy, surfing the internet, half randomly, like millions of westerners. Breaking news: 7.0 earthquake hits Haiti near Port-au-Prince.

Such emotion came over me. My breath stopped. My heart sank and went straight into panic mode. I knew right away that the whole city is in no way built to resist this kind of assault and that this meant that thousands were under rubble. I saw it straight away.

I ran downstairs and turned on the television. It was true. Tears came rushing right to my eyes and I let out a cry, as if I had just heard that everybody I love had died. The reality, unfortunately, is much worse. Although everything around me is peaceful, I have been in an internal state of emergency for days. My house is quiet, but I forget to eat (food is tasteless). I forget to sleep. I’m on the phone, on email, non-stop. I’m nearly not moving, but my pulse is still fast. I forget who I talked to and who I told what. I leave the house without my bag, my keys. I cannot rest.

I grew up with parents who escaped during the brutal years of the Papa Doc regime. My grandfather was taken by the Tonton Macoutes and it was 10 years before my father finally learnt he had been killed. My mother and her sister returned home from the market to find their cousins and friends murdered. She found herself on her knees in front of the Dominican embassy begging for her life in broken Spanish. Growing up, I absorbed those stories, heard a new version every year; adults around the dinner table speaking in creole about poor Haiti.

When I was growing up, we never had the money to return. Even if we had, my mother never could go back. Until she died, she would have nightmares about people coming to “take her away”. My mum passed away before she could meet my future husband, or see our band perform and start to have success, and though I have dreamed of her dancing to my music, I know she would have been very worried to hear that I was travelling to Haiti for the first time last year.

It is strange that I was introduced to my country by a white doctor from Florida called Paul Farmer who speaks perfect Creole and knows how to pronounce my name right. He is the co-founder of an organisation titled Partners in Health (Zanmi Lasante in Creole). There are several charity organisations that are doing good work in Haiti – Fonkoze is a great micro-lending organisation – but in terms of thorough medical care, follow-up and combining of parallel necessary services (education, sanitation, training, water, agriculture), there is none that I could ­recommend more than Partners in Health. It takes its work for the Haitian people very seriously and, indeed, most of the staff on the ground are Haitian. Régine Chassagne  The Observer, Sunday 17 January 2010
Please continue Ms Regine Chassagne’s words at http://su.pr/8WGwyL.  Regine Chassagne is a member of the rock band Arcade Fire.

Frustration Mounts Over Haiti Aid

Haiti Earthquake

Bulk of victims still without supplies six nights after devastating earthquake.

18 January 2010

Tensions are rising on the streets of Haiti as the bulk of earthquake survivors continue to go without food, medicine or proper shelter.

Aid organisations continued to struggle to reach them with supplies on Sunday, six nights after the devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

A bottleneck at the capital’s small airport – the main entry point for the massive assistance pledged by world leaders following the disaster – means little help has reached the many people waiting for help in makeshift camps on streets strewn with debris and decomposing bodies.

Airport bottleneck

Some aid agencies have complained about a lack of co-ordination at the Port-au-Prince airport, where the US military has taken over operations.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, (MSF) said an aircraft carrying a mobile hospital was denied permission to land at the airport on Saturday and diverted to neighbouring Dominican Republic, where it would take a further 24 hours to deliver supplies by road.

“Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying lifesaving equipment and medical personnel,” MSF said in a statement.

Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo, reporting from Port-au-Prince, said quake survivors in the capital were growing increasingly frustrated over what appeared to be the mismanagement or miscommunication that was holding up the aid.

In the absence of large scale foreign help, Haitians were trying to help each other, our correspondent said, with some turning homes into hospitals to treat the wounded and others giving away food, but food supplies and other resources were running out.

People could see helicopters flying overhead, US military vehicles in the city and aeroplanes arriving at the airport with supplies, so it was difficult to understand why little aid appeared to be reaching the people, she said.

US defends position

The US military said on Sunday that it was doing its best to get as many aircraft as possible into Port-au-Prince.

The airport’s control tower was knocked out by the quake and US military air controllers were operating from a radio post on the airfield grass, he said.

“What we set up here would be similar to running a major airport … without any communications, electricity or computers,” Colonel Buck Elton, the US commander at the airport, told reporters by telephone.

He said there had been 600 take-offs and landings since his crew took over operations at the one-runway airport’s traffic on Wednesday, and 50 flights had been diverted.

But the flow of air traffic was improving, he said, with only three of 67 incoming flights being rerouted on Saturday, and only two flights diverted on Sunday.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, PJ Crowley, a spokesman for the US state department, defended the US handling of Haiti’s airport and international aid.

He said changes in airport procedures “to increase efficiency and effectiveness”, as well as “a technical reason”, were possible reasons why some aeroplanes were not allowed to land.

Pointing out that the US military had, by adding to the infrastructure of the airport, increased flights from 20 a day to 60 a day, he said whatever limited infrastructure Haiti had before the quake was devastated by the quake and it had taken time to “maximise the flow of everything that Haiti needs”.

On claims that military aeroplanes with troops were being allowed to land while those carrying aid supplies were not, he said that was “absolutely not true”.

“They are bringing in aid, communications gear for the Haitian government so they can begin to operate and function once again,” he said.

Not only food, water, healthcare, he said, but also “the kinds of gear that allows us to save lives, to bring in capacity so that they can establish an effective network to distribute food among the three million people in the city”.

Signs of progress

There were some signs of progress on Sunday as international medical teams took over damaged hospitals and clinics where injured and sick people had lain untreated for days.


UNICEF steps up efforts to protect child health and safety in Haiti quake zone

UNICEF Image
© UN Photo/Abass
Earthquake victims rest in a makeshift shelter set up in the parking lot of the general hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

By Tim Ledwith

NEW YORK, USA, 17 January 2010 – Thousands have died, an unknown number are injured and an estimated 300,000 are homeless following the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince and other densely populated areas of Haiti on 12 January, affecting a total of more than 3 million people.

Five days on, UNICEF and its partners are intensifying emergency operations to protect the health and safety of children at risk. One critical concern involves children who have become separated from their families and may find themselves without shelter, food, water or other basic necessities.

VIDEO: Watch now

To help meet the needs of these and other children in Haiti – where almost half the population is under 18 years of age – UNICEF is sending supplies to the quake zone as quickly as possible. Besides supplies that were already in the country, aid is coming from UNICEF’s pre-positioned regional stocks in Panama. Additional shipments are being dispatched from the agency’s central warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Focus on water and sanitation

Because children are particularly susceptible to diarrhoeal diseases, they urgently need access to safe water and proper sanitation in the immediate aftermath of disasters such as the Haiti earthquake.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-0009/Amézquita
Workers load UNICEF relief supplies for earthquake survivors onto a cargo plane at Tocumen Airport in Panama City, Panama, bound for Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

“Our major focus, in terms of supply, is water and sanitation,” said UNICEF Senior Emergency Health Advisor Dr. Robin Nandy.

Due to the lack of sanitation in quake-stricken communities, added Dr. Nandy, “there’s a huge risk of communicable diseases such as diarrhoea and measles. And this could cause a large amount of illness, as well as deaths, among women and children in particular.”

Supplies and experts arrive

As part of the effort to help avert a second wave of deaths across Haiti, a DHL cargo plane carrying UNICEF water-and-sanitation supplies landed early Saturday morning in the capital, Port-au-Prince. It was the second such shipment to arrive there in 24 hours.

Water tanks and water-purification tablets were offloaded from the plane for distribution in concert with UNICEF’s partners on the ground. The air shipment also contained oral rehydration salts, which can save children’s lives by combating the effects of diarrhoeal dehydration. Two water-and-sanitation experts were on the flight as well.

Meanwhile, 5,000 litres of drinking water have reached residents of the coastal city of Jacmel, along with 2,500 kitchen kits for displaced families. The supplies were dispensed in coordination with the World Food Programme.

And beginning today, UNICEF and its partners will distribute 26 water bladders in badly affected areas. Haiti’s main water companies are providing tanker trucks to fill the bladders, which can hold between 5,000 and 10,000 litres each.

More aid en route

Two more planes loaded with UNICEF aid for Haiti were scheduled to land this weekend in Santo Domingo, the capital of the neighbouring Dominican Republic. The planes are carrying essential medicines and shelter materials, among other needed items.

UNICEF Image
© UN Photo/Dormino
A displaced family washes in a public fountain near the Haitian National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where water supplies are severely limited.

Warehouse Supervisor Christian Dehoux was deployed on one of those flights, a British Airways plane bringing 40 metric tonnes of emergency relief from UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen.

“We’ll have some emergency kits, first-aid kits, a lot of tarpaulins for building shelters,” he said as cargo was assembled for the flight late last week.

A history of hardship

Despite all of this accelerating activity, relief operations have only just begun in Haiti. That much, at least, is clear amidst the unimaginable death, injuries and damage to infrastructure in the Caribbean nation – which already faced extreme poverty and a serious humanitarian crisis before the earthquake hit.

To overcome the massive challenges ahead, UNICEF has appealled for $120 million to fund its Haiti crisis response over the next six months. The request to international donors was part of a wider UN appeal for $562 million.

Life-saving supplies and equipment are arriving to help ease the suffering of a people whose history is already too full of hardship. Getting those supplies to the children and families who desperately need them is UNICEF’s highest priority.

Earthquake in Haiti Hope for the SurvivorsHaiti: Surgical Teams Work Round the Clock; Assessments of Other Affected Areas Planned

January 17, 2010   On the fifth day of their response to the disaster in Haiti, the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams on the ground remain focused on trying to cope with the huge demand for lifesaving surgery. Teams are stretching their existing operating theatres to the limit by working around the clock. At the same time staff are trying to create more capacity by finding new functional facilities bringing in an inflatable hospital.

In its newly established hospital in the Carrefour district, an MSF surgical team has carried out 90 operations since beginning work there. Another team carried out 20 surgeries in a converted shipping container. More capacity is on its way, but the arrival of the inflatable hospital with its two operating theatres has been delayed because one of the planes carrying its components did not get permission to land at Port-au-Prince airport on January 16. The plane, which was re-routed to the Dominican Republic, was unloaded earlier today and its cargo is being trucked into Haiti. The plane carrying the other half of the hospital did land today in Port-au-Prince, but MSF is still concerned that the delivery of vital supplies are still being delayed.

The conditions in towns outside of the capital, some of which were even closer to the epicenter of the earthquake, are becoming clearer. An MSF team was to go today by helicopter to the town of Jacmel, on the southern coast of the island. Other staff have been to assess the needs in Léogâne, about an hour outside of Port-au-Prince. Thousands of people from the capital have fled to Saint ­Marc, an area less damaged by the quake; hundreds of injured people are in the hospital there.

Despite the transport problems, MSF has managed to get in more than 100 international staff into Port-au-Prnce to help the teams who were working there before the earthquake. The newly arrived staff include surgeons, anesthetists, nephrologists, and psychologists. Some had to come by road from the Dominican Republic, but MSF has managed to get four cargo planes carrying staff and supplies into Port-au-Prince since January 13.

The teams on the ground say that conditions are not improving yet and that the streets are full of desperate people. The lack of food and clean water is causing further stress.

MSF is still trying to get a full account of the whereabouts of its Haitian staff. We know that some have not survived the quake but communications remain difficult and we have not yet been able to trace all our colleagues.   Please visit the website of Doctors Without Borders for more informaton. http://su.pr/2ed4xE

ICRC-  Situation In Haiti Breaks Down

General situation

Tens of thousands of people affected by Tuesday’s tremor are now living on the streets and in makeshift camps, which cover nearly every inch of open public space in Port-au-Prince, according to ICRC spokesman, Simon Schorno. He was able to visit many areas of the city on Friday, including Christ-Roi, Nazon, Centre-Ville, Delmas and Canape-Vert.

“It’s utter chaos,” he said. “There is destruction in every neighbourhood. People are walking around, looking for food, for help. Many are wearing facemasks to protect themselves from the smell of decaying bodies. There are no tents, no plastic sheeting, no place to cook and no toilets.” He also described scenes of tremendous solidarity between neighbours and strangers alike, who were sharing what little they had with each other and organizing themselves as best they could.

Meanwhile, medical facilities in Port-au-Prince lack staff and medicine. They are overwhelmed and unable to cope with the high number of patients.

The ICRC continues to work closely with its Red Cross partners on the ground to assess humanitarian needs and deliver relief assistance. A shipment of 40 tonnes of ICRC medical supplies is expected to arrive in Haiti on Sunday.

On Friday, ICRC specialists assessed the capacity of the city’s main medical facilities, the water and sanitation infrastructure of Port-au-Prince’s Cité Soleil neighbourhood, and the assistance needs of those living in makeshift camps. ICRC teams also provided more non-food assistance to several local hospitals and places of detention.

Makeshift camps

Around 50,000 people are estimated to be staying in the city’s famed Place du Champ de Mars. In total, there are around 40 gathering points throughout the city, where frightened residents are camping out. Meanwhile, buses are leaving the city packed with families trying to reach relatives in the countryside.

Near the St. Louis de Gonzague high school, about 5,000 people are now living and sleeping in the open. One man there could be seen breaking and burning a bed for firewood, while Sandra, a mother from the Delmans neighbourhood, said she moved to the schoolyard late on Tuesday, hours after the quake struck. She’s looking after a total of 18 people, including six children. “I’m scared that they are getting sick,” she says. “They have not eaten today.”

Like countless others, Sandra wants to go back to her neighbourhood to search for bodies. “Everyone is fending for themselves,” says Primrose, whose family is sitting nearby. “We are afraid of epidemics.”

The ICRC has published a set of questions and answers about the risks associated with dead bodies and the spread of disease. Contrary to popular belief, experts say the bodies of people who have died in disasters, like an earthquake, do not spread disease.

Clinics and hospitals

Most public and private hospitals left standing continue to be stretched to the limit, with not enough doctors or nurses to handle the hundreds of wounded waiting at their gates.

At one clinic visited by the ICRC in Cité Militaire, the situation is critical. Melissa, a 51-year-old nurse, is the single medical staff there. The building is empty, while patients are in the courtyard, with their relatives. There are no doctors. Melissa told the ICRC that they never came back after the earthquake and are most likely tending to their own families – and there is no medicine. The same is true at other medical facilities in the city.

An eight-year-old girl with a broken leg and foam in her mouth has been suffering in pain and waiting for help since Tuesday. Melissa says she needs antibiotics, gauze and first aid kits. “I have nothing and my patients need to be operated on. They need orthopaedic care,” she says. There are two dead bodies in the courtyard and lots of flies over their covered heads. An old woman whose arm had to be amputated is waiting, too, with a hole in the top of her head. “She has had no pain killers and is delirious. Her wounds smell, her relatives look stunned,” said Mr. Schorno.

Hospitals have also been badly affected by water shortages. Local authorities say many pumping stations are not working and water pipes are likely to have been damaged.

Cité Soleil

Unlike the collapsed concrete structures in other parts of the city, the tin-roofed buildings and shacks in Cité Soleil, one of the area’s poorest neighbourhoods, are still standing, although schools, dispensaries and larger stores are destroyed.

Magali, who runs a small restaurant in the shantytown, says she has food to cook but there are few customers and she’s had to hike prices since the disaster. “I cook vegetable stew and rice for customers who do not show up. I am here since this morning and I haven’t sold anything,” she says. “People want credit and I give it to them.” Last week, Magali sold a plate of her stew for 35 gourdes or one US dollar. Today, it costs 75.

ICRC activities

The international relief activities of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, including those of the ICRC, are being coordinated by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The ICRC, which was already present and active in Haiti before Tuesday’s earthquake, is strengthening its response to the crisis. It continues to support the wider Red Cross and Red Crescent response and the work of the Haitian Red Cross, in particular.

A team of 11 ICRC emergency experts sent from Geneva to Port-au-Prince is now on the ground and working to assess the full extent of the humanitarian needs. Another team of ICRC specialists is expected to fly out on Sunday. There are currently around 70 ICRC staff working in Haiti, including 20 expatriates.

An ICRC cargo plane carrying 40 tonnes of medical supplies was diverted to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic on Friday evening. The seven truckloads of materials will travel overland and are expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince by Sunday. This assistance will enable the organization to adapt its response to the growing humanitarian needs in Port-au-Prince.

Meanwhile, Emergency Response Units (ERUs) from Red Cross Societies around the world are also on their way to the Haitian capital to support efforts to provide medical care, water and sanitation services to people in need. In the coming days, at least 14 ERUs are expected to be on the ground and operational. These will include two full-service “base camps,” designed to provide all necessary logistical and technical support for the initial relief operation.

Family links

Over the weekend, the ICRC hopes to step up its tracing efforts to help restore links between separated families.

As of 16 January, more than 19,300 people had registered with the ICRC’s special website,Family Links, which was activated on Thursday to help people searching for their loved ones.

Almost all of the registrations were from people searching for news about their relatives, although around 1,400 people have so far used the site to say they are safe and well.

ICRC specialists in restoring family links plan to start informing people in the makeshift camps about the service and collecting information from survivors in the coming days.

Please visit the website for much more information. http://www.icrc.org/web/eng

Simon Schorno, ICRC Port-au-Prince, tel: +41 79 251 9302
Anna Nelson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 217 3264
ICRC out-of-hours duty phone, tel: +41 22 730 3443

CNN SPECIAL REPORT: Helping Haiti’s Child Slaves by Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Monday, March 15, 2010   Dr. Sanjay Gupta did this special CNN report in December 2009. It sheds light on the problems of child domestic slavery in Haiti.

Message from Haiti Rewired via Le Projet Nouvelle Haiti

Word from the ground in Haiti is that reliable Internet is nearly non-existent for average people. This is making it difficult for our bloggers on the ground.
As a result I’m forming a new group called Port-au-Prince Hot Spot dedicated to setting up a secure location in P-a-P with reliable Internet, power and computers for our bloggers to publish posts and upload multimedia.
I have been working on this in the background for about a week with some
of our community members.
To date, we have secured:
*A commitment from Conde Nast to provide several laptops, an old G4 server
and a RAID.
* A commitment from Richard Morse to provide us space at the Hotel Oloffson.
What we need:
1) Information
— If you have experience with Haitian ISPs and cybercafe entrepreneurs
please let us know. Alain Armand is in P-a-P investigating potential
partners.
2) Expertise
— We need to spec the network architecture and equipment needed to set up a high reliability access
point capable of serving a half dozen simultaneous connections robust
enough to handle decent Web surfing, blogging and multimedia uploads.
— We need advice on the best gear — PCs or Macs — given local training
and expertise, and availability of parts for servicing etc.
3) Trainers
— We need people in P-a-P to teach people how to use the equipment and software we are providing.
4) Transport
— We need people traveling to Haiti to carry down some of the gear and
deliver it to the Hotel Olofsson.

“Please join this group if you can provide practical assistance with this project. Thanks!”

Visit Haiti Rewired at: http://haitirewired.wired.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

and TNHP at http://thenewhaitiproject.com

BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT,

AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)

OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)

Haiti – Earthquake
Fact Sheet #48, Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 April 2, 2010
Note: The last fact sheet was dated March 26, 2010.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS
As of April 1, the U.)N. World Food Program (WFP)
and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners had reached more than 1.9 million people—approximately 94 percent of the targeted caseload—with food assistance since phase two distributions began on March 6.

On March 30, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) noted that sectoral clusters are transitioning from a policy of providing assistance by settlement to providing assistance by neighborhood to reduce service incentives to remain in settlements rather than choosing other shelter options.

In collaboration with the Government of Haiti (GoH), U.N. agencies and international partners have developed a five-option framework to allow displaced persons residing in flood-prone areas to choose alternate settlements, including returning to habitable houses, returning to plots near former houses, residing with host families, remaining in spontaneous settlements with engineering improvements, or moving to GoH-planned resettlement sites.
 On March 25, the GoH declared eminent domain over a 7,450 hectare plot of land north of Port-au-Prince for
resettlement. The U.N. has assessed a 450 hectare section of land, known as the Corail Cesselesse site, determining
the site suitable for emergency resettlement of up to 20,000 people, according to IOM staff.
NUMBERS AT A GLANCE SOURCE
Estimated Deaths 230,0001 GoH – February 15
People Displaced in Port-au-Prince Metropolitan Area 700,000 GoH – January 31
Estimated People Departing Port-au-Prince 597,801 GoH – February 22
Estimated Affected Population 3 million U.N. – January 15

Budget breakdown of Humanitarian Funding to

Haiti for the Earthquake:

FY 2010 HUMANITARIAN FUNDING PROVIDED TO DATE
FY 2010 USAID/OFDA Assistance……………………….$359,025,611
FY 2010 USAID/FFP2 Assistance…………………………$97,966,300
FY 2010 USAID/OTI3 Assistance…………………………$35,000,000
FY 2010 USAID/Haiti Assistance ………………………….$53,391,212
FY 2010 USAID/DR4 Assistance……………………………$3,000,000
FY 2010 DoD5 Assistance………………………………….$455,000,000
FY 2010 USAID & DoD Humanitarian Assistance. $1,003,383,123

1 Death estimates vary.
2 USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP)
3 USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI)
4 USAID/Dominican Republic (USAID/DR)
5 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
CURRENT SITUATION
Several sectoral clusters, including food distribution, health, logistics, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) partners are currently preparing contingency plans for the rainy and hurricane seasons, beginning in May and June, respectively. Additional information regarding sector contingency planning follows below.

· On March 31, WASH Cluster members noted that settlement residents continue to move, causing the settlement
landscape to change at a rapid pace, particularly as smaller sites close to consolidate into larger ones.

Emergency Food Assistance

On April 1, WFP noted plans to implement food-for-work and cash-for-work programs benefitting approximately 70,000 people as part of the post-phase two food assistance plan. WFP plans to employ 5,000 people from each of

10 Haitian departments, as well as 20,000 individuals from Port-au-Prince.

On March 29, WFP reported plans to assess food needs of people relocating to GoH-identified sites from crowded or flood-prone spontaneous settlements. WFP staff noted that assistance to relocating populations could include limited general food distributions in addition to targeted food assistance programs currently scheduled to begin in April. As some relocation sites are located far from city services and livelihoods opportunities on previously undeveloped land, WFP anticipates that displaced persons may require up to three months of emergency food assistance.
· WFP has indicated plans to establish a network of five sub-offices and 13 field offices throughout Haiti to serve as operational bases to respond to localized emergencies nationwide.
· USAID is contributing to contingency planning processes by consolidating partner information on warehousing locations and capacities, pre-positioned food stocks, and transport capacity, according to the USAID/FFP field officer.
· On March 27, the GoH approved an extension of phase two food distributions by several days beyond the original March 31 deadline to allow food distribution partners that started phase two distributions late or encounteredobstacles to complete distributions planned for March.

Shelter and Settlements
· On March 30, the U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS) reported that UNOPS-trained GoH Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) engineers had assessed nearly 15,000 buildings in Port-au-Prince, finding that approximately 54 percent of assessed buildings were safe for habitation, 30 percent could be rendered safe with repairs, and 16 percent were unsafe and require demolition. UNOPS staff note that engineers have focused on buildings with little visible damage to quickly identify habitable houses; therefore the overall findings do not represent general building habitability in Port-au-Prince.
· On March 26, representatives from the Project Management Coordination Cell (PMCC)—which manages certain debris and resettlement issues—reported establishing a communications plan to encourage displaced persons in spontaneous settlements in Turgeau, metropolitan Port-au-Prince, to return to houses assessed as safe. PMCC members also noted plans to develop a similar communications strategy for the Champs de Mars site.
· MoPW engineers have prioritized assessment of buildings in vulnerable or crowded settlement residents’ areas of origin, according to UNOPS staff.
· The MoPW has employed social workers to educate spontaneous settlement residents on the habitability assessment process, inform residents when return to safe houses becomes possible, and collect information on individuals’ reasons not to return to areas of origin to design return incentives. The MoPW is currently designing a national public information campaign to raise awareness regarding habitability assessments, according to UNOPS staff.
WASH
· On March 31, the Hygiene Promotion Working Group reported developing rainy season contingency plan focusing on preventing outbreaks of water-borne diseases. The USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) WASH advisor notes that the working group is also currently developing an outbreak response plan.
· On March 25, the WASH Cluster reported commencing rainy season preparations by pre-positioning WASHrelated emergency relief supplies in Haiti. The WASH Cluster reported a pipeline of 90,000 hygiene kits and 500,000 bars of soap to meet the affected population needs for three months. WASH partners also plan to increase hygiene promotion activities at 50 priority sites, and design experts are developing improved latrine designs to keep rainwater runoff out of latrines and increase weather resistance, privacy, safety, and cleanliness in advance of the rainy season.
· The GoH National Direction for Potable Water and Sanitation (DINEPA) has recommended repairing the piped water network and developing new water sources, such as springs and wells, to improve water availability in Tabarre, Croix des Bouquets, and Cité Soleil areas of metropolitan Port-au-Prince. WASH agencies noted the need for water quality testing for any new or rehabilitated source to ensure consumption suitability.
· On March 31, U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) staff indicated that work with DINEPA and the WASH Cluster remains ongoing to develop a water quality monitoring plan to track water quality at distribution points and points of use.

Health
· The Pan American Health Organization, International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Management Sciences for Health have reported commencing a survey of 200 spontaneous settlements to identify and address gaps in primary health care coverage.
· As of March 25, disease surveillance teams in 52 sentinel sites were reporting surveillance data to the GoH Ministry of Health Epidemiology Unit, according to the Health Cluster. The sites represent a sample ofspontaneous settlements throughout affected areas, and reporting data continues to indicate that no diseases have reached epidemic levels to date.

Nutrition
· On March 29, WFP reported that phase two nutrition activities remain ongoing. Current nutrition programs target children between six and 59 months of age and pregnant and lactating women in Port-au-Prince and other affected areas with corn-soy blend, oil, and sugar.
· The GoH has asked WFP to provide school feeding for all schools in West Department to reach an estimated 500,000 children, according to WFP. The USAID/FFP field officer notes that WFP also plans to reach up to 500,000 school children in other departments, for a total of up to one million children.

Logistics and Relief Commodities
· According to the USAID/FFP field officer, the earthquake destroyed approximately 40 percent of warehouses in Port-au-Prince and Haiti possesses little warehousing capacity outside of port cities. WFP reported exploring ways to increase warehousing capacity, considering both public and private options.
· WFP is developing a logistics contingency plan for humanitarian cargo ahead of the upcoming rainy and hurricane seasons, according to the USAID/FFP field officer.

U.S. GOVERNMENT (USG) HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
· On January 13, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth H. Merten declared a disaster due to the effects of the earthquake. To date, USAID has contributed more than $548 million in earthquake response funding, including more than $359 million from USAID/OFDA, $68 million from USAID/FFP, $35 million from USAID/OTI, more than $53 million from USAID/Haiti, and $3 million from USAID/DR. In total, the USG has contributed more than $1 billion in earthquake response funding for Haiti to date.
· On January 12, USAID/OFDA activated a Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Team (RMT) to support the USAID/DART that deployed to Haiti early on January 13 to assess humanitarian conditions and coordinate activities with the humanitarian community. While the RMT demobilized on February 28, the
USAID/DART continues to assess and identify humanitarian needs and coordinate delivery of emergency reliefsupplies to Port-au-Prince and other earthquake-affected areas.
· As of April 2, DoD’s estimated cost for the Haiti earthquake relief effort was $455 million. DoD has been supporting humanitarian efforts through transportation of USG  personnel and relief commodities into Haiti, as well as the provision of health and medical services.

http://www.usaid.gov/helphaiti/documents/04.02.10-USAID-DCHAHaitiEarthquakeFactSheet48.pdf

Three Things You Should Know About

the U.S. Government’s Work in Haiti

March 30, 2010 TRANSPORTING & PROVIDING CLEAN WATER: To date, USAID has contributed 116,000 water containers to benefit approximately 291,500 earthquake-affected individuals. Daily water distributions from USAID and other partners reach 1.2 million people.


EVALUATING SAFETY, RETURNING HOME: The U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the Government of Haiti Ministry of Public Works has assessed 12,000 houses in Port-au-Prince, identifying approximately 40 percent of assessed houses as suitable for habitation. The Government of Haiti and UNOPS, with the support of USAID are also training approximately 200 engineers to assess houses.


DISTRIBUTING SHELTER FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE: Relief agencies distributed shelter materials more rapidly following the Haiti earthquake than after other recent disasters, including the 2006 and 2009 Indonesia earthquakes and the 2008 Burma cyclone. The rate of shelter material distribution following the initial phase reached between 22 and 62 percent more people per week than distributions in the previous emergencies.

For more information, email: usaidpressofficers@usaid.gov.

USAID Responds to Haiti Earthquake

10 Ways That WINNER Is Changing Haiti

Why The Watershed Initiative For National Natural Environment

Natural Resources Reflects America’s Best Development

Practices and a Path Forward For Haiti (March 26, 2010)

WINNER IS:

  • A FIVE-YEAR MULTI-FACETED PROGRAM begun last May and designed to comprehensively build Haiti’s agricultural infrastructure, capacity, and productivity by providing concentrated and transformative support to Haitians in a large area north of Port-au-Prince. It is focused on building and strengthening Haiti’s agricultural foundation, particularly in the areas of Cul-de-Sac, Cabaret, Mirbalais, Archaie and Gonaives and is backed by $126 million in funding from the U.S. Government over the next five years.
  • MANAGED BY A MOSTLY HAITIAN STAFF that works with other Haitians to develop watershed management plans, strengthen farmer associations, provide access to expertise and vital supplies (seeds, fertilizers, credit, tools), and restore protective tree cover.
  • DEDICATED TO CREATING AGRICULTURAL GROWTH that can be independently sustained and flourish, while contributing to the growth of secondary poles of development. WINNER is focused as much on providing materials and expert guidance as on developing civic institutions and networks.
  • BUILT ON A NETWORK OF OVER 200 FARMERS ASSOCIATIONS which work in conjunction with local government officials, NGOs and other entities to form public-private partnerships and prepare the maximum amount of land possible for the planting/harvesting season which runs from March through October.
  • A CRITICAL WAY TO REDUCE RISK TO VULNERABLE POPULATIONS through innovative flood control work in Riviere Grise and La Quinte which will be implemented through labor-intensive projects.
  • PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES, such as watersheds and tree cover, which must be restored in order to ensure that meaningful agricultural development can take place. WINNER provides the funding and education Haitians need to sustain and grow their environment.
  • WIDESPREAD AND EFFECTIVE enough to deliver an efficient response to the country’s food security emergency and meet the needs of the dispersed population in the wake of Haiti’s earthquake.
  • THE CULMINATION of best practices derived from project experience from USAID and other donors over the last 30 years and is now the model for watershed methodology being used in Haiti and around the world by Canada, Spain, France, Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program.
  • A MAJOR SOURCE OF PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT for Haitians displaced by the earthquake. It will help to integrate 15,000 people into specified areas and provide jobs, shelter and services in collaboration with local authorities.
  • A PARTNERSHIP between the U.S. Government, Government of Haiti, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • http://www.usaid.gov/helphaiti/

The Smart Branding Story Behind Haiti’s Brightly-Painted Buses

BY Alissa Walker March 30, 2010

haiti bus

One service to resume quickly after Haiti’s earthquake were its privately-owned buses, which are cheap, reliable and, amazingly, painted with intricate murals featuring everyone from the Virgin Mary to Kobe Bryant. Adam Davidson reported on the curious economics of Haiti’s wildly-painted buses, called tap-taps, for the PBS show Frontline, which aired a special about the earthquake last night.

haiti bus

The story is an incredible tale of branding, entrepreneurship and, yes, simple economics. Keeping the buses outwardly maintained is a vital signal to riders, who, without any kind of government oversight, use the visual cues to tell if the bus is safe and reliable inside, too. “If it doesn’t look nice, people won’t ride it,” a bus owner tells Davidson, who watches as, sure enough, several unpainted buses pull up at a stop and leave, sans passengers. The hustle of getting customers onto the buses goes beyond slapping a coat onto the bus’s exterior: Some owners spend up to $1,200 a year so artists and carpenters (many trained in schools) can devote serious talent to their buses, repainting them several times a year to keep the murals bright.

http://www.fastcompany.com/1602285/the-smart-branding-story-behind-haitis-brightly-painted-buses

The New Haiti Project (TNHP) aims to reconstruct the affected regions in Haiti post the earthquake of January 12, 2010 through construction, educational tours and support services by linking together skilled international volunteers with those on-site in Haiti.  TNHPs mission is to re-build Haiti’s educational and cultural buildings, through networking and volunteer work, diminish future casualties through education and serve as a resource to those touched by the earthquake. (Main page of THNP at Crisis Commons on Wiki)

The New Haiti Project Soup Distribution

The New Haiti Project Soup Distribution Photo from Twitter @Internet Haiti RT @carelpedre: TNHP distribution Sunday started today! Soup to 200 kids at Cité Soleil http://yfrog.com/4jnsrgj

TNHP is ready to expand it horizons and do a blog talk radio show. It is the hope that this could turn into a weekly event. If you would like to be on the show or have any recommendations please let us know. All ideas are welcome.

April:
On the 10th – Meet some of the creators of the New Haiti Project.

On the 17th – Systems thinking in the classroom and in Haiti

On the 24th – The Grand Chemin Community Project with Albert Semerville

http://newhaitiproject.ning.com/group/tnhpblogtalkradio

ACTION PLAN FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION

AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF HAITI

This is the foreword of the English translation offered as a summary of the Government of Haiti’s Action Plan. The entire translation can be found at http://haitivoxpdna.blogspot.com/2010/03/action-plan-for-reconstruction-and.html The blog of Anne-christine d’Adesky.

FOREWORD
The post-earthquake Action Plan that we are presenting to our partners in the international community in this draft version is the expression of the needs that must be met, so that the earthquake that has so cruelly struck our country may becomes a window of opportunity for, in the words of the Head of State, the “re-foundation” of Haiti. It is a rendez-vous with History that our country cannot miss. We are obliged to yield results; we owe it to our children and our children’s children.

The solidarity expressed spontaneously in the hours following the disaster by Haitian men and women at home and abroad, as well as by the international community, towards our people gives us the confidence needed in this historic duty.

The plan that we propose to you is based on a collective effort of reflection and consultation. At the diplomatic level, formal and constructive talks have made us aware of the expectations of our international partners and allowed us to explain to them our choices for the future. On the technical front, officials at the national level supported by international experts conducted an evaluation of losses and damages known by its acronym PDNA (Post Disaster Needs Assessment), which is one of the pillars of this plan.

This proposal is Haitian, as despite the very tight schedule, key sectors of Haitian society were consulted. This is also the case for all Haitians living abroad who have mobilized themselves and have shown that their commitment to the future of the country remains a strong binding factor of this active solidarity. These efforts, these consultations are ongoing and will continue in the weeks and months to come.
We must learn from this national tragedy, which is why the proposal made encompasses not only the devastated areas but also calls for structural changes affecting the entire national territory.

We must reverse the spiral of vulnerability by protecting our people from natural disasters, by managing our watersheds to make them secure and productive in a sustainable way, by stimulating the development of regional poles that can provide quality of life and future prospects for a growing population.

In view of this, we must strengthen the links between all the regions across the country, encourage the strengthening of the regional partnerships that will bring the opportunity for change throughout the country, the Caribbean and beyond.
We need to connect these regions through a network of roads complemented by adequate port and airport facilities and a range of public services appropriate to the imperatives of economic and social development, particularly as regards education and access to quality health services.

We must act now, but with a vision for the future. We need to agree on a short-term program, while creating mechanisms that make possible the preparation and implementation of detailed programs and projects that will bring about firm actions within a ten-year timeframe.

The challenge ahead is huge. This is why, as the Secretary-General of the OECD and the Chairman of the Development Assistance Committee has pointed out, we must find new ways to cooperate, based on the principles of the Paris Declaration and the principles pertaining to operations in Fragile States, notably that of making the strengthening of the state central to interventions.

We understand the importance of reviewing our political, economic and social governance. We pledge to act in this regard.

Below is the web link for the pdf form of the action plan in English.

Government of the Republic of Haiti

Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti

Immediate key initiatives for the future    (March 2010)

http://haiticonference.org/Haiti_Action_Plan_ENG.pdf

What the Haiti Quake Means for the Climate Movement

Published by Josh Lynch January 14, 2010 blogging at

It’s Getting Hot in Here – Dispatches from the Youth Climate Movement

“In this time of distress, climate change is probably the last thing on many peoples’ minds. However, as someone whose life is centered on the issue, every time a natural disaster hits, I think about fossil fuels. Most people associate climate change with sea level rise, droughts, floods, and storms. In recent years researchers have discovered that as sea levels rise and water or ice is displaced, pressure on the underlying rock can trigger seismic or volcanic activity.
We don’t know whether or not there is a link between climate change and Tuesday’s earthquake. As a global phenomenon, it is inherently difficult to map changes in the Earth’s climate to any specific event. What we know is that burning fossil fuels is altering the climate, increasing the likelihood that disasters like this one will occur.
Our actions matter. As people concerned about climate change, it is on us to demonstrate what accountability for burning fossil fuels looks like. We should stand with people impacted by disasters because we know that tomorrow, next year, or in ten years, it could be our family trapped underneath the building, driving away from a wildfire, or looking for dry land in a flood.
We’ve created an unstable climate by burning fossil fuels without accounting for the impact. If I spend time and money supporting the people of Haiti, that is a choice to invest in the health and security of others. In a warming world, strong policy and better technology are urgently needed. However, what is needed the most is for humanity to get connected to the impact of our actions before and after we take them.
There are three basic ways we can account for the impact of burning fossil fuels:
1. Mitigation – Stop burning fossil fuels.
2. Adaptation – Help communities to build levees and other infrastructure to brace for inevitable disasters.
3. Compassion – Be there with volunteers, water, medical supplies, and relief whenever a catastrophic event occurs.
Climate change has taught us that we are all connected on this planet. The fate of a banker in Taipei, a plumber in Mexico City, and a climate activist in Boston, is bound to the fate of the doctor in Port-au-Prince who is searching for medical supplies and a generator after her hospital has collapsed.

Our actions matter. As people concerned about climate change, it is on us to demonstrate what accountability for burning fossil fuels looks like. We can stand with those impacted by disasters because we know that tomorrow, next year, or in ten years, it could be our family trapped underneath the building, driving away from a wildfire, or looking for dry land in a flood.”  For the whole blog please go to the following link.

http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2010/01/14/what-the-haiti-quake-means-for-the-climate-movement/Our actions matter. As people concerned about climate change, it is on us to demonstrate what accountability for burning fossil fuels looks like. We should stand with people impacted by disasters because we know that tomorrow, next year, or in ten years, it could be our family trapped underneath the building, driving away from a wildfire, or looking for dry land in a flood.1. Mitigation – Stop burning fossil fuels.2. Adaptation – Help communities to build levees and other infrastructure to brace for inevitable disasters.3. Compassion – Be there with volunteers, water, medical supplies, and relief whenever a catastrophic event occurs.

Haiti asks the international community for help

By Andy Salcedo

Haiti will ask the world for four billion dollars to help it rebuild and modernize in the wake of the earthquake which decimated the country.

Around 120 countries, international organizations and aid groups will meet at the UN in New York to pledge support for a Haitian government recovery plan.

“Haiti is still an independent country. We appreciate donors’ help, but its important to let us take responsibility for ourselves. Don’t help out with the aim of taking control of the country, I wouldn’t like that.” said one man.

The earthquake on the 12th of January kılled 220 thousand and left one and a half million homeless. The cost of the damage and economic loss ıs estimated at around 14 bıllıon dollars, the equivalent of almost one point two times Haiti’s GDP.

In Port au Prince, where the majority of activity is concentrated, 100 thousand houses were flattened and 200 thousand were damaged, while 1,300 schools and 50 health clinics were destroyed.

“They don’t want charity. They are not just waiting now for the New York conference to give them a lot of money. They are ready to move ahead themselves and turn this into something positive.” said Marcel Stoessel from Oxfam International.

The EU and a coalition of US-based aid groups have hinted they are likely to pledge almost three billion dollars at today’s conference.

U.S. President Barack Obama has already asked Congress for 2.8 billion dollars in recovery funds.

OperationSAFE Haiti: Preliminary Report

I have only been home for a few days and I am still finding it difficult to pull my thoughts together regarding our work training the first Operation SAFE camp for trauma children in Haiti.  In some ways every disaster is similar, after all every human being needs the same basic elements to survive.  So as we drove through Port-au-Prince into the countryside I saw the crumpled buildings, tent cities, UN trucks and myriad vehicles from one relief agency or another working their way through the crowded streets.  I held on to my seat with the luggage in the back of the Tap-Tap (I was riding there to keep the medical supplies we were bringing in from disappearing) and compared it in my mind to similar scenes in Sichuan, Kashiwazaki and Jogjakarta.  But as we climbed up the dirt road farther into the mountains, winding our way up to a village at the end of the road, I realized that this disaster was different from others.  It is a disaster upon a disaster, a tragedy added to a long line of tragedies.  In some ways their lives have not changed that much, it was always difficult to find food, the water had to be hand carried a mile from a well that was drying up, and medical care was only available when a visiting charity team had doctors.  So at first look it seemed that perhaps they were better equipped to handle hardship and loss than we would be in their place.  Words like “resilient” and “patient” came into my head as I watched them make the best of bad situations.

But as we stayed longer, living with them, working together to help the children and seeing the issues that they face more clearly, other words started to surface, words like “fragility” and “hopelessness”.  We saw children who had been abandoned by parents described as “crazy” after the earthquake.  A man beating his wife mercilessly in public for taking his cellphone, and yet little that anyone could do to stop it from happening again.  Relief agencies based in the nearest city refused to supply food because it was out of their jurisdiction, and yet bringing it from the other side of the mountains seemed even more unlikely.  A woman with a difficult delivery gives birth in the back of the van taking her down the mountain to the hospital, but without proper care the baby doesn’t survive.  Adding tragedy to poverty causes the already precarious balance of daily survival to shift with dire consequences.

And yet I am encouraged as the Haitians bring their own strengths to the program. The children retell the story in their own words and act out the adventure of “Pierre”.  They absorb it like sponges and have greater attention spans than children who have been brought up on television and video games.  They never want to stop coloring or painting and love to sing and dance and play.  Without music or any notation, they learned “Aurore’s” song, “Follow and Believe” and made it their own, and I look into the faces of these precious children and workers and am left with words like “beautiful” and “thank you”.

Each disaster is unique, and every tragedy is profoundly local in nature.  This is why it is so important for healing to be first of all human.

Jonathan Wilson, founder of OperationSafe, has spent over 20 years in humanitarian efforts.

http://helpresources.net/operationsafe/blog/2010/03/operationsafe-haiti-preliminary-report/

FROM HAITI SOLIDARITY – LINKS FOR HAITI

http://aristidefoundationfordemocracy.org

www.haitiaction.net

www.HaitiJustice.org

www.blog.ijdh.org

www.sfbayview.com

www.haitianalysis.com

http://www.epicalc.org

http://www.mitfamericas.org/index.html

www.haitilabor.org

www.canadahaitiaction.ca

www.haiti-progres.com

http://popdem.blogspot.com

www.hayti.net/tribune

www.margueritelaurent.com

http://www.transafricaforum.org

http://www.fondasyonmapou.org

http://haitisolidarity.net

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