Haiti

Written by  //  November 30, 2010  //  Americas, Government & Governance  //  2 Comments

Haiti – Six months later: Haiti on Wednesday-Night.com; CIA World Factbook: Haiti;
NYT Times Topics: Haiti; CBC: Haiti’s unhappy history; CBC: Aid reality Médecins sans frontières CA Haiti Blog
Some context:
Haiti: The Pearl of the Antilles – The continued portrayal of Haiti as the basket case of the hemisphere without accurate contextualization further wounds the Haitian people and misleads the American public. By Joslyn Barnes
The fault line in Haiti runs straight to France
(Times online) The earthquake’s destruction has been aggravated not by a pact with the Devil, but by the crippling legacy of imperialism
The Conflict Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Sir Hilary Beckles: The hate and the quake
(Nation News, Barbados) … for too long there has been a popular perception that somehow the Haitian nation-building project, launched on January 1, 1804, has failed on account of mismanagement, ineptitude, corruption.
Buried beneath the rubble of imperial propaganda, out of both Western Europe and the United States, is the evidence which shows that Haiti’s independence was defeated by an aggressive North-Atlantic alliance that could not imagine their world inhabited by a free regime of Africans as representatives of the newly emerging democracy. PLEASE READ MORE
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International observers sign off on Haiti vote
International election monitors say that voting irregularities in Haiti’s presidential election Sunday were minimal, despite allegations from a dozen candidates of mass fraud. Monitors did observe some irregularities, such as incomplete voter registration lists or poll workers providing incorrect information, but nothing sufficient enough to endorse any calls for an annulment. The New York Times (free registration) (11/29) , The Washington Post (11/30)Haiti election a ‘massive fraud’
CBC News witnesses blatant ballot-box stuffing
Haiti’s immediate future appears unclear after a dozen presidential candidates called for the annulment of Sunday’s general election, citing widespread fraud.
27 November
La finance au secours d’Haïti
(La Presse) Montréalaise d’origine haïtienne, Katleen Felix poursuivait une belle carrière à Wall Street avant de tout plaquer pour aider le pays de ses parents. À la veille des élections présidentielles haïtiennes, cette apôtre de la micro-finance sert un avertissement: «en Haïti, il n’y aura pas de démocratie politique sans démocratie financière».
26 November
Winner of Haiti poll faces daunting task
(FT) More than 1.5m Haitians remain homeless after January’s earthquake left as many as 230,000 dead. A cholera epidemic has claimed as many as 2,000 victims so far
Haiti prepares for presidential elections amid cholera outbreak
(CNN) Within a year that saw a massive earthquake, a spreading cholera epidemic and recurring signs of government instability, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is gearing up for its latest battle: presidential elections.
Haitians flee country in quake aftermath
Haitians are leaving the country in droves following the Jan. 12 earthquake in hopes of finding stability and economic prosperity in other countries. There are no firm numbers for the amount of people leaving, but those left behind worry that the country will be left without its hardest-working citizens and those most able to help rebuild Haiti. The New York Times (7/8)
22 June
Gov. Gen. Jean to be UNESCO envoy to Haiti
Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean has been appointed UNESCO’s special envoy in Haiti and will take up her new post once her term as Canada’s governor general ends in September, she confirmed Tuesday.
“It is with great passion, conviction and enthusiasm that I have agreed to take on this important mission,” Jean wrote on her blog.
Her main task will be to support efforts to rebuild Haiti’s heritage infrastructure and national education system, she wrote.
5 June
Can farming save Haiti?
The key to Haiti’s salvation, says the man who would be president of the nation that has languished in terminal poverty for generations, is a “no-brainer.”
After decades during which the country’s agricultural base was decimated by political instability and mismanagement, environmental destruction and foreign interference that preached the salvation of free-market economies, the idea of rebuilding the country from the soil up and giving Haiti the means to once again feed itself by transferring resources to farmers is gaining ground.
10 May
Protesters blast Haiti president’s quake response
(WaPost) Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Port-au-Prince to demand President Rene Preval’s resignation in the largest political protests since the Jan. 12 earthquake.
4 May
Haiti for Sale
The government of Haiti, instead of setting forth plans to give some modicum of dignity to its people now living in tent cities throughout the land, has decided to act like the restaveks (indentured servants) to Western Corporatists and Haiti’s traditional parasitic “commercial elite” by facilitating wholesale sell offs of Haitian assets and natural resources such as oil, gold, and farmland. The current Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean Max Bellerive has already admitted publicly that not only is there oil, gold, most likely iridium in Haiti, but that contracts with certain “undisclosed entities” have already been made for exploitation of such natural resources.
13 April
Haiti evacuates quake victims camp, faces critics
(AFP) – Three months to the day since Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, authorities ramped up moves to forcibly evacuate dozens of tent cities across the capital, in a chaotic effort criticized by the UN.
Building a new Haiti out of the ruins
Aid groups and foreign companies are pushing forward efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. The provision of solar-powered water pumps and the country’s first spinal rehabilitation center are among the projects already operating on the ground. BBC (4/4)
3 April
Canadian student unearths only known copy of Haitian Declaration of Independence
Canadian graduate student Julia Gaffield flipped a page earlier this year and unearthed both history and hope, discovering what is believed to be the only known printed copy of Haiti’s Declaration of Independence.
Haiti seeks rebuilding aid at UN conference
The Obama administration is taking a new tack on aid to Haiti to ensure that the $1 billion the U.S. intends to spend on rebuilding for the earthquake-devastated island is not used the same way as the $4 billion that the U.S. has given Haiti since 1990. The U.S. intends to bolster the Haitian government directly, paying to help develop bureaucracy, anti-corruption standards and building codes. Haitian President René Préval has expressed concerns about the direction of the aid, with just $23 million in hand from a promised $1.35 billion. The Washington Post (3/30) , The New York Times (free registration) (3/30)
Ban: In support of a new kind of Haiti

The challenge for Wednesday’s international donor meeting for Haiti is not to merely help the country rebuild, but to jump-start a renewal for the battered island, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon writes. “Haiti’s leaders are committing to a new social contract with their people. That means fully democratic government, grounded in sound economic and social policies that address extreme poverty and deep-rooted disparities of wealth,” Ban explains. Haiti needs more than $4 billion over the next 18 months to begin the process in earnest. The Washington Post (3/29)
Path for Haitian restoration is taking shape
A UN conference to discuss the future of aid to the Haiti — which could require as much as $11.5 billion immediately and $34.4 billion over the next 10 years — will be held Wednesday. For the project to rebuild Haiti to be successful, it will require self-sufficiency, transparency and involvement of the Haitian diaspora and Haitian government and civil society. The New York Times (3/27)
22 March
Haiti Must Destroy Before Rebuilding
As Haiti’s leaders unveiled a 14-billion-dollar reconstruction plan, international excavation, logistics, transportation and construction companies have lined up for contracts to rebuild the thousands of commercial and residential properties that were destroyed during the seismic shocks that left more than 200,000 dead and about a million people homeless. But before Haiti and international donors can rebuild this devastated city, they must first destroy it.
19 March
Quebec forestry industry to build homes in Haiti
The pre-fabricated homes would be manufactured in Quebec, but most of the assembly work would be done by Haitians in the earthquake-stricken country.
The companies involved in the project will contribute about $5 million worth of materials and labour, said officials.
Organizers are asking the federal and provincial governments to contribute $40 million to help transport the materials to Haiti.
The plan includes providing the community with water and sewage services, said Pierre Giguère, who works with the international development wing of the Desjardins Credit Union.
17 March

Rural Haiti Struggles to Absorb Displaced
January’s earthquake has prompted hundreds of thousands of Haitians to leave Port-au-Prince, reversing a decades-long migration from the countryside.
8 March

Michaëlle Jean arrive en Haïti
D’imposantes foules sont attendues lors de cette visite de deux jours. Selon le premier ministre haïtien Jean-Max Bellerive, ce voyage et ceux effectués par le premier ministre Stephen Harper et ses ministres démontrent que le Canada se soucie de Haïti, et continuera de le faire pendant les imposants travaux de reconstruction qui seront nécessaires pour relever le pays. (CBC) Haitians ‘not alone’ after quake: Jean
7 March
Can Haiti rebuild to save lives?
Better supplies, methods needed to withstand earthquakes, experts say
3 March
U.N. Is Faulted as Lacking Coordination of Aid and Security in Haiti

Humanitarian efforts by the United Nations in Haiti have lacked sufficient coordination with local organizations in delivering aid and establishing security, according to an independent assessment released on Tuesday. One consequence was a surge in the sexual abuse of women and girls living in camps for the displaced, with some young girls trading sex for shelter…
27 February
Haiti Plans to Shrink Capital, Shift Settlements
(WSJ) …  The plan, being hammered out in marathon meetings with scores of experts  is to be presented to international donors at a conference in New York on March 31. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said the plan is aimed not only at repairing the earthquake damage, but also reinventing the country …  [it]  envisions a decentralized country in which Haiti’s other cities and towns can offer jobs that in the past have been available only in Port-au-Prince

26 February
David Gutnick:Twenty-four hours in a tent village in Port-au-Prince
Tent deliveries lag as rains threaten Haiti
UN troops and relief agencies are dispersing plastic sheeting, tents and other materials in an effort to provide shelter to Haitian earthquake survivors who now must also contend with rain. Aid organizations have distributed 104,000 tarps and 19,000 tents to survivors with an additional 232,000 tarps and 22,000 tents scheduled to arrive by late March. The Miami Herald (free registration) (2/25)
19 February
Haiti PM: Gov’t to take land for temporary camps
(AP) Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says the Haitian government will appropriate land to build temporary camps for earthquake victims. The government owns some land but not enough, Bellerive said in an interview Thursday, meaning he has no choice but to take over private terrain.
16 February

PM tours Haitian town In our opinion a totally unnecessary trip. It seems that many CBC comments agree with us. (e.g. “His being there with his inevitable entourage and security takes time and resources away from desperate Haitians trying to get ready for the rainy season coming to their crisis situation.”) When will world leaders and media stars simply keep out of the way and let the on-the-ground experts do their jobs? Préval veut «remodeler» son pays
15 February
David Gutnick: The life force that is Haiti’s voodooa very different perspective on a way of life, rather than a religion – text version of broadcast of February 3 on The Current.
14 February
CBC Radio Sunday Edition Michael Enwright’s excellent interview in Hour 1 with Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, and deputy UN envoy to Haiti, who has been in the thick of treating the wounded and displaced, trying to re-build the country after the earthquake and in Hour 2 David Gutnick’s intimate and touching portrayal of  Life in a Haitian Tent City
12 February
US-HAITI: The Loan that Wasn’t – Part 1
By William Fisher
NEW YORK (IPS) – On the one-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12, Haitians continue to perish from a variety of causes, including death by red tape: they fall between the cracks of a still poorly-coordinated aid effort.
6 February
G7 nations pledge debt relief for quake-hit Haiti
(BBC) Canada’s finance minister announced at a summit in Iqaluit, northern Canada, that Group of Seven countries planned to cancel Haiti’s bilateral debts. Jim Flaherty said he would encourage international lenders to do the same.
Addicted to Haiti

… the richest country in the hemisphere and the poorest, the first republic and the second, trapped together in the New World’s most glaring modern failure, the war on drugs. It would be naïve to hope that Americans will quit their cocaine any time soon for Haiti’s sake. But it would be equally naïve not to recognize this huge obstacle standing in Haiti’s way, and the role we’ve played in creating it. Our aspirations for Haiti lead straight through our addictions.
Corruption plagues Haiti relief efforts
Efforts to streamline the distribution process for food aid and shelter in Haiti are taking a beating thanks to corruption. World Food Programme vouchers intended for women and children are being sold for profit by community leaders tasked with distributing them to the most needy. TIME (2/6)
Conrad Black: A plan for Haiti Although we disagree with much of what he says – or leaves unsaid – there are some excellent discussion points.
The continuing desperate, post-earthquake crisis in Haiti must not be allowed to recede into just another emergency relief job. Haiti is a failed state with a tortured history, and would have received a good deal more tangible attention if it were not a Christian country of good-natured people who are inhospitable to the enticements of terrorism.
5 February
What about the 33 Haitian ‘orphans’ whose rescuers are in jail?
(CSM) Often, impoverished parents or other relatives bring children to orphanages. Meanwhile, an estimated 300,000 Haitian children are believed to be enslaved or working as servants for the country’s wealthy elite.
3 February
Special edition of The Current (CBC Radio) on Haiti, co-hosted by David Gutnick, features several unique stories emerging from the devastation, beautifully told.
2 February
Haiti polls delayed, families ‘reclaim’ taken children
(AFP) The security situation is one of the main concerns of international relief teams and residents of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, which had been hit by looting following the disaster.
31 January
Haiti: A Fateful Geological Prize (Oil) Discovered To Their Demise!
Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.
30 January
How Haiti lost its way
A tale of racism, religion and revenge, of ravaged forests, overpriced rice and doomed pigs
28 January
David Gutnick: Trying to find meaning in a neighbourhood tragedy
Cost Dispute Halts Airlift of Injured Haiti Quake Victims
The United States has suspended its medical evacuations of critically injured Haitian earthquake victims until a dispute over who will pay for their care is settled, military officials said Friday.
Earthquake resets relations between Haiti, Dominican Republic
The earthquake that devastated Haiti has sent shock waves through the political sphere, bringing traditional rivals Haiti and the Dominican Republic closer while ratcheting up tensions between Haiti’s closest allies, such as Venezuela and Cuba, and the U.S. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Bolivian President Evo Morales criticized the U.S.’s extensive use of troops in its humanitarian effort. While foes such as Israel and Libya have been forced in some cases to work alongside one another in the rebuilding effort, relief operations have especially affected the divisions and resentment that have plagued Haitian–Dominican relations for more than a century. The New York Times (1/28)
Bill Clinton hails Canadian aid efforts in Haiti

“It has been unbelievable. First, the Canadian people are so generous,” said the former U.S. president. “I’ll bet you on a per-capita basis, they’re No. 1 in the world now in helping Haiti.”
27 January
AP: Haiti govt gets 1 penny of US quake aid dollar
Each American dollar roughly breaks down like this: 42 cents for disaster assistance, 33 cents for U.S. military aid, nine cents for food, nine cents to transport the food, five cents for paying Haitian survivors for recovery efforts, just less than one cent to the Haitian government, and about half a cent to the Dominican Republic.
Amid Earthquake’s Ruins, Signs of Revival in Haiti
This devastated capital showed increasing signs of stirring back to life on Wednesday as Haitians restarted factory assembly lines, visited their barbers, sought replacement cellphones and even picked up their dry cleaning.
International donors commit to Haiti rebuilding effort

Despite concerns the Haitian government might lack the ability to manage a reconstruction fund and fears President René Préval does not hold true leadership in the country, international leaders committed to a 10-year rebuilding effort in Haiti at a tentative cost of $3 billion. The money would be used to build model home communities for some 200,000 people rendered homeless and to reconstruct government offices destroyed in Port-au-Prince. But donor nations called for an independent-needs assessment to be conducted by representatives of the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the UN Development Programme to ascertain the true costs associated with rebuilding. The New York Times (1/25) (Montreal Gazette) Montreal summit on Haiti ends with reconstruction principles
26 January
Haiti Earthquake May Have Exposed Gas, Aiding Economy (Update1)
(Bloomberg) The Jan. 12 earthquake was on a fault line that passes near potential gas reserves, said Stephen Pierce, a geologist who worked in the region for 30 years for companies including the former Mobil Corp. The quake may have cracked rock formations along the fault, allowing gas or oil to temporarily seep toward the surface, he said yesterday in a telephone interview.
Hillary Clinton rassure les ONG
(Le Devoir) Les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG) présentes en Haïti et des porte-parole de la diaspora haïtienne se sont dits rassurés par les propos des représentants des pays amis d’Haïti, dont, au premier chef, la secrétaire d’État américaine, Hillary Clinton. Ils voient d’un bon oeil l’assurance donnée hier à Montréal que le gouvernement haïtien sera aux commandes de la reconstruction et du développement du pays dévasté par le violent séisme du 12 janvier dernier. Mais les ONG garderont la communauté internationale à l’oeil.
Haiti Digs out From Communications Disaster
… through a variety of means, connectivity is already improving for Haitians and for organizations such as CARE. Aid groups that focus on communication systems are bringing in emergency solutions, and at least one of the country’s major mobile operators has finally been able to assess and start to repair its network.
25 January
Haiti’s Recovery: What Comes Next?
(CSIS) The United Nations estimates that with almost a third of Haiti’s population of 10 million affected by the quake, the humanitarian dimensions of this disaster will require at least six months to a year of emergency food and shelter assistance, and more than a decade to rebuild a nation that has at best been a fragile state. So what will it take to rebuild Haiti?
Haiti’s leaders forced to defend earthquake response
Mr. Preval, 67, has long been considered more of a technocrat and has never been given to making inspirational speeches. But his low profile at a time when the nation could use a little hope has done little to inspire confidence in the nation’s future. That sense of a government in chaos is reinforced by the physical evidence of a government in ruins.
Attention turns to rebuilding shattered Haiti

Reconstruction of the Haitian economy takes center stage this week as government donors meet today in Montreal and later at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive expressed gratitude for the worldwide response and vowed Haiti will rebuild. The Wall Street Journal (1/25) , The Toronto Star (1/25) , BBC (1/25)
Haiti will lead rebuilding, Canada says
Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive offered thanks to the international community Monday for its support since the Jan. 12 earthquake, [ and told the meting] “What we are speaking about is relaunching our country on a path of development. It is not a question of going back to the status quo”. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon reiterated the shared view of participants that Haitians must take a lead role in rebuilding the country.
23 January
Will promises of a new Haiti endure?
(Al Jazeera) Some of Haiti’s worst enemies came not from abroad, but from within. The peasants who slashed and burned the lush forest, turning most of what was a verdant island into arid, rocky scrub. The power- mad, corrupt and oppressive rulers who treated the nation and its people as their personal plaything, from mad king Christophe to the evil Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his loathsome son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc”. The corrupt elite that maintains a stranglehold on the country’s wealth, with 2% of the people controlling 90% of assets. Not all of Haiti’s many tribulations are self-imposed, of course. The United States has meddled in Haitian affairs almost since the country’s founding.
… Now, in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake of January 12th, Haiti faces perhaps the greatest crisis in its history. As international aid pours into the Port-au-Prince airport and trickles out to the people most in need, plans are afoot for a wholesale restructuring.
(HuffPost) Mark Hyman, M.D. — Riding the Waves of Rescue, Rebuilding and Resurrection
22 January
Hope for Haiti: Hollywood stars answer the calls in Haiti telethon
Steven Spielberg, Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon are among those on the phone lines in a bid to raise funds for victims of the earthquake
“Can you send an angel?” sang Alicia Keys, opening the Hope For Haiti tele­thon early yesterday morning with her song Prelude to a Kiss. And then, on cue, George Clooney appeared, the first of a sombre parade of actors and musicians to appeal for donations for the earthquake victims in the Caribbean country.
Firms scramble to repair Haiti wireless service
Prepaid phones are dominant in country where there are few fixed lines
20 January
Nicholas Kristof: Some Frank Talk About Haiti
in the coming months as we help Haitians rebuild, let’s dispatch not only aid workers, but also business investors. Haiti desperately needs new schools and hospitals, but also new factories. And let’s challenge the myth that because Haiti has been poor, it always will be. That kind of self-fulfilling fatalism may be the biggest threat of all to Haiti, the real pact with the devil.
18 January
Brian Stewart: The to-do list is nearly overwhelmingtypically thoughtful analysis
Canada’s action in pulling together an international summit on Haiti for next week is commendably bold. But all attending need to be realistic: This is a catastrophe far worse even than it looks.
This is not “rebuilding” in the classic sense after a natural disaster, but rather the root-and-branch creation of a functioning state.
Just make a list of everything Haiti critically, desperately, needs: Basic hygiene, sewer and water pipelines, medical services ranging from neighbourhood clinics to hospitals, roads, electricity lines, telecommunications, schools, new port facilities, market places, public housing, transport services, agricultural support and nationwide reforestation, assistance for devastated economic enterprises, police stations, reliable public security forces, even a place where a new government can meet that is not, as it was this week, in the open air.
Anything less than building from the bottom up will leave Haiti perennially fragile, open to devastation again in the next hurricane season or the next round of internal violence.
The mind reels at the challenges facing the Montreal summit. How much money will be needed? How many legal experts, trade negotiators, soldiers, architects, urban designers, crisis managers, medical team leaders, UN and government mentors?
How much of a role will Canada (Haiti’s second largest donor) need to play?
Nothing but the clearest possible response from the world community will offer the kind of hope Haiti now must have.

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Google crisis response

We have received many queries regarding how – to whom – to make effective donations for Haitian relief. Here is a brief summary of our reply:
Cash donations to recognized charities are best (see Charity Navigator – Your Guide to Intelligent Giving and/or Donors Put Charity to Work in Haiti  although U.S. focused the advice is valid anywhere) as the chaotic logistics on the ground have to be overcome by organizations/people who know what they are doing, can arrange the complex logistics and know what is most needed. Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, World Vision, UNICEF (though their admin costs may be a cause for concern) come to mind immediately and their websites are set up for donations. CARE Canada, OXFAM-Canada, OXFAM Quebec and Save the Children have formed a “Humanitarian Coalition” to ensure maximum efficiency and minimal bureaucracy – the economies of scale mean that more dollars go directly to the relief effort. In very practical terms: if one of these organizations temporarily runs out of supplies or staff on the ground, their partner organizations can take up the slack. This is really good news to us, as we worry about duplication of well-intentioned efforts. Google has also created a Web page devoted to linking people with charitable groups including Direct Relief, Yele Haiti, the Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders. And Canadians, please remember that your donation to recognized charities is doubled as any contribution you make before February 12th will be matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian Government (
Ottawa matching Canadians’ Haiti donations). Important clarification: The government will not match donations made by corporations, governments, businesses, partnerships, schools, incorporated or non-incorporated entities, or unions from their existing resources  … but …   It has also been suggested by family members close to the situation that “the best is to work with American Red Cross or Food for the Poor. American Red Cross is combining efforts with American Airlines. Also American Advantage members can donate mileage instead of cash.”
Remember that once the immediate relief action is completed, there will be years of reconstruction of infrastructure and services. Although many volunteers are responding now – and are often frustrated because the agencies really don’t have time to deal with/train them – this is a very long-term project and they will be a valuable asset in the crucial future work. We must not forget Haiti once the immediate drama has been replaced (which it inevitably will be) by the next news rush.

Handling a crisis on the scale of Haiti – Richard Gordon and Mike Evans of the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, outline the planning and potential pitfalls of such an operation; CNN Special coverage of 2010 earthquake; (CBC) How you can help Haitian contacts, relief efforts; Haitian Rescue Stymied Amid Chaoscomprehensive coverage from the Wall Street Journal ; Canada in 2010
Cultural Riches Turn to Rubble in Haiti Quake

Its vibrant arts scene celebrated the country’s creation, and its public buildings sought to capture the elegance of a past that Haitians held onto though political trauma, staggering violence and a string of natural disasters. That alone has made the depth of the destruction of Haiti’s heritage hard to fully capture.
PM lifts cap for matching Haiti donations
The government had set aside $50 million in its dollar-for-dollar fund, but Harper said due to Canadians’ “overwhelming generosity,” the decision was made to remove the cap.
Obstacles to Recovery in Haiti May Prove Daunting Beyond Other Disasters
The relief effort in Haiti could end up being the most difficult, faith-testing recovery from a modern disaster, according to aid groups.
Aftershocks seen throughout Haiti’s economy
Prices for common goods and groceries are surging in Haiti, where the earthquake destroyed the nation’s central bank and finance ministry, eliminating the offices in a position to make corrections for an already weakened economy. But more immediate problems, including a lack of gasoline and interrupted remittances from the U.S., have begun to turn around, bringing some ease to the nation’s devastated economy. The New York Times (1/21)
Obstacles sever Haiti’s diaspora lifeline
(FT) Cut off from their relatives since last week’s earthquake that killed an estimated 75,000 people and displaced more than 1m, Haiti’s vast diaspora has been struggling to figure out how to help from afar while a lack of electricity, communications and security foil good intentions. The reality is still fraught with problems. Katleen Felix, a co-ordinator for Fonkozé, … said the country was facing a potential liquidity crisis as the central bank was unable to get cash to branches. Although about half of Fonkozé’s 42 branches were operational, she said, the central bank’s vault was sealed shut and they would soon run out of currency unless it were imported from abroad.
Seaport, banks reopening in quake-hit Haiti
(Reuters) The seaport in Port-au-Prince had been repaired enough to reopen for limited aid shipments, and a Dutch naval vessel was unloading pallets of water, juice and long-life milk onto trucks at the pier. Aid was more plentiful but still inadequate to feed and shelter those left homeless and injured.
Fuel shortage in Haiti leads to aid bottleneck
Though officials are working to open new airports to alleviate the congestion at Haiti’s only operating airstrip, a new bottleneck has emerged: a lack of fuel for transporting food, medicine and other supplies where they are needed. Aid organizations complain U.S. authorities have given priority to military and diplomatic flights. Crates of blankets, tarps, hygiene kits and water bladders are stuck at the airport — as raids threaten to enhance the crisis for refugees. Los Angeles Times (1/20)
A new 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti this morning, the largest aftershock yet after last week’s quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people. The quake sent people fleeing into the streets in terror, but it’s not yet clear what the extent of the damage to the country’s already decimated infrastructure was.
The world food program says it has only 16 million rations in the pipeline, with 100 million needed over the next 30 days. With Haiti’s main hospitals destroyed and field hospitals overwhelmed, many patients are dying for lack of supplies.
Security takes precedence as immediate Haiti concern
The UN Security Council endorsed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s proposal to send 3,500 peacekeepers to Haiti to assist with the greatest challenge facing humanitarian relief: Providing security to international aid workers as frustration gives way to violence and hostility. The U.S. says it has about 1,700 troops in Haiti and will increase that complement of soldiers and Marines to about 5,000 by midweek. The Washington Post (1/19)
A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cargo plane carrying 12 tons of medical equipment, including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, was turned away three times from Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night despite repeated assurances of its ability to land there. Since January 14, MSF has had five planes carrying a total of 85 tons of medical and relief supplies diverted from  Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic. More
The Lede (NYT) Latest Updates on the Crisis in Haiti
An Open Letter to David Brooks on Haiti
In your January 15, 2010, opinion piece in The New York Times, “The Underlying Tragedy,” you present what you seem to believe is a bold assessment of the situation in Haiti. … First, Haiti is not a clear-cut case of the failure of international aid to achieve poverty reduction. For almost its entire existence, Haiti has been shouldered with a load of immense international debt. The Haitian people had the audacity to break their chains and declare independence in 1804, but were later forced by France to repurchase their freedom for 150 million francs, a burden that the country has had to carry throughout the 20th century.
18 January
U.S. task force commander for Haitian relief says logistics remain stumbling block
One challenge has been the backlog of airplanes trying to land on the airport’s one runway… the U.S. Air Force helped the Haiti government get its airport operational within 24 hours of the earthquake and is now helping to manage the air traffic control with the Haitian government determining the priorities of which planes should land first. Some planes, carrying much needed emergency supplies, doctors and field hospital equipment, were turned away because there were delays in getting planes on the ground to take off.
(Haaretz) Israel’s Haiti field hospital: a microcosm of a country’s turmoil
Haiti, Dominican Republic juggle ethics of tourism after quake
In Haiti there are questions as to whether it was appropriate for a cruise ship to make a scheduled stop three days after the quake at a private beach resort 100 km from the flattened capital, Port-au-Prince;  “in the end, Labadee is critical to Haiti’s recovery and hundreds of people rely on Labadee for their livelihood,” Royal Caribbean associate vice president John Weis writes on company blog. Cruise ships to resume calls in Haiti starting Friday In addition to vacationers, the massive vessels will be carrying relief supplies to be distributed through Food for the Poor.
Canadian Forces head to port town of Jacmel
17 January
We have just received a message from our good friend Katleen Félix, Project Director and Haitian Diaspora Liaison for Fonkoze, Haiti’s Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor. It is the largest micro-finance institution offering a full range of financial services to the rural-based poor in Haiti.
She writes: “Fonkoze USA has set up a Disaster Relief Fund, which will benefit the restoration of normal operations and help our microcredit clients. For more information, please go to the Fonkoze website. I have been giving interviews to newspapers for the past three days. Here’s one on remittances / money transfers (in english) :
One on Fonkoze and the crisis (in french)
Peter Goodspeed in Haiti: The country ‘has virtually ceased to exist’
Downtown Port-au-Prince is an apocalyptic vision of hell. All the capital’s institutions have literally collapsed – the National Palace, the Courts of Justice, the Catholic Cathedral, the port and most of downtown are shattered grey skeletons, surrounded by thousands of frightened, traumatized people. In the Champ de Mars, tens of thousands of people are camping out in the parks surrounding the crumpled National Palace.
16 January
800 Canadian soldiers going to Haiti
New equipment gives Ottawa the ability to respond quickly to disasters such as this week’s earthquake; Canada’s role will involve preventing disastrous effects of disease, lack of security
A Presidential Triple Plea for Haiti Relief Fund

(NYT) The three men who have occupied the Oval office for the past 17 years stood side by side in the Rose Garden to announce the launch of the new venture, complete with ClintonBushHaitiFund.org, a new Web site. (Salon 01/14) Bill Clinton pushing hard for Haiti relief – For years he has led international efforts to save the Haitians — and now the tragedy may provide global traction
(NYT) An immense relief operation was under way, with cargo planes and military helicopters buzzing over the crowded Toussaint Louverture International Airport. After three days of chaos and congestion at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s government ceded control of it to American technicians, to speed the flow of relief supplies and personnel. The Federal Aviation Administration, which began managing air traffic into Haitian airspace, issued a stern warning to allow aid to flow in a more orderly way: no planes from the United States, military or civilian, would be allowed to land without express permission from the agency. Exceptions to the new rule would be granted only to humanitarian aid planes, based on arrival times and on the availability of space at the airport, a notice from the agency said. The F.A.A. warned pilots that fuel still was not available at the airport, and that any aircraft bound here would need to have enough fuel to circle in the air for at least an hour.

After watching endless and disturbing TV news coverage last night, we asked ourselves about the seemingly hundreds of media people in Haiti and why it was necessary for them all to be there. They do not travel light. Are their units self-contained? How do they get there? Are they part of the air traffic problem? Where do they sleep? Why is there not a Pool in emergency situations? We were pleased to see that we were not alone in our thinking when we saw this comment on the CBC website:

WHY are there so many media “on their way”? There is no water, no food and no shelter. 30 Media people and their gear displaced search and rescue equipment on the C-17 that left Trenton the other night. The SAR equipment was all ready to go. Now they have to feed, water and shelter these people, and look after their safety. What is wrong with people – all for a picture? Send the HELP needed, don’t send more people that need resources instead of the resources!

15 January
Another Must Read 5 Lessons From Haiti Quake Aftermath
(The Atlantic) There is not always much to say in the face of a natural disaster and ensuing humanitarian crisis. But the earthquake in Haiti seems to be different. Perhaps because of the severity of the destruction, or because of the complex forces that strain Haiti, or due simply to the commentary-rich nature of media today, opinions on the quake are diverse and abundant. Many writers are drawing wider conclusions about the world from the quake’s aftermath, touching on everything from China to the media.
Relief Groups Seek Alternative Routes to Get Aid Moving
By Friday afternoon, the FAA, which has been coordinating air traffic control at the Port-au-Prince airport, issued a stern warning: no planes bound from the United States, military or civilian, would be allowed to land without express permission from the agency.
MUST READ
Donors Put Charity to Work in Haiti
(WSJ) In times of disaster, hundreds of charities that may not be equipped to help often try to raise money and others are simply fraudulent scams. The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned Americans to ignore unsolicited emails and to be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims.
Donors can also turn to organizations like Guidestar.org and the Better Business Bureau to check an organization’s legitimacy.
Aid groups are asking donors to refrain from sending food or supplies. Donors can make the biggest impact by sending money to organizations with a longtime presence in Haiti. These organizations have a well-established infrastructure, experience and relationships with local communities.
While the immediate needs are great, relief organizations say that the greater need will be long-term recovery. “Most donors will see the stirring images from Haiti and react today, but the whole fabric of society such as schools and churches will have to be rebuilt over time and donors can commit to build it better” ….
Hard-hit UN calls for $550 million in Haiti aid

UN Special Envoy to Haiti and former U.S. President Bill Clinton said the earthquake might be the most devastating disaster to have befallen the UN, citing the deaths of 16 employees and disappearance of at least 56 more. UN aid agencies are launching an appeal for $550 million in emergency aid. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 17 search-and-rescue teams have been deployed in Port-au-Prince, with six more on the way to assist in searching out pockets of survivors still trapped in the rubble. Reuters (1/15) , ABC News (1/15)

Israel aids Haiti
(Ha’artez) The Israel Defense Forces’ aid mission to Haiti left Israel overnight Thursday with equipment for setting up an emergency field hospital. Around 220 soldiers and officers are in the delegation, including 120 medical staff who will operate the hospital in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The mission includes 40 doctors, 20 paramedics and 24 nurses, as well as medics and medical technicians. Around a third of the delegation is made up of reservists who were called up specially for the mission. The IDF’s chief medical officer, Brig. Gen. Nachman Esh, said that while the field hospital will largely treat trauma patients, similar to those encountered in a war, specialists in various other fields have also been sent.
The original plan was for the IDF to first send a Home Front Command rescue team, followed by medical teams. But after contact was made with the Haitian authorities, the army and Foreign Ministry decided that the Caribbean country’s most pressing need was extra medical staff. Nearly every hospital in Haiti was destroyed in Tuesday’s earthquake. Israel sends aid as Haiti braces for death toll in strongest Caribbean earthquake in 200 years.
Rescuers Race to Find Survivors in Haiti as U.S. Troops Work to Speed Aid Flow
(NYT) Efforts to deliver desperately needed food, water and medical help to victims of Haiti’s earthquake intensified on Friday even as the voices of survivors buried underneath mountains of rubble began to fall silent. Cargo planes and military helicopters swooped in and out of the crowded airport in Port-au-Prince, after several hours of chaos that delayed some aid deliveries. Hundreds of American troops were arriving, with more on the way. Some 25 rescue teams fanned out to collapsed hotels, schools and homes, and aid groups said they had given food and blankets to thousands of people.
But 2 million to 3 million people are still in dire need, and patience was wearing thin on the streets as Haiti went another day with no power and limited fresh water.
Anger as bottlenecks hamper Haiti aid

(Independent) Rescue teams are hitting hold-ups everywhere, beginning at a main airport short on jet fuel and ramp space and without a control tower.
14 January
Ottawa matching Canadians’ Haiti donations
Pledge of up to $50M comes as military moves to assist rescue efforts
Google donates million dollars to Haiti relief efforts

The Internet giant said the money is intended to help with rescues as well as food, water, shelter, and medical support for victims of a deadly 7.0 magnitude temblor that devastated the poor Caribbean nation on Tuesday.
Google also created a Web page devoted to linking people with charitable groups including Direct Relief, Yele Haiti, the Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders.
Anger grows in quake-hit Haiti over aid delay
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Desperate Haitians set up roadblocks with corpses in Port-au-Prince on Thursday to demand quicker relief efforts after a massive earthquake killed tens of thousands and left countless others homeless.
Planes full of supplies arrived at Port-au-Prince airport faster than crews could unload them and aviation authorities were restricting non-emergency flights.
The influx of aid had yet to reach shellshocked Haitians who wandered the broken streets of Port-au-Prince, searching desperately for water, food and medical help.
Ottawa to match Haiti donations
(Globe & Mail) The government has also announced it will be matching individual donations to charities up to a total of $50-million. These funds will be allocated by CIDA to Canadian and international humanitarian organizations.
Dozens of UN personnel killed by Haiti quake
(Reuters) U.N. humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes said the world body’s operations in Haiti “have been very badly affected” by the earthquake and the loss of some of its key personnel, and it was urgently trying to reinforce its ranks.
“That’s not happening as fast as we would like,” he said.
The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti, Kim Bolduc, told reporters via the video link that a group of U.N. agencies was taking control of relief efforts in the Caribbean nation and had invited aid organizations to help distribute food, shelter, medicine and other much-needed aid.
Doctors Without Borders loses all three hospitals in Haitian quake
International Teams Grapple With Aid
(WSJ) U.S. special operations forces have reopened Haiti’s airport and United Nations- and U.S.-led teams have begun rescue efforts in the earthquake-stricken nation, according to a government situation report issued Thursday morning and reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Ship deliveries were impossible to Port-au-Prince because the Haitian capital’s port was closed by damage. Its airport was open but strained to handle a flurry of incoming flights carrying experts and aid.
Teary Governor General thanks Canada for aid to Haiti
(CP) Haitian-born Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean offered an emotional thank you to Canada today for moving so quickly to help her earthquake-ravaged homeland. Anguished Jean calls for the world’s help After a sleepless night without word of her family and friends, Governor-General delivers emotional appeal for her homeland Globe & Mail; Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean comments on Haiti (video)
Haiti devastated by massive earthquake
A massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, destabilizing conditions for some 3 million people and devastating much of the island nation. Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. Raymond Joseph reported Haitian first lady Elisabeth Debrosse Delatour said “most of Port-au-Prince is destroyed.” The quake caused the collapse of the capitol, as well as the UN mission’s headquarters — where fewer than 10 bodies have been recovered, according to humanitarian chief Alain Le Roy. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said more than 100 mission staffers were missing, including UN mission in Haiti chief Hedi Annabi. U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to lead a coordinated emergency aid effort. CNN (1/13) , Reuters (1/13) , Los Angeles Times/Top of the Ticket blog (1/13) , The Seattle Times/The Associated Press (1/13)
Haiti relief push: U.S. sending search/rescue, disaster teams
(Politico) The White House Situation Room was full all night, POLITICO’s Mike Allen reports:
“The president received another update on the situation in Haiti at approximately 8:30 p.m. from members of his National Security Staff. The president told them that he expects an aggressive, coordinated effort by the U.S. government.
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Thousands were feared dead in a major earthquake that destroyed the presidential palace, schools, hospitals and hillside shanties in Haiti, its leaders said on Wednesday, and the United States and other nations geared up for a big relief operation. More
Hundreds of thousands may have died in Haiti quake, PM says

(NYT) Huge swaths of Port-au-Prince lay in ruins, and thousands of people were feared dead in the rubble of government buildings, foreign aid headquarters and shantytowns that collapsed a day earlier in a powerful earthquake.
The Haitian president, René Préval, told The Miami Herald that the toll was “unimaginable” and estimated that thousands had died. Among those feared dead were the chief of the United Nations mission in Haiti and Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, the archbishop of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
“Parliament has collapsed,” Mr. Préval was quoted as saying. “The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed. There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them.”
12 January 2010
Thousands feared dead as 7.0 quake hits Haiti
(CBC) The Haitian capital has largely been destroyed in the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in more than 200 years.
Journalists from The Associated Press describe severe and widespread casualties after touring the streets of Port-au-Prince.
The damage is staggering even in a country accustomed to tragedy and disaster. AP reporters said the National Palace is a crumbled ruin and tens of thousands of people are homeless.
Many gravely injured people sit in the street, pleading for doctors many hours after the quake. In public squares thousands of people are singing hymns and holding hands.
The 7.0-magnitude quake struck at 4:53 p.m. Tuesday, leaving large numbers of people unaccounted for.

23 March 2009
Living in a Sea of Mud, and Drowning in Dread
Gonaïves– The fear of the next big storm infects the whole town. Everyone knows that the rains should start in April, and that by June hurricanes can begin to form out in the Atlantic — the deadly season lasting until November. Mr. Hubert complains that the city has no evacuation plan, that the same chaos that left him sitting on a neighbor’s roof the last time for three days, his five children crying from hunger, could well unspool all over again like a recurring nightmare.

11 September 2008
Meager Living of Haitians Is Wiped Out by Storms

The resolve of the people of Gonaïves, Haiti, is being tested by a string of tropical storms and hurricanes.

2 Comments on "Haiti"

  1. Anne-christine d'Adesky March 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm · Reply

    Hi. Just discovered your blog and will let others know about it. I’m a journalist and author of the post-Duvalier novel, “Under The Bone” (FSG, 1995) and have family roots in Haiti. I’m blogging about the challenges of Rebuilding Haiti at http://www.haitivox.com – and working with Haitian and diaspora women leaders to mobilize international solidarity to support women and girls in Haiti and grassroots organizations. It’s called Poto Mitan: Rebuilding Haiti and the Group is organizing using the World Pulse platform (see http://www.pulsewire.com – look for Groups).

    Would you be interested in joining this effort. We have well known Haitians like Edwidge Danticat and Myriam Chancy and other lesser known advocates, and great activists coming together for this.

    Kenbe fem. Anne-christine d’Adesky

  2. Boukman Charles December 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm · Reply

    Under an agreement with the Government of Haiti, The Caribbean Institute for Sustainable Development (TCI) and its associates (FAVACA, L’Ecole Superieure Catholique de Droit de Jérémie (“ESCDROJ”), Fondasyon Ayiti-Karayib and others) are launching the National Recovery Consultations Program (NRCP) which is designed to facilitate Haitian civil society, grassroots organizations and Diaspora associations in re-envisioning and rebuilding Haiti.

    The NRCP will run civic forums in the tent communities and towns to put the people’s voice at the forefront of the recovery process, and establish citizen-managed Development Centers throughout the country to provide wide access to legal services, support for small business and sustainable jobs, and adult literacy.

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