Tag: Haiti

Jan 13

Cable News Could Use More Like Joy Reid

MSNBC host Joy Reid does not suffer rude fools lightly. She asks direct questions of her guests and has the facts at her fingertips. Her interview this morning with Donald Trump apologist Pastor Mark Burns was the perfect example for other host of cable news on how to handle guests who won’t answer questions, spew …

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Aug 18

UN Admits It Caused Haitian Cholera Epidemic

In the wake of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated poverty stricken Haiti, it was hit with a second disaster that October with an outbreak of a lethal strain of cholera that has never been seen in the Western Hemisphere. The source of the outbreak was easily and quickly traced to a UN peacekeepers from …

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Jan 19

Haiti: Three Years Later

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

On Jan 12, 2010, a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti. The quake alone killed an over 300,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. Ten months later a cholera epidemic broke out that has taken nearly 8,000 more lives. More than $9 billion has been donated from the public and private sectors to help rebuild. Yet three years later, there are still nearly 300,000 Haitians living in tents, the cholera epidemic is barely under control and the infrastructure is still a shambles.

‘Lack of national plan’ heightens struggle to rebuild unstable Haiti

by Mike Tran, The Guardian

Political instability, natural disasters and a cholera epidemic, plus a confused aid effort, mean there is still work for Haiti to do

For Father Kawas, who co-ordinated emergency response efforts in 2010 (video), several reasons lie behind the continued existence of tent cities where people swelter during the day and are soaked by evening rains.

But the main one is the government’s inability to acquire land from powerful families around the capital. “I think it’s difficult to rehouse these people because most of the land surrounding Port-au-Prince belongs to very powerful families and those families don’t want to give the land to the state to rehouse people. It’s a very big problem because those families are very powerful and they have many political resources so they can influence the decisions of the state.” [..]

Poverty was cited by Father Kawas as another reason why so many people remain homeless. “They don’t have enough money to rent a house, or to rebuild a house,” he says. “It is difficult for them because most of them don’t work, they have no jobs. NGOs cannot do everything. They cannot rehouse all the people in Haiti.” [..]

Haiti’s state institutions were fragile even before the earthquake and were weakened by the disaster. The Haitian government has received little in reconstruction funds as foreign governments have had little faith in its ability to handle the relief effort. That the government has yet to draw up a national reconstruction plan speaks volumes.

“The big problem for NGOs and for many actors in Haiti is the lack of a national plan for construction,” says Father Kawas. “The government speaks about that but right now, we don’t see this plan and we know that this plan is very important for the country, for the development of the country. For example, the NGOs are working separately, in isolation, and there is no co-ordination, there is no plan [from] the government, so for me it’s a real problem for the development of the country. And the international organisations do the same.”

Father Kawas acknowledges the difficulties in trying to strengthen his government, but urged aid agencies to provide training for public employees, as well as to help parliament and political parties.

“In Haiti, the public administration does not function, it’s a real problem. The government cannot put in practice its policies if the public administration does not function so it’s a real necessity for foreign governments to help the Haitian government find solutions.”

Haiti’s earthquake generated a $9bn response – where did the money go?

by Vijaya Ramachandran, The Guardian

Uncertainty about the scale and outcome of spending following Haiti tragedy highlights need for greater transparency

Saturday (Jan 12, 2010) marked the third anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti that claimed between 230,000 and 300,000 lives. The grim landmark has prompted much discussion about the struggles surrounding reconstruction and also some hope about what may come next.

Most observers agree that the international response to the quake was overwhelming. Haiti received an unprecedented amount of support: more than $9bn (£5.6bn) in public and private donations. Official bilateral and multilateral donors pledged $13bn and, according to the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti, almost 50% of these pledges ($6bn) have been disbursed. Private donations are estimated at $3bn.

Where has all the money gone? Three years after the quake, we do not really know how the money was spent, how many Haitians were reached, or whether the desired outcomes were achieved. In a policy paper published in May, and in a more recent blogpost, we unpacked the numbers, many of which came from the UN Office of the Special Envoy.

Three Years After the Quake, How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster

Three years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, we’re joined by Jonathan Katz, author of “The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster.” The earthquake on January 12, 2010, ultimately resulted in the deaths of roughly 300,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless in what was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. A cholera epidemic, widely blamed on international U.N. troops, killed almost 8,000 people, making more than half a million sick. Today, despite pledges of billions of dollars in international aid, rebuilding has barely begun, and almost 400,000 people are still living in crowded camps. After four years of reporting in Haiti, Katz joins us to discuss where the reconstruction effort went wrong

Part 2: Jonathan Katz on How the World Came to Save Haiti After Quake and Left Behind a Disaster

There is hope for Haiti, despite what the critics say

There is still a long way to go.

May 26

Cholera: Haiti’s Epidemic

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

After the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 2010, the United Nations sent peace keeping troops from around the world to assist with keeping order during the recovery process, Unfortunately, some of those forces introduced a virulent strain of Cholera that was until October 2010 never seen in the Western Hemisphere. The faulty sanitation contaminated the Artibonite River, the longest and most important river in Haiti. The UN has refused to acknowledge its responsibility and has done little to help treat, prevent and control the disease.

The enormity of the epidemic is in the numbers that are increasing as this is written. Since October 2010, over 500,000 cases have been reported, including 7,000 deaths. In a New York Times Editorial on May 12, it was reported that this year’s toll could effect another 200,000 to 250,000 people:

Doctors Without Borders said this month that the country is unprepared for this spring’s expected resurgence of the disease. Nearly half the aid organizations that had been working in the rural Artibonite region, where this epidemic began and 20 percent of cases have been reported, have left, the organization said. “Additionally, health centers are short of drugs and some staff have not been paid since January.”

It gets worse: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report this month that cholera in Haiti was evolving into two strains, suggesting the disease would become much harder to uproot and that people who had already gotten sick and recovered would be vulnerable again.

From Doctors Without Borders press release:

While Haiti’s Ministry of Health and Populations claims to be in control of the situation, health facilities in many regions of the country remain incapable of responding to the seasonal fluctuations of the cholera epidemic. The surveillance system, which is supposed to monitor the situation and raise the alarm, is still dysfunctional, MSF said. The number of people treated by MSF alone in the capital, Port-au-Prince, has quadrupled in less than a month, reaching 1,600 cases in April. The organization has increased treatment capacity in the city and in the town of Léogâne, and is preparing to open additional treatment sites in the country. Nearly 200,000 cholera cases were reported during the rainy season last year, between May and October. [..]

An MSF study in the Artibonite region, where approximately 20 percent of cholera cases have been reported, has revealed a clear reduction of cholera prevention measures since 2011. More than half of the organizations working in the region last year are now gone. Additionally, health centers are short of drugs and some staff have not been paid since January. [..]

The majority of Haitians do not have access to latrines, and obtaining clean water is a daily challenge. Of the half-million survivors of the January, 2010 earthquake who continue to live in camps, less than one third are provided with clean drinking water and only one percent recently received soap, according to a April 2012 investigation by Haiti’s National Directorate of Water Supply and Sanitation.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the cost of adequate water and sanitation systems will run from $800 million to $1.1 billion. That money is available from funds that were pledged from other nations.

Awareness needs to be raised. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a human rights group, has sued the United Nations on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims and there is a Congressional letter to US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice urging UN authorities to play a central role in addressing the epidemic.

Just Foreign Policy has set up a petition pressing the UN to take formal responsibility for the epidemic and do more to alleviate the cholera epidemic:

Tell Congress: Urge UN to Alleviate Cholera Crisis in Haiti

The United Nations bears heavy responsibility for the ongoing cholera epidemic in Haiti-it has become widely accepted that UN troops introduced the disease into the country via the UN’s faulty sanitation system. Even a UN panel has conceded this point. Yet, the UN has done little to treat, prevent, and control the disease. Rep. John Conyers’ office is circulating a letter to Amb. Rice urging UN authorities to play a central role in addressing the ongoing cholera crisis in Haiti.

The effort to contain this epidemic needs support. There are lives to be saved.

Note: The photo by Frederik Matte is from the Doctors Without Borders web site of patients affected by cholera receive treatment at an MSF cholera treatment center in Port-au-Prince.

Jul 16

Little Haiti

   I was talking with my brother the other day about the pathetic state of the local campo dog that wants me to be its owner. It has a badly injured foot that is beyond treatment. It needs to be put to sleep, but there is no vet within two hours of my Dominican pueblo.

  He asked me what the locals do in such cases. Generally the dogs are poisoned or simply left to slowly die. Then I responded with my blackest humor: “Dogs here are treated almost as badly as Haitians.”

Feb 01

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Comedy Central Presents… Michele Bachmann

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette

Clay Bennett

Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see the large number of reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

:: ::

Trying to watch her taped response is worse than annoying, and the woman makes up her own facts as she goes, which has come to define her.

In short, if this is the best that the Tea Pot party has to offer, then there’s really nothing to see or hear that has not been offered time and again.  I really don’t care for parrots.

Michele Bachmann is also defined by her presumptive beliefs, obtained God only knows where.

 

Nov 20

How the UN Brought Cholera to Haiti

From the Assciated Press…

Before last month, there had never been a confirmed case of cholera in Haiti.

In March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said cholera was “extremely unlikely to occur” in Haiti. There were no cholera bacteria there.

Then it did. Even more surprisingly, it did not first appear in a major port, an earthquake tent camp or an area where foreigners are concentrated, but instead along the rural Artibonite River.

Speculation keeps returning to that river and a base home to 454 U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal. They are perched on a babbling waterway called the Boukan Kanni, part of the Meille River that feeds into the Artibonite.

People living nearby have long complained about the stink in the back of the base and sewage in the river. Before the outbreak began they had stopped drinking from that section of the river, depending instead on a source farther up the mountain.

The CDC has said the strain of cholera in Haiti matches one found most prevalently in South Asia.

“It very much likely did come either with peacekeepers or other relief personnel,” said John Mekalanos, Harvard University microbiology chair. “I don’t see there is any way to avoid the conclusion that an unfortunate and presumably accidental introduction of the organism occurred.”

Nov 12

Haiti: UN Appeals For Aid, US Sits On Wallet

Haiti is in need of millions of dollars to combat the cholera epidemic, but the US is still holding back $1.15 billion in Aid that has already been appropriated.  It’s time to tell your congress members to stop sitting on the wallet and get that money to Haiti, where it’s urgently needed.

AFP today reports on the need for $164 million in aid to combat the cholera epidemic in Haiti:

Nov 11

Haiti: Time To Email And Call Congress

nough.  I’ve been writing for the past week, daily, because I’m concerned that the cholera outbreak in Haiti endangers the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and especially threatens the more than a million Haitians who are living in tents or under tarps in Port au Prince and elsewhere in the country.

This morning’s Miami Herald Editorial captures exactly what needs to be said in the US about this impending public health disaster:

Nov 10

Haiti: Cholera Epidemic Grows

he news from Haiti continues to be simply awful.  The cholera epidemic that started elsewhere has now reached the Haitian capital, Port Au Prince, where it threatens the 1.5 million people who were displaced by the recent earthquake.  “Displaced” is a sanitary way of describing the squalor of terrible living conditions which only foster the spread of the disease.

The epidemic threatens the lives of people who suffered so much in the earthquake and who then survived the rain and flooding caused by Hurricane Tomas.  Even before these natural disasters, Haiti was wracked by hunger, poor infrastructure, high infant mortality, short life span, poverty and disease.  Now weakened people face the onslaught of a cholera epidemic.

Please make the jump.

Nov 09

Haiti: Cholera Found In Port Au Prince

As feared, Cholera appears to have arrived in Port Au Prince, Haiti.  A first confirmed case has now been reported: the 3 year-old child with the disease had not left Port Au Prince.  This outbreak is a major threat to millions of people.  The report:

Oct 31

Haiti: Yet Another Disaster Lurks

Hasn’t Haiti suffered enough?  Centuries of grotesque exploitation and purposeful neglect.  And most recently, the devastating earthquake.  Then an inadequate relief effort that has left thousands and thousands homeless or stuck in makeshift, flimsy camps, without adequate housing, food, medicine or sanitation.  An outbreak of Cholera.  And now, on top of all of that, the unimaginable: a possible Hurricane this week.  And a very big one at that.


The model predicts the storm will make a right turn.  In fact, almost all of the models say it will make a right turn.  And when it does, it will come ashore in Haiti.  This will cause loss of life, flooding, further outbreaks of disease, loss of even temporary shelter, unavailability of food.  A nightmare for those living in Haiti.

I’ve asked before that we contribute to Doctors Without Borders, specifically for Haiti Aid.  Now I’m asking again.  What else can be done?  What else can I or you do?

Money for specialized aid is extremely important.  As important, and perhaps more important in the long run, I think is for US citizens to being to know Haiti’s history and the story of its relationship to the US, in other words, the story of how it got to be the way it is now.  I’m sure we all realize that Haiti didn’t get to its present horrendous situation all by its self, without a lot of US and European “help.”  To ferret how all of this has happened, a great starting point is this dailyKos essay by allie123. It’s part of a series.  Each piece is important on its own.  Please take the time to read them.

For now, though, please consider an immediate, small donation to Doctors Without Borders.  It might save some lives in Haiti.  It might alleviate some of the suffering.

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cross posted from The Dream Antilles

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