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1 UN appeals for nearly $1.5 billion for Haiti

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

Thu Feb 18, 9:03 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations launched a new appeal Thursday for nearly $1.5 billion to help the 3 million Haitians affected by last month’s devastating earthquake, its largest appeal ever for a natural disaster.

The appeal, covering needs in 2010, is more than double the U.N.’s initial request on Jan. 15 for $562 million to help quake victims for six months.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special envoy for Haiti, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, launched the $1.44 billion appeal at a meeting with diplomats from many of the 191 other U.N. member states.

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1 Eight US missionaries arrive in Miami after Haiti release

AFP

Thu Feb 18, 3:49 am ET

MIAMI, Florida (AFP) – Eight of 10 American missionaries who faced child kidnapping charges in Haiti arrived here early Thursday after being freed by a Haitian judge and leaving the quake-devastated nation.

The Miami Herald newspaper reported that the group arrived at Miami International Airport shortly after midnight.

A Haitian judge freed the missionaries without bail on Wednesday — though the charges were not dropped — and they were whisked to the airport in a van bearing diplomatic plates to board a US military transport plane for Miami.

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1 Sarkozy makes aid pledge on historic Haiti trip

by Nadege Puljak, AFP

1 hr 3 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Nicolas Sarkozy became Wednesday the first French president to visit Haiti, vowing to honor historic obligations to France’s former slave colony and promising almost half a billion dollars in quake aid.

“I have come to tell the Haitian people and their leaders that France, which was the first on the ground after the catastrophe, will remain firmly at the their side to help them pick themselves up again and open a new happy page in their history,” Sarkozy said in Port-au-Prince.

Sarkozy announced an aid package of some 326 million euros (446 million dollars) over the next two years, a sum that includes the cancellation of Haiti’s 56-million-euro debt.

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1 Firms scale back from US climate push

by Shaun Tandon, AFP

Tue Feb 16, 9:32 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Three major US companies said they were leaving a coalition pushing for action on climate change, dealing a potential fresh blow to landmark legislation to cut carbon emissions.

The news came on the same day that President Barack Obama announced an eight-billion-dollar drive for nuclear power — part of his controversial bid to bring a diverse coalition behind his efforts for a greener economy.

The three companies — oil groups ConocoPhillips and BP America and equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. — said they backed efforts for a green economy but felt that proposed laws were unfair to them.

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1 Haiti quake far more destructive than 2004 tsunami: study

by M.J. Smith, AFP

1 hr 9 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – The scale of devastation in Haiti is far worse than in Asia after the 2004 tsunami, a study said Tuesday, predicting last month’s quake could be the most destructive disaster in modern history.

The stark assessment from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) comes with Port-au-Prince still lying in ruins more than one month on, while the bodies of more than 200,000 dead pile up in mass graves outside the capital.

The study’s release coincided with what would normally be Haiti’s annual carnival, an explosion of pulsing music and colorful parades. But this year, the events have been cancelled as no one is in the mood to party.

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1 Homeless Haitians line up before dawn for tarps

AFP

Sun Feb 14, 6:49 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Desperate Haitians began lining up well before dawn on Sunday for tarpaulins distributed to those left homeless by last month’s earthquake, although many said they needed tents instead.

With the coming rainy season threatening to worsen already squalid conditions in makeshift camps across the capital, aid organizations have been seeking to distribute tarps for up to 1,500 families per day.

More than a million Haitians are homeless, but a month after the massive quake, UN officials said only about 50,000 families, or an estimated 272,000 people, have received emergency materials to build their own shelters.

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1 Emotional gatherings mark one month since Haiti quake

by Andrew Beatty and M.J. Smith, AFP

Fri Feb 12, 10:23 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haitians gathered at tearful ceremonies in sprawling homeless camps, churches and alleyways to mark one month since a huge quake shattered their country and killed more than 200,000 people.

President Rene Preval, who has rarely appeared in public since the January 12 disaster, spoke emotionally in memory of the victims on Friday, declaring Haiti “will not die” and acknowledging he could not find words to express his pain.

Throughout Port-au-Prince and beyond, Haitians dressed in white or their Sunday best raised their hands in prayer at countless ceremonies, many in camps where more than a million people now live after losing their homes.

This Week In Health and Fitness

Welcome to this week’s Health and Fitness.

I will be traveling most of today. As time permits and access allows, I’ll be “popping in”. I leave Haiti reluctantly but in a few months I will return, mostly in an administrative capacity. I’m headed for New Orleans for a short vacation and then back to NYC. I want to thank everyone here for their support for the Haitian people in there time of extreme need. This is going to be a very long road for recovery if they ever do.

Haiti: Steps Toward Recovery

MSF Haiti, 2/09/10

Jerry is seven years old. On January 12, he was seriously injured in the earthquake that devastated his hometown of Port-au-Prince, suffering a severe open fracture to his femur when his house collapsed.

Jerry’s mother, Louismerre, lost two of her five children in the quake. Determined not to see a third child die, she immediately brought Jerry to a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital for emergency medical care.

MSF staff started Jerry on antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection. He was then taken to an operating theater, where an MSF surgeon performed a debridement of the wound, cleaning it out and removing dead tissue. A few days later, the doctors brought Jerry back so they could examine and clean his injury again. They discovered the infection had not abated and they became extremely concerned that it would spread to the rest of his body, putting his life at risk. They were forced to make a difficult choice. “The wound was very near the groin,” said MSF’s Dr. Karin Lind. “If the infection went above it, there would have been very little we could have done to save him. We knew we had to amputate if we wanted to keep him alive.”

Haiti: Working through the disaster (Feb 11, 2010)

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1 Tears as Haiti marks month since earthquake

by Andrew Beatty and M.J. Smith, AFP

1 hr 34 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Clad in white, hundreds of thousands of Haitians congregated throughout Port-au-Prince Friday for tearful ceremonies to mark one month since a cataclysmic earthquake shattered their country.

In the central Champ de Mars square, where the impact of the 7.0 magnitude temblor is still seen in the sprawling tented camps that now dominate the plaza, people began to gather from before dawn.

Part memorial service, part rally, mourners gave resilient cries of “hallelujah” as others wept for loved ones lost in an event many simply call “the catastrophe.”

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1 Haiti quake toll rises to 217,000

by Andrew Beatty and M.J. Smith, AFP

Wed Feb 10, 7:39 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti raised the death toll Wednesday from last month’s quake above 217,000, while the focus turned to providing shelter for the homeless before heavy rains and the hurricane season come.

“There are people who put forth the figure of 230,000, but we have counted a bit more than 217,000. These are verified figures,” Interior Minister Paul Bien-Aime said.

The government also declared a day of mourning for Friday to mark one month since the quake struck, bringing death and destruction on an unprecedented scale to the desperately poor Caribbean nation.

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1 Damaged Haiti market collapses with people inside

by Andrew Beatty, AFP

1 hr 36 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Rescuers searching for scavengers trapped inside a half-destroyed supermarket when it totally collapsed found no signs of life on Wednesday, as casualties continued to mount from Haiti’s January 12 earthquake.

Sparks lit up the night as workers used heavy-duty saws to cut through tangled steel and concrete in an attempt to reach up to eight people believed to have entered the damaged Caribbean Market building before it came crashing down on Tuesday.

Rescuers earlier thought they had detected at least one person alive inside, and at one point asked for silence so they could listen for survivors using ultra-sensitive listening equipment.

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1 U.S. missionary in Haiti says trusts God to free her

By Joseph Guyler Delva, Reuters

Mon Feb 8, 5:31 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – A Haitian judge made no decision at a hearing on Monday whether to free or prosecute 10 U.S. missionaries accused of kidnapping children, and their leader said she trusted in God they would be cleared and released.

The missionaries, most of whom belong to an Idaho-based Baptist church, were arrested last month trying to take 33 Haitian children across the border to the Dominican Republic 17 days after a magnitude 7 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

They were charged last week with child abduction and criminal association. Hearings that could lead either to their release or a decision to move ahead with prosecution were scheduled to resume on Tuesday and a judicial source said a ruling was unlikely before Wednesday.

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