Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Notes on the Election

This commentary comes from a well respected journalist and author who has been monitoring Haiti for years.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Notes from the field in Haiti

This provided by a medical worker

Notes From The EpiCenter: We Are Out Of... Everything
I am sad to report that things have worsened significantly and in 3 camps (St. Marc being the hardest hit that I have seen yet) have 76 known cholera deaths and 1,709 confirmed cases. The death toll of 76, I received yesterday from [REDACTED] was the count over approximately (the last) ten days in one camp. There are many more deaths from other camps and although some of us traveling to the rural areas are trying to remain in contact, it is nearly impossible. We are out of ORS - oral rehydration solution, pedialyte, IV fluids and tubing -- everything. The situation in the tent camps/cities is already full of unspeakable horrors and now for those with cholera the sight is just gruesome.

The rural camps, hardest hit by cholera are in the worst situation because there is NO relief aid presence and no UN presence. During this last trip it would take almost 5 hours to drive from St. Marc back to Port au Prince to try and secure supplies. We are purchasing ORS, water, and pedialyte (now absent from stores because we are buying so much of it). [REDACTED] gave me 10 cases of pedialyte and some other supplies, which is all they could afford because they feared an outbreak in Port au Prince. Finally, after running out of medications, fluids, etc. and being turned away from most all sources for medical supplies, including the UN, there was no way to help those suffering from cholera. It was simply too difficult to watch another baby die of dehydration and I came home to recover from the worst week I'd experienced in Haiti since the earthquake.

I cannot begin to explain how much worse the situation is in Haiti and how there is very little coordination of any relief aid or the NGO's. The following is the mission statement of the UN for its mission in Haiti. It is not being carried out now during this cholera outbreak and has not been carried out since the earthquake, which is more than a failure to the Haitian people.

"The mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors."

I have shared all my findings with the CDC in order to give them as much data as I can gather for their investigators. I have also given our findings to the MOH and OCHA - mainly for informational purposes because I've given up the hope of obtaining necessary supplies. I wish the news was better and sadly the deaths will continue because there is little to no support available for those providers in rural areas. There is very little available in the way of supplies even in the larger cities now facing patients with cholera. I am contacting organizations here at home to try and get the ORS, which comes in small packets, donated so I can take it back on my next trip.

Again, for everyone attending today's demonstration - thank you and it is with much appreciation that people are standing up to demand accountability for Haiti. There are not words in any language to describe life for her people or the heart wrenching feeling watching them die of neglect and indifference. It is why I continue asking the question, "When does indifference become a crime against humanity."

I will be attending the January 8th demonstration and sadly, I do not expect to have better news - I expect it will continue to worsen. Please know that I have spoken with [REDACTED] and several of my friends, this morning to tell them about your demonstration - and they send their love, appreciation, and prayers to each of you on behalf of the Haitian people.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

UN source of Cholera?

Cholera outbreak UN responsability?

Cholera is excreted in the feces and vomit. The contagion can be found in feces for up to 50 days, on glass for up to a month, on coins for a week, in soil or dust for up to 16 days, and on fingertips for 1 to 2 hours

That is the bad news.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Protests across Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Nov 16, 2010 (IPS) – “People are going to take the body to MINUSTAH to show them what they did,” Jean-Luc Surfin told IPS by phone as riots erupted against Haiti’s U.N. peacekeeping force on Monday in the northern city of Cap-Haitien.

Surfin, a 24-year-old bank teller, said he walked by a young man lying dead in the street blocks away from his home, who bystanders said was shot by peacekeeping troops.

At least two protesters have been reported killed, one shot in the back, a local official told the media. U.N. troops say they acted in self-defence.

“I think the people are frustrated right now. That’s why they’re all over the street. They say they’re going to fight to the death,” Surfin told IPS.

He said demonstrators erected barricades in the street and pelted troops with stones and bottles. Two police stations were set on fire.

Protests were reported in the cities of Hinche and Gonaives in Haiti’s cholera-ravaged central region as well. Radio Levekanpe in Hinche reported that protesters tried to leave the coffin of a man who died of cholera in front of the city’s UN peacekeeping base.

Demonstrators blame foreign peacekeepers for introducing the infectious disease into the country. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says the strain of cholera bacteria spreading in Haiti matches the one endemic in South Asia.

An estimated 200,000 people could be sickened before the epidemic is brought under control, an effort that could take up to six months.

The outbreak has killed over 900 people, just two weeks before scheduled elections.

“It’s a tradition in Haiti to have violence before the elections,” MINUSTAH spokesman Vincenzo Pugliese told IPS. “People are confused, scared, and I think at this time people can be manipulated in one direction or another.”

“Basically MINUSTAH and cholera are in politics now, it’s being exploited,” he said, but declined to name any individual or group responsible.

“Someone is behind it. The population doesn’t have the means to communicate with each other and set up something this way. There’s someone behind this to motivate people to do this. Clearly, it’s part of a plan,” Pugliese said.

Anger at U.N. troops has simmered and boiled over into protests several times since the body of teenaged Gerard Jean Gilles was found hanging from a tree inside a Cap-Haitien peacekeeping base in late August.

Days later, a peacekeeping patrol responded with tear gas after being bombarded with stones. One soldier was injured, according to an internal U.N. report.

Seventeen civil society organisations authored an open letter to the head of MINUSTAH requesting an independent inquiry and condemning what they called “your decision to obstruct Haitian justice in this case”.

MINUSTAH spokesperson Pugliese told IPS the peacekeeping force’s internal investigation found that Gilles committed suicide.

In the middle of a street in Champs de Mars, the faint smell of burnt rubber wafted from the charred remains of two tires. Students at the Faculty of Ethnology said they burned the tires and threw rocks at UN vehicles in a solidarity protest.

IPS reported in May that peacekeeping troops responded to student protests with warning shots, rubber bullets, and over 30 canisters of tear gas that caused injuries in the tent camps in the plaza.

But this time, according to students, the peacekeeping patrol “took off.” Pugliese said he could neither confirm nor deny.

Students said more protests against UN peacekeepers are being planned for the near future.

“We protested for the same reason that people in Cap [Haitien] and Hinche are protesting. They say MINUSTAH are the ones who gave us cholera. It’s the government that’s irresponsible,” Lucien Joseph told IPS.

“Until now so many people have died. There’s been no serious response… All of them, the whole country, is going to stand up and demand MINUSTAH leave,” he said.

-- Ansel Herz, journalist
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
+509 3607 3401

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tomas hits Haiti

Hurricane adds to Haiti¹s woes, 4 dead in floods
Associated Press, By JONATHAN M. KATZ, November 6, 2010 12:48

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ‹ Hurricane Tomas flooded camps of earthquake
refugees, turning some into squalid islands Friday as it battered Haiti¹s
rural western tip, while largely sparing the vast homeless encampments in
the shattered capital.

Aid workers rushed to guard against the spread of disease as the storm moved
into the region where thousands are infected with cholera.

Driving 85 mph winds and a lashing storm surge battered Leogane, a seaside
town west of Port-au-Prince that was 90 percent destroyed in the Jan. 12

In one refugee camp, dozens of families carried their belongings through
thigh-high floodwaters to a taxi stand on higher ground, huddling under
blankets and a sign that read ³Welcome to Leogane.²

³We got flooded out and we¹re just waiting for the storm to pass. There¹s
nothing we can do,² said Johnny Joseph, a 20-year-old resident.

Four deaths were confirmed by Haitian officials, all people attempting to
cross rivers by car or on foot in the mountainous region to the west of
Leogane, on Haiti¹s far southwestern tip. Two more people were missing in

Tomas had earlier killed at least 14 people in the eastern Caribbean. On
Friday it came ashore as a Category 1 hurricane, pummeling Haiti¹s southern
peninsula, before moving on to the rest of the country, eastern Cuba and the

It could be days before the storm¹s impact is known as reports filter in
from isolated mountain towns cut off by the flooding. But as officials took
stock and aid workers rushed to contain flood damage and the widening
cholera epidemic, the storm left harsh reminders of poverty¹s toll on the
Caribbean nation.

³We have two catastrophes that we are managing. The first is the hurricane
and the second is cholera,² President Rene Preval told the nation in a
television and radio address.

He could have included a third. Ten months after the magnitude-7 earthquake
shook the capital to the ground, the devastation can still be seen in scores
of collapsed buildings and sprawling refugee camps.

The disasters mingled in Leogane, where milky brown floodwaters filled
quake-cracked streets and cut off a camp that was home to hundreds of

³We have an assessment team there now and there¹s a couple towns that have
been damaged from some flooding and some wind damage,² said Steve McAndrew,
head of operations for the American Red Cross.

The storm¹s center was about 140 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince, where a
thick gray canopy of clouds hung over the capital and a steady downpour
turned streets into flowing canals that carried garbage through the city.

Haitian authorities had urged the 1.3 million Haitians left homeless by the
earthquake to leave the camps and go to the homes of friends and family.
Buses were sent to take those who wanted to evacuate to shelters.

But many chose to stay, fearing they would come back to find that they had
been evicted from the private land where they have been camped out since the
quake, living in donated plastic tarps, or that their few possessions would
be stolen before they returned.

A near-riot broke out amid a poorly coordinated relocation effort at the
government¹s flagship camp at Corail-Cesselesse when residents began
overturning tables and throwing bottles to protest what they saw as a forced

Cholera and the elections


Cholera spreading, affecting election campaigns in Haiti
The Miami Herald, JACQUELINE CHARLES/MIAMI HERALD STAFF Posted on Wednesday,

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- First presidential hopeful Michel `Sweet Micky'
Martelly asked for a dayslong campaign truce. Then, opponent Jude Célestin
announced that he was temporarily suspending all radio and TV ads, and
called on his opponents to follow.

Now, Leslie Voltaire is asking to postpone the Nov. 28 election.

A deadly outbreak of cholera in an already earthquake-wracked Haiti has
become one more complication in a nation still grappling with the effects of
the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake that left an estimated 300,000 Haitians
dead and at least 1.5 million Haitians living underneath tents and tarps.

As campaign jingles continue to play on local radios and three presidential
candidates taped a televised debate Wednesday morning, Haiti health
officials reported that after days of successfully containing the epidemic
to the rural valley where it first broke last week, cholera had finally

Officials said 174 cases had been confirmed in the city of Arcahia, a
small rural village 20 miles north of Port-au-Prince. There were also
suspected cases in nearby Cabaret, and they were investigating reports in
Cité Soleil, a slum in the capital not far from the main international

The waterborne bacterial infection had killed 303 Haitians, including
five in Arcahia, and hospitalized 4,722 Haitians, the government said late

``It's encroaching, and we are taking measures,'' said Dr. Ariel Henry,
the chief of cabinet for the Ministry of Health. ``We are training people on
the ground to give out oral rehydration salts. We are putting in place
cholera treatment centers. We are also doing a big effort all over the
country with 50,000 people. We are training them, and we are preparing to
deploy them.''

The health ministry has not asked for a delay of the vote, but it has
asked candidates to refrain from holding rallies in cholera-affected
communities. For some like Voltaire, an urban planner who is among the 19
presidential candidates seeking to replace President René Préval, that is
not good enough.

``The vote should happen when the World Health Organization says it is
contained, or when the [Provisional Electoral Council] says this election
will not use rallies,'' Voltaire said.

So far, neither the WHO, which is working alongside Haitian health
officials to contain the epidemic, nor the electoral council charged with
putting on the elections has called for a postponement out of public health

Gaillot Dorsinvil, president of the council, told The Miami Herald the
fate of the elections is up to the government, and as far as the council was
concern, the vote was moving ahead as scheduled.

That message was reiterated Wednesday in Washington when the diplomat
leading a joint Organization of American States/Caribbean Community
observation mission reported that ``the electoral process is progressing
steadily toward 28 November.''

``The political environment is more reassuring with the increasing
participation of parties, political platforms and candidates who initially
intended to boycott the elections,'' said Colin Granderson, who is also the
assistant secretary general of CARICOM.

Still, Granderson conceded that the evolution of the cholera outbreak and
its potential impact on the process remain a concern.

Célestin, who participated in the televised debate Wednesday in which the
question of cholera was raised but not possible postponement of the
elections, said he's not seeking a delay.

Rather, he believes that Haitians should not have their attentions
divided while the government and international humanitarian community scale
up a massive prevention and public education campaign, alerting Haitians on
how they can save themselves from a disease that kills within hours when not
treated in time.

``The population should not have to listen to campaign jingles while
people are dying,'' said Célestin, tapped by Préval to succeed him. ``To see
candidates put posters in a hospital in Mirebalais where people are dying,
it's sad.''

Martelly also complained about how some candidates are trying to
politicize the epidemic to their benefit, wearing campaign T-shirts and
vehicles as they visit the sick. He's disappointed, he said, that his
request has fallen on deaf ears.

``We need to start working together even though we may be different
candidates,'' he said. ``At the end of the day, Haiti must be the

Not everyone favors a pause. Lawyer Jean-Henry Céant, who debated Célestin,
said the elections should continue as planned. Sen. Youri Latortue, whose
coalition is supporting longtime opposition leader Mirlande Manigat, also
wants to see the schedule maintain. Manigat had a slight lead over Célestin
in a recent poll.

``We are entering into this election under difficult circumstances, but
we cannot leave the country without a government,'' said Latortue, who on
Tuesday summoned the health minister to a session to get a report on the
government's efforts. ``We have a lot of problems to resolve. We already do
not have any money. Each time you postpone the date that is money.''

Observers say even if no decision is taken on the election, how the
government handles the outbreak could influence the outcome of the vote in
what is emerging as a competitive race. Though Célestin is neck-and-neck
with Manigat in the most recent poll, he is trailing in a number of
quake-battered cities, including the capital where observers say he's being
hurt by the government's often-criticized handling of the quake response.

``If the management of the outbreak is not well-handled, it may
jeopardize the government's image or any one associated with the actual
management and government,'' said Gregory Brandt, president of the
Haiti-French Chamber of Commerce.

Rosny Desroche said he doesn't see how the government can escape

"People are suffering. Either way, the government will be held
responsible,'' he said.

But Reginald Boulos, the chairman of the Economic Forum of the Private
Sector, which commissioned the poll, said cholera could also be a chance for
the Préval government to redeem itself.

``The earthquake was a negative for the government because they didn't
react appropriately,'' he said. ``It could turn out to be a positive thing
if they manage it well; if they show leadership, and compassion in the
people. Or it can be a downfall for them if again there is lack of
coordination and waste of money, and people are dying.''

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tears, please

I myself am out of tears

I would appreciate the tears of others

As I believe that they cleanse the wounds

see here

Report on Tomas

Associated Press
Hurricane Tomas floods quake-shattered town
By JACOB KUSHNER , 11.05.10, 11:11 AM EDT

LEOGANE, Haiti -- Hurricane Tomas flooded the earthquake-shattered remains of a Haitian town on Friday, forcing families who had already lost their homes in one disaster to flee another. In the country's capital, quake refugees resisted calls to abandon flimsy tarp and tent camps.

Driving winds and storm surge battered Leogane, a seaside town west of Port-au-Prince that was near the epicenter of the Jan. 12 earthquake and was 90 percent destroyed. Dozens of families in one earthquake-refuge camp took their belongings through thigh-high water to a taxi post on high ground, waiting out the rest of the storm under blankets and a sign that read "Welcome to Leogane."

"We got flooded out and we're just waiting for the storm to pass. There's nothing we can do," said Johnny Joseph, a 20-year-old resident.

The growing hurricane with 85 mph (140 kph) winds, was battering the western tip of Haiti's southern peninsula and the cities of Jeremie and Les Cayes.

One man drowned while trying to ford a river in an SUV in the rural area of Grand-Anse, said civil protection official Pierre Andre. The hurricane had earlier killed at least 14 people in the eastern Caribbean.

The center of the storm was about 140 miles (230 kilometers) west of from Port-au-Prince, draping charcoal clouds over the city. Steady rain turned the streets of the capital into flowing canals that carried garbage through the city. Farther north in Gonaives, a coastal city twice inundated by recent tropical storms, police evacuated more than 200 inmates from one prison to another.

Aid workers are concerned the storm will worsen Haiti's cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 440 people and hospitalized more than 6,700 others.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted dangerous storm surges along the coast and possible flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.

Haiti's civil protection department had urged people living in camps for the 1.3 million Haitians made homeless by the Jan. 12 earthquake to go to the homes of friends and family.

By evening it was clear most camp residents were not heeding the advice. People in the yard of a high school on the Delmas 33 thoroughfare in Port-au-Prince said their camp's governing committee had passed along the official advice to leave, but they decided to stockpile water and tie down their tents instead.

Buses began circulating around the camps just after dark Thursday night to take residents away, but few were willing to go. Four civil protection buses that pulled up at a camp in the Canape-Vert district left with about five passengers on them.

Many camp residents stayed put out of fear they would lose their few possessions and, worse, be denied permission to return when the storm was over.

"I'm scared that if I leave they'll tear this whole place down. I don't have money to pay for a home somewhere else," said Clarice Napoux, 21, who lives with her boyfriend on a soccer field behind the St. Therese church in Petionville. They lost their house to the quake and their only income is the little she makes selling uncooked rice, beans and dry goods.

Late Thursday, Tomas passed to the east of Jamaica, where schools remained closed and public transportation was stalled on Friday as the island struggled with widespread flooding from a previous storm.

Patrice Edmond, a maid who caught a ride into Kingston, said buses were not operating.

"I barely got a drive to come over, but I'm a determined person," she said.

Tomas was expected to advance on through the strait that divides Haiti from Cuba.

Ninety miles (150 kilometers) northwest of the storm's eye at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay in southeastern Cuba, the military cleared away any debris that could fly off in strong winds, suspended flights, canceled school and closed the harbor to recreational craft.

Tomas was moving to the north-northeast at about 12 mph (19 kph) and tropical-storm-force winds extended as far as 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the center.

Forecasters warned of a dangerous storm surge that would generate "large and destructive waves" and raise water levels up to 3 feet (nearly 1 meter) above normal tide levels. It also predicted rainfall of 5 to 10 inches (12 to 25 centimeters) for much of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola.

Port-au-Prince's airport was expected to be closed through Friday, American Airlines ( AMR - news - people ) spokeswoman Mary Sanderson said.

Most of Haiti's post-quake homeless live under donated plastic tarps on open fields. It is often private land, where they have been constantly fighting eviction. A September report from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 29 percent of 1,268 camps studied had been closed forcibly, meaning the often violent relocation of tens of thousands of people.

Haitian human-rights lawyer Mario Joseph, who testified on behalf of those evicted before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights this summer, said he fears the government is using the storm as an excuse to drive people off disputed land.

"I think it's going to be a time of eviction," he said. He said he has advised people who know they are at risk for floods, landslides and wind damage to stay in buildings near the camp and return to their squatters' sites as soon as possible after the storm.

Reconstruction has barely begun and even the building of transitional shelters - sturdier than makeshift tents, but not solid houses - has been slow. Large installments of long-term funds, including a promised $1.15 billion from the United States, have not arrived. The State Department now says it still has to prove the money won't be stolen or misused.

As rebuilding lags, the United Nations and aid groups have been giving people reasons to stay in camps, providing aid and essential services such as medicine. That continued Thursday as residents reluctant to leave were given reinforcing tarps and other materials.

"We have always said that the best way to protect people in camps is to make camps as resistant as possible to any weather," said Imogen Wall, spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "(Evacuation) doesn't make sense ... on a practical level, on a large scale."

Residents of the nearly 8,000-person government relocation camp at Corail-Cesselesse threw bottles at aid workers trying to get them to leave their ShelterBox tents for schools, churches and an abandoned prison nearby.

"If we go away, other people are going to move in our place! We want to stay here because we don't have another place to go," said 29-year-old Roland Jean.

The camp's grounds were designed by U.S. military engineers and graded by the United Nations. But the selection of the site has been criticized by aid groups: The desert plain nine miles (15 kilometers) north of the city constantly floods and suffers wind damage.

Camp officials finally resolved the dispute and several hundred people left Thursday afternoon on trucks provided by U.N. peacekeepers. An AP reporter found that while the school, church and abandoned hospital chosen as shelters for them were large and undamaged, they had no water or usable toilets.

Tomas killed at least 14 people when it slammed the eastern Caribbean country of St. Lucia as a hurricane Saturday. It will cost roughly $500 million to repair flattened banana fields, destroyed houses, broken bridges and eroded beaches on the island, according to Prime Minister Stephenson King.

A hurricane warning was issued for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, on the storm's path once it emerges from the strait between Haiti and Cuba.

In Little Inagua Island, the owners of the island's only grocery store brought in extra supplies this week to ensure no one would be short of food or plywood.

"It was a mad rush," said Father Glover, 27, a priest at St. Philips' Anglican Church in Matthew Town, the island's only settlement. "A lot of people have been battering down the hatches and securing their homes."

The airport in Turks and Caicos closed on Friday as tourists walked outside and observed the gathering storm clouds.

"It's a shame that we can't enjoy the stuff that we came here to do, but we are still going to stay," said Shelly Schulz, 37, of New York state, who arrived four days ago with her husband and three children.

Associated Press television producer Chris Gillette in Croix-des-Bouquets, writers Jonathan M. Katz and Evens Sanon in Port-au-Prince, Megan Reynolds in Nassau, Bahamas, Howard Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica, Vivian Tyson in Turks and Caicos Islands contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Words of Wisdom

This posted on DR1.com, the English message board for the Dominican Republic, by Mike Fisher, a German charter sport fishing boat captain, who works out of Punta Cana. Mike is our resident weather expert. He writes here in English, which is his third language.

as Sad as that Outlook looks like,
and Yes, it is really as said as it looks,
it is also since many years nothing New, been that far before Tomas, far before the september Storm, far before the Quake.
let's face the Facts:
last Month People Died in haiti due ""Floodings"" of a simple average October Rain, no Storm, no out of the ordinary weather, no Quake, simple Rain, and sorrily that is a monthly ocurrance all around the Year.
the Country is in Need to changes things with or without help from the outside since a Hundred Years, many Billions of Aid flew down the haitian Rivers since then.
the Result:
in 1979 Cat3 Hurricane David blew over the Island without taking reported Lifes there, haiti still had 25% of It's Forrestation alive.
just 25 years later, in 2004, by then only 1.4% of Haiti's Forrestation alive, barely a Treecrowd to spot on a Sat Shot, the weak Tropical Storms jeanne and Gordon went through, Jeanne alone took over 3000 Lifes!!! and all solely due the Floods and Mudslides, nobody been blown away from a windforce or such.

building Tent Cities to let some hundred Thousands survive a few months longer will not solve a thing in Haiti,
give those People something effordable to cook with other than WOOD,
get those Hills Reforrested or for Each Tree not Planted 100 Humans will Die.
a simple Cicle that proofs to be fact in Haiti since Decades,
but TreePlanting Maybe still seen as a Job for Greenpeace and Treehuggers, not suitable for the Comfo Saloons of Politicians when holding their Big Speechs.
In Haiti People DIE due a simple October or November or X-mas or what ever Month/Day Rain.
Now we are talking about any Country's biggest Nightmare on approach,
and No Time to plant a Tree before Tomas Rains down on 'em,
there is not even any evacuation running due leak of a place where to go to.
it's the good ole tactics:
Run as fast as You Can,
if that's not fast enough,
Run Faster!

Tomas is actually predicted to Track trough the channel between jamaica and the SW'ern Tip of the Haitian Peninsula, Tracking NNE through the Channel between SE Cuba and NW Haiti, with a slight tought on the Haitian SW and again on the Pass NW. such could leave due the widespreading Rainfalls there 1-3K Names on the final List.
IF Tomas passes Western Haiti 50-70 miles more East of that Track, by far within the Cone of Uncertainties, the List will write easily in 5 Figures Numbers for Haiti alone.
but I guess Today's World Economy does not allow for Mayor Forrestation Programs.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bracing for a big one

Fear of looming hurricane grips Haitian quake camps
Reuters, By Matthew Bigg, Nov 2, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - How do you prepare a tent to stand up to a

That is the question faced by hundreds of thousands of Haitian earthquake
survivors living in fragile outdoor camps who are bracing for a hurricane
forecast to hit the poor, stricken Caribbean country over the weekend.

"This camp won't stand up to a big wind," said Jean Sincio, a coordinator
for a camp of flimsy tents built in the grounds of a school. It is one of
hundreds of tent and tarpaulin settlements in the wrecked capital
Port-au-Prince housing more than 1.3 million people left homeless by the
January 12 quake.

Tropical Storm Tomas hit the Caribbean's eastern islands as a hurricane
three days ago, killing five people in St. Lucia before weakening. It is
seen gathering force again to batter Haiti and Jamaica on Friday,
forecasters said.

This has triggered another national emergency for the Western Hemisphere's
poorest nation, which lost more than a quarter of a million people to the
earthquake and is now also battling a cholera epidemic that has killed more
than 300.

"Normally in Haiti we are not adequately prepared for this type of
catastrophe, but this time people are even more fragile," said Jamson
Charles, a local leader at the Acra 2 camp that climbs one of
Port-au-Prince's many steep hills.

With United Nations aid officials fearing an hours-long battering from
Tomas, volunteers have been clearing trash from drainage ditches to allow
floodwater to disperse more easily.

But the Acra 2 camp's tents, like most in the capital, are made of tarpaulin
tacked to a thin wooden frame, flimsy at the best of times and no match for
a hurricane.

A full-scale evacuation of the more than a million camp dwellers is
impossible -- there is simply not enough existing secure shelter where they
can be transferred to -- so Haitian authorities are urging camp residents
who can do so to seek safer refuge with family and friends who have solid

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tomas, which was carrying top
sustained winds of 40 miles per hour, could regain hurricane strength by

On Tuesday evening, the storm was about 385 miles from Port-au-Prince and
moving west across the Caribbean Sea. It was expected to turn northwest in
the next two days on a track that could pose a "significant threat" to
Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the hurricane center said.


Underlining the quake survivors' vulnerability, a storm in September killed
at least six people, injured 70 and destroyed or damaged the tent homes of
more than 10,000 families. Floods and mudslides in mid-October killed 10
more people.

The United Nations and aid agencies, already stretched by the still
spreading cholera epidemic, have launched a major logistics operation to
prepare for the hurricane, rushing food, medicine and shelter materials to
the camps and to coastal communities seen at risk from storm surge or

Disaster-prone Haiti is regularly battered by tropical storms. Four struck
the country in quick succession in 2008, killing hundreds and forcing
residents of Gonaives on the west coast to live on their roofs for weeks
when the town flooded.

In the capital's Petionville Golf Club quake survivors' camp, camp leaders
were urging residents to keep away from ravines that rain could turn into
raging torrents.

Many camp residents said they did not have any money to stock up on
provisions after months being unable to finds jobs after the earthquake,
which crippled the Haitian economy.

"Yes, we have heard of the hurricane but I haven't done anything to prepare.
There's nothing much I can do without money," said seamstress Emma Augustin,
who lost four of her 10 children in the earthquake. She lives in a temporary
camp of around 5,000 people set up in the grounds of the prime minister's
residence on a hillside.

"The state has basically ceased to exist since January 12th," said Yves-Mary
Sopin, a camp leader there. "If there is a hurricane here, people will cry.
They will pray and maybe they will run to the Red Cross tent."

But after the traumatizing experience of the quake, in which victims were
crushed in falling buildings, many were still frightened about the idea of
sheltering in buildings.

"If there is a hurricane, people will run to the school, but of course
people are afraid of concrete after the earthquake," said the school camp
coordinator Sincio.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Paid Internship Available

Post: Program Monitor
Project: Women’s Empowerment in Border Regions of Haiti
Location: Anse-a-Pitres, Haiti
Starting: February 2011
Duration: 12 months (renewable up to 24 months)
Reports To: Sr. Program Officer
Summary: Employee monitors grant performance via on-site inspection and regularly communicates observations to HQ management (via Skype/email). Monitor conducts periodic visits to targeted communes to observe trainers, women’s groups and partner organizations; communicating program-related observations to Sr. Program Officer; and preparing written reports regarding program activities (as directed by HQ). Monitor is expected to become immediately familiar with BRA’s agreement with USAID, contractual activities, performance indicators, benchmarks and schedules under this USAID program. Monitor is also expected to share information with Program Coordinator, and assist Program Coordinator with other tasks when possible.
· Work with Sr. Program Officer (US), Program Coordinator and local partners to launch program
· Help Program Coordinator collect key project data and transmit (in ENGLISH) to Sr. Program Officer to write quarterly reports
· Conduct on-site visits to observe and document program activities
· Design and maintain reports to monitor USAID performance indicators
· Attend training sessions and document results on USAID TraiNet (TBD)
· Test training clients on comprehension and training efficacy
· Attend forums and document presentations and interaction
· Conduct in-home visits with clients to measure program impact
· Document development activities of regional program partners
· Document entrepreneurial activities of microfinance clients
· Prepare quarterly recommendations for activity improvement
· Other tasks as assigned by Sr. Program Officer
Skills: Excellent verbal communication with local population and colleagues
Report writing per instructions
Computer proficient
Requirements: College graduate. Some experience traveling/living overseas. Live in Haiti (Anse-a-Pitres) or Pedernales (Dominican Republic)
Language: English-speaking (must). Haitian Creole and/or French
Contact: Submit resumes to Ulrick Gaillard at ugaillard@bateyrelief.org

Friday, October 29, 2010

Haitian mothers cared for in Dominican Republic

Haitian Mothers Find Care in Dominican Republic, but Future Is Bleak

Elizabeth Eames Roebling

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Oct 29 (IPS) - In the spacious lobby of the Nuestra Señora de Altagracia maternity hospital, more than a hundred people wait quietly in chairs, overlooked by a 20-foot-high coloured mosaic inset portraying the patron saint of the Dominican Republic.

One of three public maternity hospitals in the capital, with 270 beds, 300 attending physicians and 100 residents, it is the best-equipped in the country and the birthplace of over 12 percent of all babies born in the Dominican Republic. It receives referrals of mothers at risk from all regional hospitals.

The Department of Public Health reports that of the 36,606 babies born in the country during the first half of this year, 16 percent were born to Haitian mothers. The catastrophic earthquake that devastated Haiti's infrastructure in January has not only driven expectant mothers across the border, but doctors say many of those births are riskier due to trauma and a lack of prenatal care.

Charlyn Misdave, holding her baby of a month old, speaks only Kreyole, like many of the Haitian women who come here. This presents a grave problem for the doctors at the hospital.

"I lost everything," she told IPS. "That is why I came here after the earthquake. My baby is a month old. I paid 500 pesos ($13) for the delivery. I can bring him in for check- ups but they do not give me any medicine or any supplies for him."

The Dominican Republic usually spends the equivalent of $10 million a year on health services for Haitians here, the bulk of it on maternity care. This year, the department estimates that the health services delivered to Haitians will be closer to $27 million.

Dressed in a crisp white coat, Dr. Veronica de la Rosa, assistant director of the hospital, told IPS, "We ask for a token payment of 700 pesos ($19) for a normal delivery and 1,000 pesos ($27) for a caesarian birth. If it is a normal delivery, a woman stays here a day or less. But if there are complications, it can be five days or more."

"Since the earthquake, we have more mothers who are staying longer since they are coming with pathologies," she said. "This is using up a larger portion of our budget since we generally have to use our social services budget for these patients as they come with nothing."

Just under a third of the hospital's beds are occupied by Haitian mothers, she said.

"With these patients, we are also managing cases with a much higher degree of risk. Here [in the Dominican Republic] we have prenatal care and some control over the poorest sectors of our population. We do not have this control over foreigners as they come over here directly," De la Rosa explained.

Of every six patients in intensive care, four of them are Haitian, she said.

"From 32 to 37 percent of our births here are delivered by Caesarian," De la Rosa added. "This depends on the number of patients who are HIV-positive. For these women, caesarians are used to prevent the vertical transmission of the virus [to the infant] during birth."

While many of the Haitian mothers are long-time residents of the Dominican Republic, others cross the border specifically to give birth and are referred here from regional hospitals in the border areas of Elias Pina, Bani and Barahona. Cases from the northern border region are referred to hospitals in Santiago.

"We can tell the difference between Haitians who live here in the country and those who come directly over the border as residents usually have an address and a better command of Spanish. Also they usually come with a family member," De la Rosa said.

Upstairs, in the recovery rooms of 20 beds each, Haitian and Dominican mothers lie in neighbouring beds with their newborns. Some have intravenous drips attached to their arms. Teams of residents sweep through each ward, filling out charts and instructing medical students.

The only difference between the mothers is the colour of the birth registration document that is sent to the Dominican government. Several years ago, the Dominican Republic introduced a separate birth registry for children of foreigners and for those who are considered to be here "in transit", which includes the majority of Haitians.

Dr. De La Rosa explained the process. "All births are registered with the Junta Electoral of the Dominican government. Foreigners who give birth here are registered in a special book, called the Libra Rosada. The mothers are given a copy of these papers, but it is up to them to go there and register their babies with their own governments to get their proper papers."

"This book is for all foreigners, not just Haitians, but it is true that about 98 percent of the foreigners who give birth here are Haitians," she noted.

Citizenship rights, particularly for Haitian migrants, have been the subject of ongoing international controversy. The new constitution approved a year ago maintained the wording barring automatic citizenship for those born here of parents of foreign diplomats or "in transit", and added the words "or those who are in this country illegally".

However, it did extend citizenship to those born here who do not have the rights of citizenship in any other nation, clearing up a matter of statelessness for many grandchildren of Haitians. Under the Haitian constitution, one may only claim citizenship if one's parents are born in Haiti.

The Dominican Republic is no longer giving direct assistance to Haiti, but Deputy Rafaela Albuquerque, a former Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, says that public health expenditures have become a form of de facto aid to the stricken neighbour.

"We do not actually have a budget line for helping Haiti. There was discretionary spending for the disaster which President Leonel Fernandez requested and the Congress approved," she said. "Our president speaks of Haiti in all his international encounters, particularly in front of the U.N. He recently spoke there of the rains and how the people are living in tents and are suffering greatly."

"Our general budget has a line item for public health which is distributed among all the public hospitals. This budget was not designed to aid any other country," she said. "It is a form of humanitarian aid that the Dominican Republic helps Haiti in this way. The Dominican Republic has never asked for reimbursement for this money."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cholera update

24 Oct 2010 00:05:42 GMT

* Five sick in capital came from infected central zone

* Capital's slums, earthquake survivor camps vulnerable

* Aid agencies increase prevention, surveillance steps

* Biggest medical crisis in Haiti since Jan. 12 quake (Recasts with
confirmation of cases found in the capital)

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The death toll from a cholera
epidemic in Haiti topped 200 on Saturday and fears of it propagating in
the crowded, earthquake-ravaged capital increased after five cases were
detected in the city.

U.N. officials stressed that the five cases, the first confirmed in the
capital since the epidemic started, were people who had become infected
in the main outbreak zone of Artibonite north of Port-au-Prince and had
subsequently traveled to the city where they fell sick.

"They were very quickly diagnosed and isolated," U.N. humanitarian
spokeswoman Imogen Wall told Reuters, citing information from Haitian
health authorities. "This is not a new location of infection."

But prevention measures and surveillance were being increased in
Port-au-Prince, with its squalid sprawling slums and about 1.3 million
survivors of the Jan. 12 earthquake packed into tent and tarpaulin
camps. All are highly vulnerable to a virulent diarrheal disease like

With more than 2,600 cholera cases reported and experts predicting the
numbers will rise, Haitian and international medical teams are working
desperately to isolate and contain the epidemic in the Artibonite and
Central Plateau regions, north of the rubble-strewn capital.

It is the worst medical emergency to strike the poor, disaster-prone
Caribbean nation since the earthquake killed up to 300,000 people and
is also the first cholera epidemic in Haiti in a century.

Haitian health officials told a news conference on Saturday that 194
people had died from cholera in the Artibonite region, the main
outbreak zone, with 14 other deaths in neighboring Central Plateau,
where a prison was among places affected.

The total number of cases had reached 2,674.

Cholera, transmitted by contaminated water and food, can kill in hours
if left untreated, through dehydration. But it can be treated easily
with oral rehydration salts or just a simple mix of water, sugar and
salt. TV and radio adds in Creole recommended that treatment to the

Besides rushing doctors, medicine and water supplies to the affected
areas, Wall said the U.N. and aid agencies were identifying sites in
Port-au-Prince where any cholera patients could be treated in tent
clinics, separate from hospitals.

"If we have cases in Port-au-Prince, the only way to contain them is to
isolate them," Wall said.

"Obviously, preventing the disease spreading to the city is an
absolutely paramount concern right now," she said.


Daniel Rouzier, chairman of the Board of Trustees of U.S.-based charity
Food for the Poor, earlier told Reuters he had learned of the five
cholera cases at private clinics in the capital. "It was not originally
in the geographical area of the camps. Now it is," he said.

Rouzier, whose charity has sent water purification units to the
cholera-infected central zones, faulted the Haitian government and its
aid partners for not moving quickly and effectively enough to contain
and isolate the epidemic.

"Right now, it's been over 72 hours. There is no safety cordon," he
said. "If the sick had the proper healthcare where they were, they
wouldn't have come to this chaotic city."

Aid workers in the town of Saint-Marc, in the heart of the Artibonite
outbreak zone, have reported the main local hospital overflowing with
patients, many lying outside in the compound hooked up to intravenous

Haiti is due to hold presidential and legislative elections on Nov. 28
but it is not clear whether the epidemic could threaten the
organization of the vote.

In the crowded camps that fill squares, streets, parks and even a golf
course in Port-au-Prince, fears of contracting the disease are running

"All we can do is pray to God because if we catch this disease in these
camps, it will be a real disaster," said Helen Numa, 35. "You can see
for yourself how people are living here, packed in like sardines."

Haitian Health Minister Alex Larsen has urged people to wash their
hands with soap, not eat raw vegetables, boil all food and drinking
water and avoid bathing in and drinking from rivers. The Artibonite
River, which irrigates all of central Haiti, is believed to be

But many in the capital's camps said they did not have money to buy
soap and chlorine to apply hygiene measures.

"We don't have anything, not even one dollar, because we don't have
jobs," said Marjorie Lebrun, 45. "I'm afraid if I and my five children
get sick, we could die."

Wall said the relief effort in Haiti had enough antibiotics to treat
100,000 cases of cholera and intravenous fluids to treat 30,000. But
those would need replenishing. (Additional reporting by Pascal Fletcher
in Miami; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Peter Cooney)

For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit www.alertnet.org


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Report from St Marc

Note to Haiti Vox readers: Yesterday evening I learned that a
colleague, Nancy Dorsinville, was headed to St. Marc. She works with
Partners in Health and with Clinton team. The report below summarizes
what they encountered yesterday. More news later today, Check out the
UN Relief Web and Alert Net (www.alertnet.org) for more updates - AC

Haiti cholera hospital is a horror scene
Source: AlertNet
Date: 22 Oct 2010

22 Oct 2010 10:54:00 GMT

Written by: David Darg

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this
article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the
author's alone.

We woke to disturbing news on Thursday. Our friends at Partners in
Health told us droves of people were arriving at St Marc, sick with
diarrhea, and that they were dying from dehydration at an alarming
rate. The question was clear, could we mobilize to provide clean water
to an area suspected of having Haiti's first major cholera outbreak in

Our staff immediately began loading our trucks with equipment. As we
drove the two hours to St Marc emails on my phone showed the death toll
was climbing steadily. Everyone was nervous.

We arrived at St Marc hospital to a horror scene. I had to fight my way
through the gate as a huge crowd of worried relatives stood outside,
while others screamed for access as they carried dying relatives into
the compound. The courtyard was lined with patients hooked up to
intravenous (IV) drips. It had just rained and there were people lying
on the ground on soggy sheets, half-soaked with feces.

Some children were screaming and writhing in agony, others were
motionless with their eyes rolled back into their heads as doctors and
nursing staff searched desperately for a vein to give them an IV. The
hospital was overwhelmed, apparently caught out suddenly by one of the
fastest killers there is.

Our friend, Cate Oswald, from Partners In Health came out from a triage
tent clutching a hand-drawn map. It showed the local river and the
names of a few communities where the patients had been coming from.
Cate and some of her colleagues led us into the countryside to find the
source of the epidemic.

Soon we were heading down narrow dirt roads with rice paddies and
canals on either side. The crisis had started the day before. Doctors
realized it was getting serious during the night. By then the villagers
had heard of the deaths and word spread quickly not to drink water from
the river.

Most people had gone thirsty for hours. The roads were lined with
villagers holding buckets, begging for water. Some larger groups had
set up road blocks and our convoy was forced to stop and explain that
we didn't have water, only equipment to purify water, and that we were
heading to the source of the problem. The villagers reluctantly let us

People were constantly trying to flag us down and pointing to sick
friends and relatives. One group forced us to stop - they had a girl
close to death. PIH staff started her on an IV and placed her in their
vehicle. Her mother, clutching another baby, explained that her husband
had died yesterday and asked us to save her daughter.


We arrived at the place where many of the patients had originated from,
a small dusty community called Babou La Port. Our team set up a water
purification system, which filters and chlorinates, ensuring that any
bacteria or diseases are killed.

As we worked, sick villagers of all ages congregated under the shade of
some large trees. The medical staff placed IVs in some. One, a boy
named Frantz, was brought to us by his grandmother. He was weak and
vomiting. His grandmother was frail and could only point to the river
when we asked her how long Frantz had been ill.

Diarrhea is unfortunately a common problem in this part of the world. A
villager with cholera might lie down on feeling ill, expecting to get
better, and be dead within hours.

Convoys of trucks plastered with the posters of various presidential
candidates drove up and down the dirt roads. Many candidates saw this
as an opportunity to campaign. They were tossing out small plastic bags
of water to the desperate crowds. There were fights for the water and
one man was crushed under a truck in the scuffle.

Our filtration unit fired up and word spread quickly. Soon a sea of
multi-colored buckets surrounded us. There were no cheers and little
laughter; most of the villagers were stunned, afraid and weak. They
were just relieved to have water.

Some of our Haitian staff agreed to stay with the system overnight and
keep it operating. It was a daunting challenge, to stay awake
surrounded by deadly disease and desperate villagers.

Back at St Marc hospital not much had changed, other than the death
toll. As I write, the confirmed toll is 135 and rising with thousands
more infected. There are still patients being carried into the hospital
close to death.

Now however the cries of the mothers are louder and there are even more
people at the gates desperate to hear news of their loved ones. The
hospital is struggling to cope with such a sudden influx of patients,
especially since it is still trying to recover from the January

The scenes at St Marc reminded me of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince
after the quake: patients lying in the streets, doctors struggling to
cope, mass hysteria and fatigue.

On Thursday morning, as the scale of the problem began to emerge, my
friend Dr Koji from Partners in Health shook my hand and said "Let's
stop this". The only way to halt a disease like cholera is to stop
people from getting infected. The hardest hit areas now have access to
safe water, and thanks to people like Dr Koji the sick are receiving

Reuters AlertNet is not responsible for the content of external

For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit www.alertnet.org

Posted By poxvox to Haiti Vox at 10/23/2010 12:40:00 PM

Cholera in Haiti

- 200 people have died so far
- Almost 2,500 people have been affected by the epidemic
- The areas most affected are: Marchand Dessalines, Douin, areas
surrounding Saint Marc, Archahaie, and the Bas Plateau Central
- The Antibonite river is the source of the epidemic
- The Ministry of Heath and the Direction of Potable Water (DINEPA)
assure that the response is being coordinated
- They need water, chlorine, hygienic kits, and portable beds for the
health centers and clinics which have exceeded their capacity
- It seems the contamination originated in three turbines at the Peligre
hydroelectric station.
- It appears as if the equivalent of seven drums of contaminated liquid
per day have poured into the Antibonite River between Mirebalais and
- To request assistance, please see:
- For information about cholera, click here:
Cholera - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- For the reaction from the US Department of State, click here:
- For Haitian OAS Ambassador Dully Brutus’ and PAHO’s press conference,
click here: YouTube - Press Conference, Cholera situation in Haiti
- For the latest reporting on the situation, click here:
YouTube - Haiti struggles to contain cholera!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Advice for missionaries

This was recently posted to the Corbett Haiti list by a missionary in Haiti, Corrigan Clay, who works with this interesting project / The Apparent Project

I repost it with his permission.

In my experience, the "short term missions team" is no homogenous
species, but a wide variety of people from various demographics with
very unique objectives and strategies for accomplishing those
objectives. In my limited time in Haiti (I've lived here since 2008
with previous visits in 2007), I have seen short term projects that
have destroyed years of labor that had been done by faithful, long
term, in-country missionaries & NGOs, and I have seen projects that
quickly and successfully overcame socio-economic barriers that seem to
have been around for years. There have been teams that come with
minds full of preconceptions about the Haitian people that leave with
the same opinions and self-congratulatory expertise about a culture
whose language they haven't even learned. There have been teams that
have left with more friends than they came with, that have learned
Creole before coming, and have gone home humbled and challenged by the
joy, faith, and hope of their new found Haitian friends. Service
groups are a mixed bag... like a trail mix... their contents are
sometimes sweet, sometimes salty, and occasionally a little rotten.

Our mission (www.apparentproject.org) has shifted over the years,
beginning with the intention to start an orphanage to address the
needs of a special handful of Haiti's "500,000 orphans". After living
in an orphanage for a year we learned the grim truth that the vast
majority of Haiti's so-called "orphans" were actually children with
living parents that loved them but just struggled to provide for their
basic needs. We saw that the cost of one adoption could have provided
enough seed money to start sustainable businesses for ALL of the
parents of the 24 children in the orphanage we worked at.
This gave us pause about the ethics of the adoption/creche industry in
Haiti, and as we sought to obey the Biblical mandate to care for
orphans and widows, we shuddered at the thought that the system of
orphan care so advocated by most Christians was not only not
stewarding resources well to address the orphan crisis, but was likely
causing the abandonment of countless children by creating an orphan

This is why we made a drastic shift towards job creation, home
building and empowerment of Haitian families. Instead of a colonial
paradigm (seize, commodify, consume, and justify) we took on Jesus'
way of doing business: living amongst those we hoped to help, knowing
their stories, affirming their worth, tending to their felt needs,
depending on them as much as they depend on us, and giving out our
power and resources so that they could begin to find some equality.
The effect is a congenial plundering of the colonizers. We play
polite Robin Hood... By selling recycled paper jewelry to North
Americans we are effectively selling Haiti's "fatra" to Americans who
have a "disposable" income. It's working quite well. We continue to
have less supply than demand, and we will likely be situated to
employ many more people very soon.

Long story short, it was a short term team that really kick-started
our artisan program. A few college students from the States came to
teach 3 or 4 women how to make jewelry according to an internationally
marketable standard. This short term initiative has blossomed into a
program that provides employment, education, and housing for more than
50 families who were previously at risk for relinquishing their

We have had other short term projects that have also provided long
term benefits, like the team that built a chicken roost for us that
now provides our artisans and hungry people in our neighborhood with
eggs and some young men with the opportunity to learn sustainable
urban agro-business. Other teams have taught other marketable skills
such as sewing, carpentry, teacher-training, and computer literacy.
These short intensive trainings have provided long term employment in
some cases.

The teams that we have hosted that have been more of a burden are
those that come with more interest in being served than serving, or
who have come with an attitude of superiority. The latter is
especially evident in groups bent on delivering "the Gospel" to a
people "bound in spiritual darkness". These are often groups that have
no Haitian friends, speak no Creole, and have likely never been to
Haiti for an extended period of time. They don't know that many of
our Haitian friends own only one book (Bib La) and they read it quite
often. They don't know that many Haitians worship in their churches
twice a day every day of the week. They often don't know what it is
like to give up food so that their neighbor can eat, or to pray for
somebody's healing long BEFORE calling a doctor. They have never
lived in a country where the president calls for 3 days of prayer,
fasting, and public repentance. They haven't experienced a spiritual
life that is enriched by vivid visions or powerful encounters with
spiritual forces. They haven't stopped to think that when Jesus said
he came to "announce Good News to the Poor" that that may have meant
that the poor might have a better grip of His message than the
over-resourced. They weren't here to hear the echoes of "adore'"
resounding in the hills as Haitians who had just lost homes and family
members thanked Bon Dye for his mercy and confessed their enduing love
for Him.

Haitians, no matter their faith, have lived in an environment and
context much closer to that of the first audience of the Biblical
text. That alone should cause Christian mission groups to come with
an objective of mutual exchange and dialogue or sharing , rather than
an attitude of conquest. Don't get me wrong, If I were a Haitian
citizen, I'd be voting Jesus for president, he's the only worthy
candidate. But he's not American, and his Kingdom comes through the
meek, not through the gregarious flash of 35 Neon T-shirts proclaiming
that Haiti's messianic service team has just arrived to save the day.
A friend of mine saw a group in the airport that had shirts that
said, "Jesus came to earth to save me, We're coming to Haiti to save
you." I can't even write that without a little bit of puke coming up
into my throat. it's that kind of service group that makes me... a
long term Christian missionary and somebody who is eternally thankful
for Jesus coming to save me... embarrassed and nervous. And to those
of you who are Haitians who don't share my faith, it also makes me

As somebody who regularly hosts short term missions teams in our guest
house in Port Au Prince, I hope that more people respond to Mr.
Durban's question. We encourage visiting teams to focus on training
and equipping, providing Haitians lasting employment, and building
intercultural relationships. I share the concern with a previous
poster who noted that many teams are taking away potential jobs from
Haitians (esp.. the thousands of Boss Masons), but I also see a steady
stream of resources into the nation which might not otherwise come.
For example, the house building teams are far more likely to pay for a
home that they are coming to build than to send an equivalent
donation... and they are much more likely to advocate for Haiti after
visiting in person than if they just sent a check to an organization.

The other unfortunate hang up I see is that because of the culture of
corruption (which I observe not only in the elite ruling class, but
amongst the poor as well) there are many people who will not donate
money to an organization without the kind of accountability that only
comes through a personal visit or a hands on project. That is
ultimately why we have such disunity and slowness to act in the
reconstruction effort, with everybody making strong arguments about
who should be in control of reconstruction resources, etc. Until there
is a much higher threshold of trust, I don't think the inefficiency of
outsiders coming with their own projects and agendas will yield to a
more efficient, straight donation of resources.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Sad News

Report: 1 million Haitians in 1,300 squalid camps
(AP) ­ October 7, 2010

UNITED NATIONS ‹ A report says more than one million people are still living
in 1,300 mostly unmanaged camps nine months after Haiti's devastating
earthquake. Sexual violence is rampant and gangs often roam freely, it says.

Refugees International, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that
advocates to end refugee crises, says its investigators found during a
recent visit to Haiti that less than 30 percent of the camps have managers.
That means more than 70 percent of the camps are unable to communicate or
coordinate with the international humanitarian community.

The report, released Thursday, said the humanitarian response "appears
paralyzed" and called for urgent action to protect the basic human rights of
quake victims living in the squalid overcrowded camps.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The implications of never ending war

The only reaction that I received from the last post was via a
Facebook response from a friend of a friend - remarking that we cannot talk about the 9/11 attacks - or sabotage- or false flag operation - as that is too polarizing an issue.

So let us look for a moment at the results of the 9-11 attacks.

Let us simply look at the financial result. The United States accounts for one half of the world's military spending.

Since 9/11 the US military budget has increased at the rate of 10% a year.

The US military spending has doubled since 9/11. This rise has not only been for war related costs but for expansion of the Defense Department.

See graph here.

The new budget includes even grater increases.

When discussing the Federal Budget, many include both Social Security and Medicare in the total federal pie, as seen in the link above.

However, Social Security and Medicare are both funded independently, from their own particular taxes. Those funds do not come from general tax revenue.

A more honest portrayal of the Federal Budget, one which shows the military spending as a percentage of the federal budget is shown here.

In order to move the political discussion forward, peacemakers would be well advised to educate the populace on the percentage of the their tax dollars which are being absorbed by the military.

This is the money that would otherwise be available to be spent on infrastructure, education, research, and all other federal programs which are not war related.

We must take time to engage in thoughtful and peaceful engagement with those Americans who are angry and frightened.

It would help if we were informed and mindful of the facts at hand.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What We Should be Discussing

As I watch the comedians on the Left mock the Comedians of the Right inside the United States, I wonder where the serious people are in the United States. Why are they not discussing 9/11 and the plan for never ending war which was launched on that day?

I knew shortly after the attacks that they had to have been engineeredas a false flag operation by the government of the United States.

There is ample evidence that this is true.

Why is this not now the central issue under discussion, not that Obama has shown himself to be yet another tool of the military industrial complex?

Are we simply going to sit around for the next forty years, as we did after they took JFK, RFK. MLK and Malcolm X?

Our nation will be in ruins by then.

Aux Armes, citoyennes!

if you have trouble viewing the video from here, the link is here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Perhaps I can help a alleviate some of the frustration around the dismal news from Haiti bit by supplying some links to small NGOs which I know are REALLY doing good, important work ,,,,, So that if you wanted to give a donation... or organize a fund raiser -- you would know that your money was going to be used properly and actually GET to folks on the ground.

Would that help?

These were all in operation long before the Quake...ALL of them have EXCELLENT reputations -- all are reasonably small .. These are all groups that have received awards -- or are simply mentioned time and again as the best of the best.....I have at one time or another supported all of them -- I wish I had more to give but alas. However, if you were to pick one or another, I am sure that you could organize a fund raiser -- perhaps even get a speaker to come to talk with a group about their work. (all have US bases except Veterimed, I think)

NONE of them are part of the "beltway bandits" that come in from Washington DC but are all solidly in the ... roots of the grass, so to speak.

A little bit of money sent to them will go a long way,,,,

And at least two of them - SeedsforHaiti and the Lambi Fund ... offer delegations should you want to visit....

All of these are secular - no religious teaching whatever (which is simply my personal preference for aid donations )

So you may find that one of these resonates with you:

Here is a project which provides scholarships to Haitian students to send them to University -- they have 105 or so students - who are now working in the relief efforts--

H.E.L.P. - Haitian Education & Leadership Program

Here is a project which works with farmers to help them to develop their small garden plots into sustainable farms:
O.R.E. Haiti Earthquake Relief Program

Here is a project that helps farmers engage in yogurt production in the North :

Here is the seed project to help the farmers in the Central Plateau:
Seeds For Haiti

Here an organization which works with peasants in the south

Lambi Fund of Haiti - Home
Here is the microfinance bank for the poor
Fonkoze | What's New

ANY of these would make VERY GOOD use of any donation -- no matter how small.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kreyole only

There is a growing debate on making Kreyol the official language of instruction in Haiti.

One of the things that has made so many Haitians in the DR so successful is that they have a fluency in three or four or five languages and so find work in the tourist industry here. Most Haitians here do not work in the sugar cane industry but in tourism or  construction - where the ones who speak Spanish quickly rise to crew boss.

I suspect that this ease of learning languages is indeed from having had to learn two languages at an early age. I know that because I started studying French at age 5, learning a new language has always been easier for me than for most Americans.

Puerto Rico went through a similar debate in the late 50's - when Spanish was declared the "official " language of instruction and education - in part in reaction to the US trying to impose English. So all the public schools in Puerto Rico teach only in Spanish. The wealthy who can afford to send their children to private schools, send them to schools which teach in English.

This is also the case here in Santo Domingo where the best private schools teach completely or premoninanty in English - the language of global business.

I am sure the the elites of Haiti will support Kreyol only instruction as it will keep the peasant class marginalized and isolated. This difference of language has always been used to divide the classes in Haiti and will continue to be used as a weapon as long as the masses are not educated in French. And those of the Left will support it as a sign of standing in solidarity with the poor. And the vast majority of Haitians will suffer from this decision.

When I met with journalists from Haiti and they questioned why I would not speak to the them in Kreyol, I explained that I would not learn Kreyol as I wanted the offer the Haitians who knew it an opportunity to practice their French.(or Spanish, or English)  I hoped that they understood that this did not indicate any disrepect or lack of solidarity with the struggle of the poor.

Declaring Kreyol as the official language will keep the Haitian people isolated and ill informed on world affairs as they will never be able to read the news; let alone the great thinkers of the history of the world  in their own language. They will need interpreters to speak for them at international gatherings.  And those interpreters will be the ones whose voices will be heard by the international community.

I believe that there is ample evidence that children are able to learn two, three and even four languages simultaneously at an early age.

The educated people here in the DR speak at least two, if not four languages so limiting Haiti to one language will only be another step backwards.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Haitians in the DR -- trouble brewing again

Haitians "take over Santiago streets"

A former Migration director in Santiago, Sabas Burgos, has warned about the mass migration of Haitians entering Dominican territory illegally at a greater rate since the 12 January earthquake. Burgos told El Nacional that in the past, the authorities used to pretend that they were doing something to curb illegal migration, but now Haitians are entering and leaving freely. He said that the streets, barrios and rural areas of the province are full of undocumented Haitians. "People, even the fruit and vegetable vendors, a local tradition, have been displaced by the Haitians", he complained. He said that in the past six months, Santiago has become another Haiti, with children, teenagers and women begging on street corners, selling merchandise on the streets and accumulating tons of garbage and no one is saying anything.

Santiago Historical Center Traders Association president, Carlos Lora denounced the massive presence of Haitian beggars who harass tourists and affect business in the area.

He complained that despite the fact that Santiago migration authorities are aware of the situation, their response is that deportations were suspended after the earthquake in Haiti.

One migration inspector said that Haitians used to run away if they saw a migration inspector, but now they just scoff at them. An inspector told El Nacional that he has received threats and insults from the Haitians who have been deported in the past and have returned. "One who had been deported three times, threatened to kill me and said that this country was theirs, and all they were doing was recovering it," he said.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Fot the absolute BEST, most insightful look at what is going on (and has been going on for years) in Haiti - spend an hour with Sean Penn on Charlie Rose

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On allowing Haitians preapproved to immigrate

(Boston Globe, July 17, 2010)
Haiti: Expedite visas for family members

Two days after a calamitous earthquake erupted in Haiti in January, President Obama rightly called it “one of those moments that call out for America’s leadership.’’ Since then the United States has done many things to help Haitians, delivering food, medical assistance, and temporary shelter to the island. Sad to say, however, the administration has yet to do one thing that could help significantly: allow the 55,000 Haitians who have already been approved for immigrant visas to join family members here in the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is empowered to grant this relief simply by ordering it, with no act of Congress needed. Congressional quotas created the current backlog of approved visa recipients; children and spouses of legal residents have to wait four years, while siblings of US citizens must wait 11 years. These Haitians approved for entry to the US will come here eventually. If they are enabled to come now, and if they are permitted to work here legally, the money they remit to Haiti will serve as an efficient form of foreign aid, greatly accelerating the island’s economic recovery.

In the past, bureaucratic obstacles have been removed, for humanitarian or national-security reasons, so that refugees from Cuba, Indochina, and Kosovo could enter this country. Haitians are no less deserving.

Obama should instruct Napolitano to allow the 55,000 Haitians approved for visas to come to these shores now, and to expedite decisions on the visa applications of 19,000 other Haitians. This would be the most effective way to take the leadership role America should have in helping Haiti cope with the catastrophe of last winter’s earthquake.

Growing issue of stateless persons

(Miami Herald, July 16, 2010)
After the quake, Haiti and the Dominican Republic have a smoother, but fragile, relationship

Hailed for its aggressive response to the Haiti quake, the Dominican government also has been criticized for denying citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born there.


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- It wasn't so long ago when the president of the Dominican Republic visited neighboring Haiti, protesters blocked his motorcade by burning tires and hurling rocks.

That was 2005, when Haitian laborers in the Dominican Republic were being lynched, deported, and their shacks burned to the ground. Called a racist and a murderer, President Leonel Fernández canceled scheduled visits to Port-au-Prince and didn't return -- until January, when a massive earthquake toppled parts of the Haitian capital and killed enough people to populate a medium-sized city.

When he showed up by surprise 36 hours after the tremor in a helicopter, he was the first head of state to arrive. Dominican civil defense authorities were already scrambling to send rescue crews, the Department of Health had activated mobile clinics, and the Dominican Red Cross was in place.

Six months after the Jan. 12 quake, everyone agrees that the Dominican Republic stepped up in the critical days immediately following the disaster, when international response was slow and disorganized.

``The Dominican Republic has never responded better to a difficult situation; they responded better than they have to natural disasters in the Dominican Republic,'' said Bridget Wooding, an expert on Dominican-Haitian migration.

The aggressive response came despite bitter tensions between the two nations, fueled by centuries of animosity. And it came just two weeks before a change to the Dominican constitution that denies citizenship to the children of undocumented workers -- virtually all Haitians -- born in the Dominican Republic.

So while Santo Domingo dispatched government civil engineers to fix the electric grid and design roads for Port-au-Prince and invest $40 million in a new university for Haiti, experts say hundreds of thousands of Haitians who were born here decades ago are suddenly stateless.

``It's hypocritical, a complete paradox,'' said Amos Andrada, a journalist of Haitian descent who was refused a national I.D. card recently. ``Leonel Fernández has emerged as the great protector of Haiti. One thing is what he's doing for the state of Haiti and another what he is doing to us, who are Dominicans.''

While the U.S. government's management of the Port-au-Prince airport came under heavy criticism for turning back much-needed aid, the Dominican government launched quick and efficient cargo routes by land and sea. The United Nations in Santo Domingo flew aid and people using some 30 choppers and planes donated by the Dominican businesses.

Although they were not permitted to linger after their surgeries, about 4,000 injured Haitians were treated in Dominican hospitals. Many more were fed and taught in projects launched by the First Lady. One Dominican woman became a celebrity when she left her own babies at home to breast feed Haitian infants in Santo Domingo hospitals.

Bridget Wooding, an expert on Dominican-Haitian migration, was in Port-au-Prince during the quake kicking off the French translation of her book about Haitian migrants: Needed but not Wanted.

``I remember being on the border at 10 p.m. on my way back to Santo Domingo,'' she said, ``and Leonel was personally ringing journalists who work for his foundation to find out whether mobile clinics were operating.''

Haiti's prime minister says relations have not been better in 200 years. But experts worry that the goodwill sown between the two nations in the months since the quake will quickly dissipate, as recovery stalls and more Haitian migrants cross illegally into the Dominican Republic.

While the Dominican Republic is being lauded for its response, the nation -- and its president -- clearly has interests of their own. The Dominican Republic does a half-billion dollars in trade each year with Haiti; plus many Dominicans fear a stampede of quake survivors will descend on the neighbor country. It's also no secret that Fernández enjoys playing the role of regional leader in times of international crisis.

``Sometimes altruism parallels a nation's interest,'' said Florida International University Prof. Eduardo Gamarra, one of Fernández's political advisors. ``It's not that Leonel Fernández woke up on Jan. 12 and realized there was a Haiti. He's been working on this for a long time.''

Gamarra calls the tense relationship over migration issues ``one of the legacies of the past'' and admits that it must be addressed.

Fernández was traveling to Washington this week meeting with President Barack Obama and was unavailable for an interview. Officials at the Department of Interior, the first lady's office and the Foreign Affairs Ministry declined or did not respond to repeated interview requests.

The struggles between Haiti and the Dominican Republic date back hundreds of years, when the island they share was ruled by different colonial powers, the French in the west and the Spanish on the east.

Haitian slaves booted their colonial masters and established their own nation, eventually occupying the entire island. An occupation that was at first welcomed soon soured, and the Dominican Republic to this day celebrates its 1844 independence from Haiti.

In 1937, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the army to slaughter tens of thousands of Haitians. That didn't stop the Dominican Republic from signing contracts with thousands of Haitians to work in sugar cane fields.

By the 1960s, agricultural communities called bateyes were filled by Haitians. They settled and had children.

According to the constitution, the children of people ``in transit'' were not entitled to citizenship. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling backed up a migration law defining anyone who lacked legal residency as ``in transit'' -- regardless of how many decades they had lived in the country.

In January 2010, two weeks after the quake, a new constitution took effect denying citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.

The grown children of Haitian immigrants say the government has applied the new constitution retroactively, denying papers to anyone whose parents did not have legal residency. In Latin America, a recently certified birth certificate is required whenever anyone marries, goes to college, or requests a passport.

``You know what that is that you grow up going to school being told you live in a democracy where there are rights and then they say, `well, actually, starting tomorrow, you are not Dominican, and there is no democracy,' '' said Altagracia Jean Joseph, 24. ``Talk about breaking dreams, hopes and illusions.''

Jean Joseph graduated from high school four years ago and has been unable to register for college or get a formal job. When she tried to register for nursing school, she was turned away.

Siany Jeans Yudel could not apply for a law license. Pedro José Adames could not sign a contract to play baseball. Felipe Siriyan, 27, lost a university scholarship and now works a few days a week in construction.

The issue has been the subject of lawsuits in the InterAmerican Court of Human Rights. One landmark case ruled against the Dominican Republic, saying a migrant cannot be considered in transit for decades and migration status cannot be inherited.

But the cases caused such a backlash here that the laws being disputed as unconstitutional led to the recent permanent changes to the constitution.

``My parents left Haiti in 1957. My daughter is third generation Dominican, and she cannot get the national I.D. card she needs to go to college,'' said María Camilise, who has spent years tackling bureaucratic red tape for her two daughters.

``My youngest is 20 years old and says to me, `Why did I bother going to high school?' It seems the government wants Haitian women to be prostitutes and the men to be delinquents.''

Her daughter Martha Cuba has only been to Haiti once: as a volunteer after the quake.

Dominican authorities say the only people having trouble are a tiny minority whose Haitian parents held fraudulent I.D. cards when their children's births were registered.

Vice Admiral Sigfrido A. Pared Pérez, the director of immigration services, acknowledged that the government's immigration reform plan that would have offered residency to long-time migrants and their children was shelved when it confronted opposition.

``There are no people who are in legal limbo,'' he said. ``They are in waiting.''

He stressed that all deportations were suspended after the quake and migrants were allowed to visit Haiti to check on their families and return.

``No other country in the world did that,'' he said. ``No other country shares a border with the poorest country in the hemisphere.''

Santo Miguel Román, an immigration service attorney who defended the Dominican Republic in the InterAmerican court, said Haitian descendants should go to the Haitian embassy and register as citizens and then apply for a visa.

``They say we are racist,'' Román said. ``This is a country of black people. My grandmother was black.''

He whipped out her photograph from his wallet to prove it.

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said immigration will be among the leading points of discussion at the bilateral commission Haitian President René Préval and Fernández restarted two weeks ago.

``We don't want to address the constitutional issues, but we do want to address the case of the Haitians working to consolidate the Dominican economy,'' he said. ``They are working there, they are recognized as working there . . . But they don't want to legalize them for some technical issue. We have to resolve that.''

In the meantime, Jean Joseph, the would-be nursing student, tried to register her birth at the Haitian consulate, 24 years late.

``The guy there said to me, `You think if the Dominican Republic does not recognize you as Dominican, and we have no record of your birth or know who you are, that we will consider you Haitian?'' Jean Joseph said. ``Entire communities are in this situation.''

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thanks to CNN

I am extremely grateful to Anderson Cooper and all the journalists and volunteers who have gone to Haiti in the last six months.

I have not gone. I still weep when I see the pictures, so I question what use I would be.My heart is filled with gratitude for all those "blans" who were strong enough to go there and serve.

From the luxury and safety of my home, I have been able to follow the story perhaps more closely since it is my primary story, my main concern.

So as I watch the 6 month special on CNN, I did want to fill in some gaps in the story.- just some pieces that they may have missed.

First on the closing of the hospials, note that with the arrival of the medical aid for acute care from all over the world, no one thought to pay the Haitian state doctors who were already in place. Health care is not free in Haiti, not state supported. There was one report of two doctors at one state hospital who reported that they had not been paid in over three months and that no patients were coming into the hospital since so much care was being given for free. So now many of those hospitals are closed because the doctors - who probably could have stayed and would have stayed had any NGO or aid group thought to maintain some sort of support for the fragile health system.

And for the other part of the story that so outraged Anderson Cooper on being charged 20% tax on the goods his team was bringing in to help the relief efforts. For the first three months, there was no tax on any relief goods. Now there is. It does seem outrageous. But if you understand that Haiti has long been governed by NGOs -- that NGOs in Haiti operate as independent principalities and have for years. The foreign aid that is given and has been given for years has been funnelled to NGOs rather than the Haitian government, which admittedly, has always held the place in the top ten of "most corrupt" in the world.

Yet as some Haitians will say - what causes the corruption? If the NGOs have the money that the Haitian government may rightly believe should go to support the government, and then the government, which cannot pay its employees, starts charging these and other NGOs, who created the corruption?

The report was that MSF had shipments in trucks held up at the border for months and they had to rent trucks in Haiti for $100,000. That is money that went into the very tenuous economy.

I was a bit dismayed at CNNs coverage of the death of one hydrocephalic child - on the surface because there were no antibiotics - but on a deeper level because there is no hope that she would survive anyway.

People have been dying in Haiti for 204 years for lack of basic water and medical treatment that most of the hemisphere takes for granted.Much of this neglect is due to the isolation that this first Free Black Republic suffered by being a free Black nation next to the slave holding US.Instead of helping our newly independent neighbor,  we supported the reparations which Haiti was required to pay to France.

Last year, before the quake, the Haitian medical school laid off part of the faculty. There are more than 1500 Haitians studying medicine here in the Doninican Republic who might return to serve their country if there were money to pay them

So we - by that I mean the international donors - have starved the Haitin state first since its birth and more overtly since the fall of Duvalier in 1986. Now 70% of the government buildings have collapsed including the one that held the registry for land.

I do appreciate the outrage - any foreigner who has been to Haiti ever has felt the outrage.

But now perhaps there really is hope for the future.