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Donors Flee Financing Cholera Fight in Haiti

This is a very sad state of affairs, when Haitian citizens still suffer fro Cholera, but the world has largely washed their hands of the country.

This largely has to do with the frustration with corrupt or misguided Haitian Government officials who have stymied nearly every effort to help the country. And no, that doesn’t mean the UN’s hands are clean.

After Bringing Cholera to Haiti, U.N. Can’t Raise Money to Fight It

When the leader of the United Nations apologized to Haitians for the cholera epidemic that has ravaged their country for more than six years — caused by infected peacekeepers sent to protect them — he proclaimed a “moral responsibility” to make things right.

The apology, announced in December along with a $400 million strategy to combat the epidemic and “provide material assistance and support” for victims, amounted to a rare public act of contrition by the United Nations. Under its secretary general at the time, Ban Ki-moon, the organization had resisted any acceptance of blame for the epidemic, one of the worst cholera outbreaks in modern times.

Since then, however, the United Nations’ strategy to fight the epidemic, which it calls the “New Approach,” has failed to gain traction. A trust fund created to help finance the strategy has only about $2 million, according to the latest data on its website. Just six of the 193 member states — Britain, Chile, France, India, Liechtenstein and South Korea — have donated.

Other countries have provided additional sources of anti-cholera funding for Haiti outside the trust fund, most notably Canada, at about $4.6 million, and Japan, at $2.6 million, according to the United Nations. Nonetheless, the totals received are a fraction of what Mr. Ban envisioned.

In a letter sent to member states last month, Mr. Ban’s successor, António Guterres, asked for financial commitments to the trust fund by March 6. He also appeared to raise the possibility of a mandatory dues assessment if there were no significant pledges.

The deadline came and went without much response.

Mr. Guterres has not stated publicly whether he intends to push for a mandatory assessment in the budget negotiations now underway at the United Nations. Privately, however, diplomats and United Nations officials said he had shelved the idea, partly because of strong resistance by some powerful members, including the United States.

Diplomats said part of the problem could be traced to simple donor fatigue, as well as to many countries’ reluctance to make financial commitments without certainty that the money will be used effectively.

 

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Posted by on March 20, 2017 in Haiti

 

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Haiti…Again

In 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti causing massive destruction in the City of Port au Prince and the smaller towns along the northern peninsula of the island. Several towns or small cities were utterly flattened. The death toll is estimated to have been as high as 300,000. The world responded and billions of dollars were pledged to assist the failed nation state to recover and rebuild. The NGO’s, foreign powers, and charitable organizations all rushed in to help…

Six years later, if you visit Haiti – not a hell of a lot has changed.

A fresh disaster, Hurricane Matthew has visited the island, and once again we are treated to dire reports –

Hurricane Matthew toll in Haiti rises to 1,000, dead buried in mass graves

Haiti started burying some of its dead in mass graves in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, a government official said on Sunday, as cholera spread in the devastated southwest and the death toll from the storm rose to 1,000 people.

The powerful hurricane, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, slammed into Haiti on Tuesday with 145 mile-per-hour (233 kph) winds and torrential rains that left 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

A Reuters tally of numbers from local officials showed that 1,000 people were killed by the storm in Haiti, which has a population of about 10 million and is the poorest country in the Americas.

The official death toll from the central civil protection agency is 336, a slower count because officials must visit each village to confirm the numbers.

Authorities had to start burying the dead in mass graves in Jeremie because the bodies were starting to decompose, said Kedner Frenel, the most senior central government official in the Grand’Anse region on Haiti’s western peninsula.

Frenel said 522 people were killed in Grand’Anse alone. A tally of deaths reported by mayors from 15 of 18 municipalities in Sud Department on the south side of the peninsula showed 386 people there. In the rest of the country, 92 people were killed, the same tally showed.

Frenel said there was great concern about cholera spreading, and that authorities were focused on getting water, food and medication to the thousands of people living in shelters.

Cholera causes severe diarrhea and can kill within hours if untreated. It is spread through contaminated water and has a short incubation period, which leads to rapid outbreaks.

Government teams fanned out across the hard-hit southwestern tip of the country over the weekend to repair treatment centers and reach the epicenter of one outbreak.

Once again the NGOs and charitable organizations are calling for money to help Haiti.

The response this time has been decidedly muted.

Of the $12 billion promised to Haiti after the earthquake for major infrastructure rebuilding, only about $600 million, mostly spent in humanitarian aid was ever actually spent. The monies promised for the major infrastructure projects, a new Airport, a sewage treatment plans, new power plants, drinking water processing, storm drainage…was never spent.

Why? Largely because of the Haitian Government, and the Haitians themselves.

Bill Clinton, through the Clinton-Bush Foundation formed the International Haitian Reconstruction Commission. It was funded by promised donations to over $3 billion. The Foundation only spent about $300 million of that. The IHRC Commission was made up of 22 voting members, with final approval for all projects by the Committee Chair Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive. Chairman Bellerive tabled all of the major development projects, including the Airport, Septic plant, water processing, and storm drainage. So none of those projects got done.

Bill Clinton’s failure was in believing the Haitian Ministers would forgo the usual corruption and act in the best interest of the country…They didn’t.

A lot of the problems the country experienced with Matthew could have been mitigated or averted.

Here is an example. The reason the earthquake was so particularly devastating in Haiti was because of the low grade form of concrete utilized in most Haitian buildings. Concrete can be made with a variety of sand, but the type of sand used vastly affects the strength of the concrete. Haiti, unlike many of the islands in the Caribbean was formed by geological uplift from the bottom of the ocean. You dig anywhere in Haiti 12 inches below ground and you hit granite. Faced with the prospect of importing silica based sand, which makes the strongest concrete, Haitians used the cheaper locally acquired granite sand, resulting in a concrete at least 300% weaker. In engineering terms a concrete crumbling at 1000 psi, vs 3300 psi used to commonly build structures in the US, and even 7000 psi used to built airport runways and special structures. What you get from Granite sand is a concrete which vaporizes when shaken by an earthquake. When I arrived in Haiti after the earthquake, the entire city of Port au Prince was covered in an inch thick layer of concrete dust. In the frenetic rebuilding after the earthquake, the Haitian Government had the choice to set standards as to the types of materials used. They refused. So construction continued with the sub-par concrete. The new buildings fell…Again, during Matthew. And it wasn’t an issue of cost per say. My company investigated having barges bring in sand from Louisiana, and over 1,000 cubic yards a clip. The cost was not prohibitive (less than $10-20 million for 1 million cubic yards), and could have easily been covered by one of the grants to give the necessary sand to the public.

You can’t help somebody whose interest aren’t in helping themselves. It’s sad, and I cry for the innocent civilians… But there is little anyone can do about it.

Perhaps that is why there isn’t quite the outpouring of sympathy anymore.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Haiti

 

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There are No Trees in Haiti… Because the Kids Ate Them!

There is no shortage of food in Haiti.

There a a very many other things screwed up in the country, including  an obscene “Container Tax” which makes it impossible to sell their foodstuffs overseas…But there is no shortage of food.

You will find one of the below on almost every commercial block in Haitian cities –

Image result for Haiti Food Vendors

There are almost no trees left in Haiti, although there are half a dozen groups that have been successful in replanting some areas.

So this is a bit of a surprise…

The kids ate them?

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Faux News, Haiti

 

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UN Finally Admits Role in Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

The whole truth of this, as I suspect a lot of things in the 3rd world, has never been admitted. Having been in Haiti working when the epidemic started, I think the numbers provided by the world press are off by 5 or more. Indeed, one person I know who was in position to say – put the number of dead the first two days at double the claimed total number today.

The Haitians figured out pretty quick where the cholera came from. A disease which Papa Doc had eliminated in the country. The UN promptly went into cover-up mode, even when it was found that the sewage trenches dug by their soldiers from Nepal were leaking directly into the river. And even after it was discovered by DWB that the strain of cholera was native to the Nepal region of Asia. Even when it was shown that those soldier hadn’t been screened for cholera and other infectuous diseases (which is a UN requirement) prior to deployment.

Haitian despise the UN’s Minustah which is their “Peacekeeping” Military force – and this is just one of the reasons.

U.N. Admits Role in Cholera Epidemic in Haiti

For the first time since a cholera epidemic believed to be imported by United Nations peacekeepers began killing thousands of Haitians nearly six years ago, the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged that the United Nations played a role in the initial outbreak and that a “significant new set of U.N. actions” will be needed to respond to the crisis.

The deputy spokesman for the secretary general, Farhan Haq, said in an email this week that “over the past year, the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.” He added that a “new response will be presented publicly within the next two months, once it has been fully elaborated, agreed with the Haitian authorities and discussed with member states.”

The statement comes on the heels of a confidential report sent to Mr. Ban by a longtime United Nations adviser on Aug. 8. Written by Philip Alston, a New York University law professor who serves as one of a few dozen experts, known as special rapporteurs, who advise the organization on human rights issues, the draft language stated plainly that the epidemic “would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations.”

The secretary general’s acknowledgment, by contrast, stopped short of saying that the United Nations specifically caused the epidemic. Nor does it indicate a change in the organization’s legal position that it is absolutely immune from legal actions, including a federal lawsuit brought in the United States on behalf of cholera victims seeking billions in damages stemming from the Haiti crisis.

But it represents a significant shift after more than five years of high-level denial of any involvement or responsibility of the United Nations in the outbreak, which has killed at least 10,000 people and sickened hundreds of thousands. Cholera victims suffer from dehydration caused by severediarrhea or vomiting.

Special rapporteurs’ reports are technically independent guidance, which the United Nations can accept or reject. United Nations officials have until the end of this week to respond to the report, which will then go through revisions, but the statement suggests a new receptivity to its criticism.

In the 19-page report, obtained from an official who had access to it, Mr. Alston took issue with the United Nations’ public handling of the outbreak, which was first documented in mid-October 2010, shortly after people living along the Meille River began dying from the disease.

The first victims lived near a base housing 454 United Nations peacekeepers freshly arrived from Nepal, where a cholera outbreak was underway, and waste from the base often leaked into the river. Numerous scientists have since argued that the base was the only plausible source of the outbreak — whose real death toll, one study found, could be much higher than the official numbers state — but United Nations officials have consistently insisted that its origins remain up for debate.

Mr. Alston wrote that the United Nations’ Haiti cholera policy “is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.” He added, “It is also entirely unnecessary.” The organization’s continuing denial and refusal to make reparations to the victims, he argued, “upholds a double standard according to which the U.N. insists that member states respect human rights, while rejecting any such responsibility for itself.”

He said, “It provides highly combustible fuel for those who claim that U.N. peacekeeping operations trample on the rights of those being protected, and it undermines both the U.N.’s overall credibility and the integrity of the Office of the Secretary-General.”

Mr. Alston went beyond criticizing the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to blame the entire United Nations system. “As the magnitude of the disaster became known, key international officials carefully avoided acknowledging that the outbreak had resulted from discharges from the camp,” he noted.

His most severe criticism was reserved for the organization’s Office of Legal Affairs, whose advice, he wrote, “has been permitted to override all of the other considerations that militate so powerfully in favor of seeking a constructive and just solution.” Its interpretations, he said, have “trumped the rule of law.”

Mr. Alston also argued in his report that, as The New York Times hasreported, the United Nations’ cholera eradication program has failed. Infection rates have been rising every year in Haiti since 2014, as the organization struggles to raise the $2.27 billion it says is needed to eradicate the disease from member states. No major water or sanitation projects have been completed in Haiti; two pilot wastewater processing plants built there in the wake of the epidemic quickly closed because of a lack of donor funds.

In a separate internal report released days ago after being withheld for nearly a year, United Nations auditors said a quarter of the sites run by the peacekeepers with the organization’s Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or Minustah, that they had visited were still discharging their waste into public canals as late as 2014, four years after the epidemic began.

“Victims are living in fear because the disease is still out there,” Mario Joseph, a prominent Haitian human rights lawyer representing cholera victims, told demonstrators in Port-au-Prince last month. He added, “If the Nepalese contingent returns to defecate in the water again, they will get the disease again, only worse.”

In 2011, when families of 5,000 Haitian cholera victims petitioned the United Nations for redress, its Office of Legal Affairs simply declared their claims “not receivable.” (Mr. Alston called that argument “wholly unconvincing in legal terms.”)…More…

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Haiti

 

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Martelly Steps Down in Haiti

Probably a good thing in terms of slowing the country’s roll into violence. However once again, the candidates still standing are all bad.

Haiti president steps down without successor in place

Haiti’s President Michel Martelly has stepped down at the end of his term amid tension over how he is to be replaced.

No successor has yet been chosen as opposition supporters challenge a deal to select an interim leader.

The first day of carnival has been called off over the threat of more opposition protests.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is still struggling to recover from a huge earthquake in 2010.

The last-minute deal aims to prevent the country from plunging into an immediate power vacuum.

In a speech, Mr Martelly said his biggest regret was that January’s presidential election had been postponed.

The runoff vote to elect his successor was shelved because of fears of violence and allegations of fraud.

It will now be held on April 24, with a new president due to be sworn in on 14 May.

Under the latest agreement, parliament will elect an interim president and install a transitional government for a four-month term.

Mr Martelly is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election but has thrown his weight behind Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter who won the first round of the presidential election in November.

But the result has been contested by the opposition challenger, Jude Celestin.

He accused the electoral authorities of favouring Mr Moise and threatened to pull out of the runoff vote.

Prime Minister Evans Paul – who is due to remain in his post until parliament agrees his replacement – has appealed for calm.

On Friday, protesters beat a man to death in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in a clash with ex-soldiers.

Martelly was a singer in the Haitian Kompa music style. His onstage antics were legend…

Some of those antics have become fodder for anti-Martelly vids, which would have undoubtedly buried a candidate in the US…

An early video of “Sweet Mickey”

 

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Haiti

 

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Haiti – The Painter From Jalouzi

Jalouzi is a village built on the mountains on the south side of Port au Prince, which sits in a valley between two ranges. It sits adjacent to Haiti’s wealthiest town, Petionville. Most of it was built during the term of President Aristide, who changed the area’s restrictive zoning laws to the chagrin of the wealthier neighbors. It sits only a few miles from the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake, but survived catastrophic damage because of certain factors having to do with the geology of the area, as did the adjoining Petionville. By far, it is not the worst slum in Haiti. If you look at the walls he is painting in the video, you will see a very low grade of concrete, which is used to construct the houses of the poor there. In the areas which were subjected to severe shaking by the earthquake, that concrete vaporized. It is the principal reason so many people died, as their homes just collapsed on top of them. For several months after the earthquake, the streets were covered in an inch or so of fine choking concrete dust. I don’t believe most of these houses have running water, electricity, or sewer. Cooking is done by charcoal fire which covers the entire city in smoke in summer. There is no glass in the windows in most of these homes, which means everyone is exposed to the air pollutants. Which is why Haiti has the highest level of Tuberculosis in the world, and an average life expectancy of only 59 years.

This video shows a bit of the indomitable spirit of the Haitian people.

 

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2015 in Haiti

 

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The History of “Zombies”

The origination of the concept of the “Walking Dead” came from Haiti, It really only has been adopted into the American lexicon in the past 100 years or so. So, on the night before Halloween – the true tale of Zombies…

The original “zombies” were Haitian slaves, condemned to be trapped inside their bodies as slaves forever.

The Tragic, Forgotten History of Zombies

The horror-movie trope owes its heritage to Haitian slaves, who imagined being imprisoned in their bodies forever.

In the original script for 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, the director George A. Romero refers to his flesh-eating antagonists as “ghouls.” Although the film is widely credited with launching zombies into the cultural zeitgeist, it wasn’t until its follow-up 10 years later, the consumerist nightmare Dawn of the Dead, that Romero would actually use the term. While making the first film, Romero understood zombies instead to be the undead Haitian slaves depicted in the 1932 Bela Lugosi horror film White Zombie.

By the time Dawn of the Dead was released in 1978 the cultural tide had shifted completely, and Romero had essentially reinvented the zombie for American audiences. The last 15 years have seen films and TV shows including Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, World War Z, Zombieland, Life After Beth, iZombie, and even the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

But the zombie myth is far older and more rooted in history than the blinkered arc of American pop culture suggests. It first appeared in Haiti in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the country was known as Saint-Domingue and ruled by France, which hauled in African slaves to work on sugar plantations. Slavery in Saint-Domingue under the French was extremely brutal: Half of the slaves brought in from Africa were worked to death within a few years, which only led to the capture and import of more. In the hundreds of years since, the zombie myth has been widely appropriated by American pop culture in a way that whitewashes its origins—and turns the undead into a platform for escapist fantasy.

The original brains-eating fiend was a slave not to the flesh of others but to his own. The zombie archetype, as it appeared in Haiti and mirrored the inhumanity that existed there from 1625 to around 1800, was a projection of the African slaves’ relentless misery and subjugation. Haitian slaves believed that dying would release them back to lan guinée, literally Guinea, or Africa in general, a kind of afterlife where they could be free. Though suicide was common among slaves, those who took their own lives wouldn’t be allowed to return to lan guinée. Instead, they’d be condemned to skulk the Hispaniola plantations for eternity, an undead slave at once denied their own bodies and yet trapped inside them—a soulless zombie.

After the Haitian Revolution in 1804 and the end of French colonialism, the zombie became a part of Haiti’s folklore. The myth evolved slightly and was folded into the Voodoo religion, with Haitians believing zombies were corpses reanimated by shamans and voodoo priests. Sorcerers, known as bokor, used their bewitched undead as free labor or to carry out nefarious tasks. This was the post-colonialism zombie, the emblem of a nation haunted by the legacy of slavery and ever wary of its reinstitution. As the UC Irvine professor Amy Wilentz has pointed out in her writing on zombies, on several occasions after the revolution Haiti teetered on the brink of reinstating slavery. The zombies of the Haitian Voodoo religion were a more fractured representation of the anxieties of slavery, mixed as they were with occult trappings of sorcerers and necromancy. Even then, the zombie’s roots in the horrors of slavery were already facing dilution.
It was in this form—Voodoo bokor and black magic—that the Haitian myth first crossed paths with American culture, in the aforementioned White Zombie. Although the film doesn’t begin to transform the undead in the way that Romero’s films and the subsequent zombie industrial complex would, it’s notable for its introduction of white people as interlopers in the zombie legend. It would take another few decades or so, but eventually the memory of Haiti’s colonialist history and the suffering it wrought—millions of Africans worked into the grave—would be excised from the zombie myth for good…

Which is a shame, because the zombie is such a potent symbol. For example, there’s a clear connection between the zombie of slave-driven Saint-Domingue and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s recent exploration of black disembodiment—the body under constant threat of capture, imprisonment, and murder. For Haitian slaves, the invention of the zombie was proof that the abuse they suffered was in a way more powerful than life itself—they had imagined a scenario in which they continued to be slaves even after death. In Between the World and Me, observing a young boy in front of a 7-Eleven, Coates writes, “This was a war for the possession of his body and that would be the war of his whole life.” The same declaration could be transported 1400 miles and 300 years and still hold true.

Instead American pop culture has used the zombie, fraught as it is with history, as a form of escapism, rather than a vehicle to explore its own past or current fears. Writing for GreenCine, Liz Cole is onto something when she says that, whatever their allegorical shadow, zombies are perhaps “indulging our post-apocalyptic fantasies” above all. Elmo Keep notes in The Awl how pop culture tends to romanticize depictions of the end of the world: In these situations, “Petty frustrations and mundane realities of real life all disappear, as do the complexities.” And so the zombie apocalypse isn’t an outlet for fears but for fantasies, functioning as an escape hatch into a world with higher dramatic stakes, fewer people, and the chance to reinvent oneself, for better or worse….Read the Whole Article Here

 

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