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Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction

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UN "Behind Schedule" In Shelter, New Campaign Begins Print
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 16:33
The Washington Post reports today on the UN and Haitian Government beginning a campaign to shelter those in need before the rainy season begins:
In the coming weeks, the United Nations, in conjunction with the government and other relief organizations, will begin a communication effort to reach the displaced population, including radio, text messages, television news and even a television soap opera to drive home the point that masses of people must be relocated.
Read more...

 

 
Haitian Government Must Not be Bypassed in Relief and Reconstruction Efforts Print
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 13:46
The Global Health blog at Change.org yesterday reported on how international NGOs have largely bypassed the Haitian health ministry in their relief efforts:
In advance of a March 31 donors' conference on Haiti, health officials are scrambling to assemble a better picture of the country's needs -- but the bulk of relief groups aren't exactly cooperating. To assist with medium- and long-term planning, Haiti's Ministry of Health has required all new organizations arriving in Haiti to provide information about how many people would be on the ground, what their skill sets were and for how long they'll stay. Yet even that rudimentary information has been hard to come by.
This situation is not unique to the health sector. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and Haitian President Rene Preval have both made similar statements. Reuters reported that Bellerive said:
"We don't know who has given money to NGO's (nongovernmental organizations) and how much money have they given. ... At the moment, we can't do any coordination or have any coherent policies for giving to the population."
Preval, in an interview with the Miami Herald noted that while millions have been pledged, very little has gone to the Haitian Government. An AP analysis of aid in the aftermath of the quake found that only one cent of every aid dollar went to the Haitian Government.
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Over 200,000 Face Risk of Flooding; No Housing Solution for Hurrican Season Print
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 13:14
AFP reports today that the UN considers 218,000 Haitians to be at risk of flooding as the rainy season begins:
Two months after arguably the worst natural disaster of modern times, Haiti faces further calamity as more than 200,000 quake survivors camp in putrid tent cities at risk of major flooding.

Heavy rains fell in Port-au-Prince on Monday, and flooding has already killed at least 13 in other areas of Haiti. The Shelter Cluster plans to have around 93% of those in need of shelter equipped with atleast a tarp or tent by May 1, but with the hurricane season beginning in June it will be impossible to provide adequate shelter to deal with the bigger storms. The Red Cross said today that most people will still have only temporary shelter by the time the hurricane season begins, according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur:

However, more durable solutions would not be ready by June, said Pablo Medina, a member of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies.

Instead, communal hurricane shelters were being considered as the only viable option, with the majority of those made homeless after the quake expected to still be living in temporary tents and similar units.
 
New York Times: Relief Efforts Inadequate Print
Monday, 15 March 2010 16:07
Last week a New York Times editorial criticized the relief efforts in Haiti:
But after nearly two months, it’s not enough. Only half of those displaced have received even the crudest means of emergency shelter: plastic tarps and tents that will hardly protect them when floods start in earnest next month, and the hurricanes come in June. In hundreds of crowded settlements around the country, like the ones sheltering more than 600,000 in Port-au-Prince, food, water, medical care and security remain spotty.

Large swaths of the earthquake zone remain untouched by aid. They are choking in rubble, and trucks and volunteers have barely begun to scratch out safe places in the wreckage for people to live.
The Times urges more coordination with local groups:
There is a burning need to tap the energies of Haitians — not just the devastated national government. That means at the grass-roots, church, business and neighborhood groups that know the country, speak its languages, and are deeply committed to its rebirth.
To read the entire article, click here.
 
Agricultural Support Needed, But Who From? Print
Monday, 15 March 2010 15:45
*This post was edited slightly for accuracy.

The FAO and other experts have warned that support for Haiti's agricultural sector is key to increasing food security and ensuring recovering from the earthquake.  Despite this, the agricultural program remains only 20% funded, according to OCHA.

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf traveled to Haiti over the weekend and began distributing seeds and fertilizers to farmers. By June the FAO "plans to reach 180,000 smallholder farming families with 1,500 tonnes of seeds and fertilizers."

USAID is also collaborating with the Haitian government in support of the agricultural sector. According to USAID, "Last week, USAID signed an agreement with the Government of Haiti to identify USAID and its WINNER (Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources) project as a strategic partner in the Cul-de-Sac, Cabaret, Mirbalais, Archaie and Gonaives regions of Haiti. The project aims to prepare the maximum amount of land possible for planting in the next six weeks. WINNER will work with 200 farmer associations and train 800 "master farmers."

The "WINNER" program was signed in 2009, and is a five-year, $126 million program that is being implemented by Chemonics International.
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American Refugee Committee: "A Public Health Disaster Looms" Print
Monday, 15 March 2010 12:17
The American Refugee Committee (ARC) issued a press release last week marking two months since the earthquake. ARC "warns that many more people may die from the spread of diseases brought on by the fast-approaching rainy season."

The release continues:
“A public health disaster looms, and thousands more people are still in need of assistance,” said Daniel Wordsworth, American Refugee Committee President. “Many people still need shelter, and, with the incoming rains, there is a potential for many more deaths from diseases such as malaria, typhoid, and diarrheal diseases.”
To read the entire press release, click here.

 
TransAfrica Forum: "U.S. Relief Efforts in Haiti Are Not Being Effective" Print
Monday, 15 March 2010 09:36
On March 11, TransAfrica Forum responded to the United States Southern Command, who said that “The situation on the ground in terms of the medical situation has improved,” and that “demand for medical care is not exceeding the capacity of facilities on the ground.” TransAfrica Forum president, Nicole Lee, who was in Haiti last week said, "aid is still trickling and has not nearly met the need.” The statement continues, "as the world turns its attention to the country’s longer-term reconstruction, Haiti’s people still face immediate food, shelter and sanitation shortages, as well as a severe health care crisis."

To read the entire statement, click here.
 
AP Reports on Shelter: 2 Months On, "It's got the makings of a major disaster." Print
Friday, 12 March 2010 18:10
A new AP article describes the lack of progress on shelter on the two-month anniversary of the quake, as aid groups that say they’re ready to provide housing but haven’t been told where they can build yet, the Haitian government “has yet to relocate a single person”, and hundreds marched demanding something be done:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Trash and sewage are piling up at the squalid tent camps that hundreds of thousands have called home since Haiti's devastating earthquake — and with torrential rains expected any day, authorities are not even close to providing the shelters they promised.
Read more...

 

 
Is the US Overstating What it's Done for Shelter? Print
Thursday, 11 March 2010 15:50
The White House issued a press release yesterday detailing the US government's response to the earthquake in Haiti. The release included this:
USAID has provided 160,000 plastic sheets and 24,500 family size tents that will help 185,000 families out of the estimated 260,000 families in need of shelter assistance.
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The Politics of Aid Print
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 10:12

Jacqueline Charles reports for the The Miami Herald today on the politics of aid in Haiti. Charles notes that despite hundreds of thousands still without shelter, the "behind-the-scenes jockeying" by aid groups, NGOs and governments alike will only increase. Charles writes:

The battle includes aid groups known as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and U.N. agencies that want to be the chief humanitarian agencies, countries that are lobbying for a seat at the decision table, and leaders from around the world who fly in frequently making promises that have yet to be met.
Read more...

 

 
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