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Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction

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TransAfrica Forum Report on Forced Evictions, Neglect in Camps Print
Friday, 16 April 2010 09:21
TransAfrica Forum published a report today from their partners in the Haiti Response Coalition documenting forced evictions and neglect in IDP camps over the last week. The first situation occured at an encampment in Caradeux Delmas 75, Port-au-Prince, which consists of four conjoined camps; Camp Benediction, CCTT, Camp Canaan and Refugee Camp. The Coalition reports:
The Refugee Camp community members reports that they did not receive warning before the large Conseil Nationale Equipements (CNE) bulldozers and graters came to their community with Haitian National Police escorts late on Sunday evening 04APR10, shorts after 7:00pm. With consistency, numerous individuals reported that the uniformed officers first threatened the families with violence if they did not leave their homes immediately. The assesment team was informed that anyone who argued was then forced out with violence. The use of batons were reported, and firearms were discharged into the air.
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Deputy UN Secretary General: "Situation Remains Dire" Print
Thursday, 15 April 2010 16:57
Deputy UN Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro, speaking to reports at the UN upon returning from a visit to Haiti said that, "Though commendable progress has been made there since Jan. 12, when the earthquake struck, the situation remains dire," reports Xinhua.

Over three months after the earthquake and with the rainy season already beginning, there is still much to be done. On April 13 Red Cross Federation spokesman Alex Wynter said that the number in need of shelter was raised from 1.3 million to 1.5 million. This means there are still some 300,000 people without shelter. Further, as OCHA noted in their most recent update only about a quarter of households have received any rope or other materials to secure their shelters, which "remains a vital gap in the response" as many thousands of shelters will need to be strengthened for the rains. The rains are often too strong for the tarps, as has been documented by video, and as reported by the International Federation of the Red Cross earlier in the week.
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Increasing Reports of Forced Evictions at IDP Camps Print
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 14:12
AFP reported yesterday on concerns that the homeless are being forcibly evicted from their settlements. This echoes reports from last week on efforts to force those staying at the Saint Louis de Gonzague school off the grounds. AFP writes:
The aid group Action Against Hunger on Sunday slammed Haiti's forced evictions of hundreds of homeless quake victims from the pitch of the country's national stadium.
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Concerns About Shelter and Sanitation Persist Three Months After Earthquake Print
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 11:26
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released their updated Situation Report today (PDF). The report reveals that the distribution of shelter materials has reached 90 percent of those in need, and is on track to reach 100 percent by the May 1 goal. Nevertheless, worries remain that even with tarps, the rainy season could still cause an immense disaster. OCHA notes that:
With only 20,243 tool kits reported as distributed and 81,000 households with ropes and fixings provision, this remains a vital gap in the response. A large number of emergency shelters constructed will require strengthening for the rainy season.
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Sean Penn: Agencies Must Spend Money Allocated to Them, Act Decisively Ahead of Rainy Season Print
Friday, 09 April 2010 09:52
On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 last night they looked at relocation plans, asking the important question, why have things moved so slowly? First CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman travels to the first planned relocation site, which will open on Sunday. Tuchman asks a member of the presidential task force why things have taken so long:
"It ought to be done faster. But you have to coordinate it with the U.S. Army, the Corps of Engineers, with the U.N. people, with the European community, with the Oxfam, all a bunch of actors, together."
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OAS to Send Election Mission to Haiti - But Will They Meet With Fanmi Lavalas and Other Sidelined Parties? Print
Thursday, 08 April 2010 12:43
The Organization of American States (OAS) announced that they will be sending election observers to prepare and monitor elections in Haiti. Legislative elections had been planned for February, however have been postponed due to the earthquake. Presidential elections are set to take place in the fall as Preval's term ends in February 2011.
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Congressional Trip to Haiti: "We Didn't See the Red Cross Anywhere" Print
Thursday, 08 April 2010 11:12
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told a Florida radio station upon returning from a congressional trip to Haiti that, "we didn't see the Red Cross anywhere, at all," reports Michael O'Brien for Politico's Blog Briefing Room. O'Brien writes:
The Florida congresswoman said that what she saw gave her pause in recommending the Red Cross as a venue for donations. "I wouldn't say that," she said when asked if the Red Cross was the best place for listeners to donate, adding later that she could not "unequivocally" recommend the relief group.

Millions of dollars have flowed into Haiti since a large earthquake devastated its capital, Port au Prince, in late January.
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Using Food Aid to Support, Not Harm, Haitian Agriculture Print
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 14:42
A new issue brief from CEPR (PDF) proposes that international donors seeking to support Haiti’s agricultural sector and provide food to those in need could help Haiti become more self-sufficient by purchasing the entire Haitian rice crop over the next two years. The paper finds that buying up all of Haiti’s rice should be close to the amount of food aid for rice that the international community is likely to provide this year, and would provide a tremendous boost to Haitian farmers, who currently are unable to compete with low-cost rice imports from the U.S.
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NBC Nightly News Report on the American Red Cross in Haiti Print
Wednesday, 07 April 2010 12:31
NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams reported on the American Red Cross in Haiti last week. The American Red Cross has received almost $400 million in donations since the earthquake, but in previous disasters has come under fire for how it allocates its funding. NBC correspondent Robert Bazell points out that a Government Accountability Office report from 2007 found that "the Red Cross lacked adequate plans for providing shelter and temporary housing to victims of catastrophic disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita." Razell also points out that after 9/11, the American Red Cross came under fire from Congress after they diverted donations to their general operating fund.
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Unions Urge Respect for Workers' Rights in Haiti Reconstruction Print
Monday, 05 April 2010 12:55
James Parks posts on the AFL-CIO blog that trade unionists from all over the world are meeting this week in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to discuss rebuilding Haiti. Parks writes "Unions have already made it clear the reconstruction and future development of Haiti must include social protections, creation of decent work and respect for workers’ rights."
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