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Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction

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"Recognizing the Right of Haitians to Reparations" Print
Friday, 12 February 2010 15:28
Writing for The Nation yesterday, Naomi Klein makes the case that Haiti is actually a creditor, not a debtor. Therefore, she argues, to speak of debt cancellation is really only a step in the right direction.

Klein outlines three major sources of the West's debt to Haiti: The Slavery Debt, The Dictatorship Debt and The Climate Debt.

One could add that the United States, France, Canada, and the World Bank also owe Haiti for having deliberately destroyed the economy and de-stabilized the country from 2000-2004, in order to topple the elected government. Since this was done openly, including an international cut-off of vitally needed aid, has been documented, and is quite recent as compared to the previous debts cited by Klein, it should be of prime importance. The renowned medical journal, the Lancet, has estimated that the dictatorship installed after the 2004 coup murdered around 4000 people in the greater Port-au-Prince area alone. It also jailed officials and supporters of the constitutional government. The foreign governments, including the United States, who organized, funded, and contributed to this coup are also responsible for the violence that ensued.
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"Were the Victims Going to Rob the Teams of Their Shovels or Life Saving Devices?" Print
Friday, 12 February 2010 15:16
Taiwans' Central News Agency reports that a China Times Group reporter, Liu Ping, who traveled to Haiti to cover the earthquake was upset by some of the media coverage of the security situation:
"Everyone was trying to survive, because they were looking for food and water, " the Washington-based correspondent said. "If there was more empathy in news reporting, the perspective would be different." Liu also lashed out at peacekeeping troops in Haiti. He said the troops told Taiwan's second rescue team not to go outside because it was not safe, but what the reporter saw were people who were staring over airport walls at the relief goods they hoped to receive as soon as possible.
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Only 7.5% of Tents Requested are in Haiti Print
Friday, 12 February 2010 12:33
The head of an emergency commission to provide shelter, Charles Clermont, says only a limited number of the 200,000 tents requested by the government have been delivered. Agence Haitienne de Presse reported1 on February 10 that according to Clermont:
[T]he Haitian government has only received 49,198 of the 200,000 tents it has requested from the international community, and only 15,000 of these tents are available in Haiti as of today.
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The State Department's 10+ Year Plan for Haiti's Development Print
Thursday, 11 February 2010 19:15
The Miami Herald reported today that it has seen a copy of a U.S. plan - drafted by Secretary Clinton’s staff, and which the U.S. has presented to the Haitian government – for both Haiti’s short term and long-term relief and development.

The short-term is 18 months. This is the period of time over which an Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which the plan calls for, would oversee the “urgent early recovery”. The long term is 10 years. This is at least for how long the plan’s “Haitian Development Authority” would “coordinate billions in foreign assistance.”
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Increasing Frustration Over Lack of Aid Print
Thursday, 11 February 2010 16:17
While there has not been much coverage in major media of the protests taking place in Haiti, Reuters reports:
"...a noisy, early morning protest by several hundred Haitians at the U.N. mission headquarters brought into sharp focus simmering anger over the dire need for shelter..."
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The Rains Begin Print
Thursday, 11 February 2010 12:29
With hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Haitians living in make-shift camps, the lack of rain since the earthquake has been a relief. Today, however, Reuters reports that:
Heavy rain drenched earthquake survivors in the tent camps of the Haitian capital on Thursday, bringing a warning of fresh misery to come for the 1 million people living on the streets.
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Calls for Artistide's Return Print
Thursday, 11 February 2010 11:38
While Haiti continues to dig itself out of the rubble, and various individuals and groups lay out their ideas for reconstruction, there is a notable absence in Haiti. Ousted in 2004, the overwhelmingly popular Jean Bertrand Aristide is still in Pretoria, South Africa.  Yesterday, actor and activist Danny Glover, recently back from Pretoria, appeared on Democracy NOW! He was asked why Aristide has not yet returned:
Well, he’s mystified by that. You know, there’s been several calls for him to return. His party still—the Lavalas is still the largest party, that’s not participating, that’s not active in the electoral process. And yet, he’s dismayed by that, the fact that both—it seems as if the South African government and the United States are complicit in his not returning to the hemisphere.
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Port-au-Prince Residents Want a Say in Their Resettlement, As is Their Right Print
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 15:29
Most people in Port-au-Prince recently asked by Oxfam say they do not want to move to camps outside the city. The survey also shows that most people have received very little direct information about the Haitian government’s plans to move people to new camps, leading to uncertainty about the strategy. Yesterday, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive revealed that the government itself is unclear on its relocation plan.

Oxfam states
“If new camps are set-up then people should be not be forced to go. The camps should be safe to reduce criminality and protect vulnerable groups such as women and children. They should also be seen as temporary solutions not end up as long term slums outside the city limits.”
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HousAll Shelters to Haiti Print
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 15:30
CBC News reports that 1,200 HousAll shelters will be shipped to Haiti on Friday. The shelter "consists of plastic panels that pop into a steel frame" and will be used for medical clinics and daycares. The Founder of HousAll, Miles Kennedy is reported as saying:

"Two people can put them up with only one tool — a screwdriver," he said. "They'll withstand monsoon rains, near-hurricane winds and phenomenal snow loads."
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UNASUR Makes Commitment to Haiti Print
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 13:29
This week in Quito, Ecuador, heads of state from South American nations are meeting to discuss and coordinate Haitian relief efforts. Yesterday, the leaders endorsed a proposal to create a $100 Million fund, supplemented with another $200 Million from the Inter-American Development Bank.
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