The Truth about Haiti's Suffering By Finian Cunningham

14 January, 2010 – Global Research

Even in its hour of utter devastation, Haiti, the western hemisphere’s poorest country, teaches the rest of the world some valuable truths.

This Caribbean island nation of nine million people has right now a third of its population cut off from basic supplies of food, water, medicine or shelter. In the blink of an eye, the earthquake that hit the country has buried a capital city of three million people under rubble for which the eventual death toll may be between 100,000 and 500,000. Just like that.

Like shutting the proverbial stable door after the horse has bolted, the US and other world powers are promising to send emergency aid to Haiti. Well intentioned no doubt. But where was the aid and economic development assistance to Haiti – over half the population live on $1 a day and 80 per cent are classed as poor – in the years before this calamity?

Haiti’s poverty – as for other poor countries hit by natural disasters – leaves its people wide open to the kind of devastation that has befallen them. And make no mistake, Haiti’s poverty is not just bad luck or something inherently faulty about its natural resources and people. The country has been kept underdeveloped by decades of political and economic interference from Washington to ensure that this former slave colony continues to serve as a cheap source of agricultural exports to the US and as a labour sweatshop for American corporations making textiles and other consumer goods.

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How World Bank policies led to famine in Haiti

17 April, 2008 — The Real News Network

TRNN REPLAY – Raj Patel: International trade rules have ravaged Haiti’s domestic food production

Food riots in Haiti caused the deaths of five people last week, including a UN peacekeeper, and forced the country’s prime minister out of office. The country is “a place of terrible turmoil,” Raj Patel, of UC- Berkeley’s Center for African Studies, tells The Real News Network. Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, lays the blame for Haiti’s dire situation at the feet of the global trade system, which has forced Haitians to buy imported food staples, despite the existence of a once-robust agricultural economy.

more about “How World Bank policies led to famine…“, posted with vodpod

Haiti Devastated by Largest Earthquake in 200 Years, Thousands Feared Dead

13 January, 2010 — Democracy Now

Haiti has been devastated by a massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake, the largest to strike the Caribbean nation in more than two centuries. Buildings have collapsed. Fires rage in the streets. The extent of the disaster is still unknown, but there are fears thousands of people may have died and tens of thousands homeless. We get the latest on Haiti, a country rocked by natural as well as political crises. We speak with journalist Kim Ives of Haiti Liberté and Haitian American novelist Edwidge Danticat, her family at the epicenter of the quake. [includes rush transcript]


Kim Ives, journalist with the newspaper Haiti Liberté.

Edwidge Danticat, Haitian American novelist.
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Haiti Liberté

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: The Caribbean nation of Haiti has been devastated by a massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake, causing what’s being described as a catastrophe of major proportions.

The extent of the disaster is still unclear, but there are fears thousands of people may have died and tens of thousands lost their homes. In the capital Port-au-Prince, a city of two million people, thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed, including hospitals, schools and hotels. The United Nations headquarters was also reported to be severely damaged, and many of its staff are reported missing.

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HAITI EARTHQUAKE LIVE BLOG: Bodies Lying in the Streets of Port-au-Prince By Jason Leopold

13 January 2010

3:42 pm PDT: Another aftershock with a magnitude of 5.1 has reportedly taken place between Port-au-Prince and Leogane at 5:21 pm EDT.

3:35 pm PDT: CNN has footage of bodies lying in the streets of Port-au-Prince. The cable network’s Gary Tuchman reports that “no emergency officials in sight, and residents are watching the flies to find out where to dig in the rubble.”

2:11 pm PDT: We’re taking a break from live-blogging for a bit to cover some other developments. But be sure to check back within the hour for updates.

2:03: pm PDT: Felix Augustin, Haiti’s general counsel to the UN, told CNN that the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, “is flattened.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who is reporting live from Haiti, viewed Port-au-Prince from a helicopter and said the sight was “incredibly shocking” and “eerie.”

1:48 pm PDT: At a State Department briefing earlier today, USAID Ambassador Raj Shah said the federal government has “two urban search-and-rescue units on their way, both are units with 72 individuals, people who have significant training and significant equipment and technical capacity to conduct search and rescue in urban settings, to drill through and clear as much as is possible rubble in order to try and identify individuals that can be saved and continue with the mission of saving lives.”

“We’re working aggressively across the various agencies of the federal government, including FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, to identify additional units that will be able to deploy as rapidly as possible. And we’re working hand-in-hand with the Department of Defense and General Fraser to make sure that we have the transport and logistics to get these assets into the country and efficiently operating as quickly as possible.”

Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said the US has about 172 embassy personnel in Haiti and as of 8 am EDT “just about all of them” were accounted for. Mills said there eight embassy personnel who were wounded and four who suffered serious injuries.

1:28 pm PDT: This is a video of a rescue attempt at a UN building in Haiti where a UN official said as many as 100 people are still trapped beneath the rubble.

Haiti Earthquake: With Aid Groups Already There, Relief Efforts Ramp Up Quickly By Sara Miller Llana

13 January, 2010 – Radtimes

The International Red Cross estimates as many as three million people may have been left homeless by Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti. With daylight, a clearer assessment of the scale of the challenge ahead.

Haiti is reeling from a 7.0 earthquake that hit 10 miles of its coast early Tuesday evening. Poor communications are making it difficult to immediately assess the extent of the damage and fatalities, but as daylight comes, the scale of the quake’s destruction is slowly coming into focus.

International Red Cross spokesman Paul Conneally said an estimated 3 million people may have been affected by the quake and that it would take a day or two for a clear picture of scope of the destruction to emerge

Thousands of structures – from government and United Nations buildings to the millions of shacks that line the impoverished nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince – have been reduced to rubble.

An official Chinese newspaper says eight Chinese peacekeepers were killed and that 10 others are missing. France’s foreign minister said the head of the UN peacekeeping mission was apparently among the dead.

Few countries are as vulnerable to natural disaster as Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere. Wracked by political instability and poverty, and hammered by a series of hurricanes in 2008, Haiti faces a tough recovery ahead. But as the nation digs itself out of the confusion and rubble, there is a bright spot: with the UN peacekeeping force already on the ground and an army of international aid organizations with a long presence in Haiti, recovery efforts might be more coordinated and well-oiled than in other disaster zones.

“The good news is that there are many, many organizations in Haiti,” says Elizabeth Furst Frank, vice president of global program operations at AmeriCares, which is sending medical aid to Haiti, where the US-based group has had a presence for 25 years. “So you’ll see a faster response faster than in Myanmar after the cyclone, because so many NGOs are well-established and will be responding in any number of ways.”

The earthquake, reported as the worst in Haiti in 200 years. Most of the initial images, such as photos of the collapsed national palace in the capital, have been sent through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

Pooja Bhatia, a correspondent for the Institute of Current World Affairs in Port-Au-Prince, says that houses have been flattened – including those next to hers – and that telephone lines are down and transportation cut off. But she says people are not panicked. There is “lots of singing actually and waiting,” she said via e-mail Tuesday night. “Many are outside, under the stars.”

Bernice Robertson, a senior analyst in Haiti for International Crisis Group, said in an e-mail that her colleague “observed major damage to several buildings, which crumbled along the Delmas Road, a major street in the Metropolitan area. He observed scores of people injured who could not help themselves. The police and [UN group] MINUSTAH are out in their numbers but the situation is overwhelming,” she wrote.

In Washington, US officials held an emergency meeting on its response. “We stand ready to assist the people of Haiti,” President Obama said. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said “the United States is offering our full assistance to Haiti and others in the region. We will be providing both civilian and military disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.”

Ms. Furst Frank says the response will be slowed by the absence of a commercial market in the country – such as a network of megastores to support recovery efforts – and few government resources. “Haiti is extremely vulnerable to any disaster because the population lives so close to the edge,” she says.

But that the non-profit infrastructure in place to help Haiti’s woes will certainly make a difference. Special UN envoy Bill Clinton has worked over the past year to coordinate efforts of local grassroots organization, she says. Haiti has also long been dependent on foreign aid and NGOs. UNICEF has been working in Haiti since 1949. Doctors Without Borders has teams on the ground. USAID said it will be sending up to 72 people to help in rescue and recovery efforts.

And peace-keeping missions will also be crucial. “The UN peacekeeping force will give Haiti an advantage,” says Mark Schneider, the senior vice president for International Crisis Group in Washington. “It permits them to respond relatively quickly.”


Stand with the people of Haiti! – What the U.S. government isn't telling you

14 January, 2010 – A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

haiti-earthquake.jpgWe at the ANSWER Coalition extend our heartfelt solidarity to all of our Haitian sisters and brothers, as well as to all those who have friends and family there, as Haiti copes with the destruction and grief of the massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday.

All of us are joining in the outpouring of solidarity from people all over the hemisphere and world who are sending humanitarian aid and assistance to the people of Haiti.

At such a moment, it is also important to put this catastrophe into a political and social context. Without this context, it is impossible to understand both the monumental problems facing Haiti and, most importantly, the solutions that can allow Haiti to survive and thrive. Hillary Clinton said today, “It is biblical, the tragedy that continues to daunt Haiti and the Haitian people.” This hypocritical statement that blames Haiti’s suffering exclusively on an “act of God” masks the role of U.S. and French imperialism in the region.

In this email message, we have included some background information about Haiti that helps establish the real context:

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Haiti Report for January 13, 2010: Haiti Chief Says Thousands May Be Dead

13 January, 2010 — KONPAY

The Haiti Report is a compilation and summary of events as described in Haiti and international media prepared by Konbit Pou Ayiti/KONPAY. It does not reflect the opinions of any individual or organization. This service is intended to create a better understanding of the situation in Haiti by presenting the reader with reports that provide a variety of perspectives on the situation. Please visit our website to learn more about KONPAY and Haiti:

To make a donation to support this service, visit our site or mail personal checks to: Konbit Pou Ayiti, 7 Wall Street, Gloucester, MA, 01930.

– U.S. Southern Command will deploy a team of 30 people to Haiti
– U.S. to halt deportations of undocumented Haitians due to earthquake
– Haiti Chief Says Thousands May Be Dead
– Aid Workers Scramble Amid Haiti’s Chaos

– Website to look for loved ones in PAP:
– Photos of damage in Jacmel:

U.S. Southern Command will deploy a team of 30 people to Haiti:
The team, which includes U.S. military engineers, operational planners, and a command and control group and communication specialists, will arrive in Haiti today on two C-130 Hercules aircraft.    The team will work with U.S. Embassy personnel as well as Haitian, United Nations and international officials to assess the situation and facilitate follow on U.S. military support. Other immediate response activities include;

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Haiti Newslinks 13-14 January, 2010

14 January, 2010

New York Times
Once again, the world weeps with Haiti. The earthquake that struck on
Tuesday did damage on a scale that scarcely could have been imagined had we
all not …

150 UN staff members remain trapped under rubble in Haiti
Washington Post
Haiti was rocked on Jan. 12 by the largest earthquake ever recorded in the
area. The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 and was centered
about 10 …

US Mobilizes to Send Assistance to Haiti
New York Times
Alex Brandon/Associated Press In Virginia, rescuers with the United States
Agency for International Development headed to a plane for Haiti on
Wednesday. …

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