Logistical nightmare for Haiti aid workers

14 January, 2010 — Salon.com

Country’s broken infrastructure makes help extremely hard to deliver

The U.N. says rescue workers and relief goods are pouring into Haiti from around the world, but aid workers are running into huge problems reaching people trapped under buildings or feeding hungry survivors.

U.N. spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs called quake-hit Haiti a logistical nightmare.

The World Food Program said Thursday that damage to Haiti’s port in the capital Port-au-Prince is preventing ship deliveries to quake-struck region. It said the city’s airport is open but straining to handle dozens of incoming flights of supplies and rescuers.

Desperate quake survivors, fearing more temblors, are also standing in the middle of roads and slowing the transport of food and other crucial aid.

The World Health Organization said heavy damage to at least eight Port-au-Prince hospitals is slowing doctors’ ability to treat the thousands of injured.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

BEIJING (AP) — Asian leaders cited their own experiences with natural disasters Thursday in offering help to quake-shattered Haiti as part of a massive international effort to alleviate the effects of the catastrophe.

Haitian officials have predicted a horrific death toll of more than 100,000 in the wake of the magnitude-7 quake Tuesday that left most of the capital Port-au-Prince in rubble.

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Haiti Newslinks 14-15 January, 2010

15 January, 2010 5:53pm

[I am updating this page as and when I get more newslinks and moving it to the top of the home page. The Ed.]

The Undercovered Country: Haiti as journalists have known it
For once, it seems that journalists are bristling on behalf of Haiti, a place usually painted by wariness and fear and resigned pity. Haitians themselves may be getting something like good press, no small development for the most maligned people in the hemisphere. The urgen…

Talking heads’ comments about Haiti draw fire from both sides
The catastrophic earthquake in Haiti has already elicited a number of controversial statements from some of America’s best-known talking heads. Rush Limbaugh, the Rev. Pat Robertson and Keith Olbermann generated outrage, from the left and the right, for comments that variou…

With Resources Limited, the Media Struggle to Convey Disaster
The Fox News correspondent Steve Harrigan is a veteran of the world’s worst calamities, but on television on Thursday afternoon, as he stood beside one of the piles of rubble that pockmark Port-au-Prince, Haiti, he broke down. He had watched a woman wailing in the street, h…

Destruction in Haiti Causes Array of Communications Difficulties
The devastating earthquake in Haiti has spurred an enormous mobilization of media personnel to the region. But the destruction has thrown up an array of practical and communications difficulties in an already technically lagging country. Fresh water is scarce. Cellular and …

What You’re Not Hearing About Haiti (But Should Be)
In the hours following Haiti’s devastating earthquake, CNN, the New York Times and other major news sources adopted a common interpretation for the severe destruction: the 7.0 earthquake was so devastating because it struck an urban area that was extremely over-populated an…

In Haiti, getting there the hardest part of getting the story
As the magnitude of destruction in Haiti unfolded Wednesday, U.S. television networks scrambled to get reporters into the devastated country, a task greatly complicated by the shaky security and broken infrastructure. With the air traffic control tower at the Port-au-Prince…

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Catastrophe in Haiti Ashley Smith

14 January, 2010 — SocialistWorker.org

Ashley Smith describes the natural and not-so-natural factors that contributed to the devastation when Haiti was struck by a strong earthquake.


A man carries an injured woman from the rubble after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince (Clarens Renois | AFP)

A DEVASTATING earthquake, the worst in 200 years, struck Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, laying waste to the city and killing untold numbers of people. The quake measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, and detonated more than 30 aftershocks, all more than 4.5 in magnitude, through the night and into Wednesday morning.

The earthquake toppled poorly constructed houses, hotels, hospitals and even the capital city’s main political buildings, including the presidential palace. The collapse of so many structures sent a giant cloud into the sky, which hovered over the city, raining dust down onto the wasteland below.

According to some estimates, more than 100,000 people may have died, in a metropolis of 2 million people. Those that survived are living in the streets, afraid to return inside any building that remains standing.

Around the world, Haitians struggled to contact their family and friends in the devastated country. But most could not reach their loved ones since phone lines were down throughout the count

What you can do
The American solidarity organization Haiti Action is committed to raising money for Haiti’s grassroots movement–including labor unions, women’s groups, educators and human rights activists, support committees for prisoners, and agricultural cooperatives–to distribute to those in need.

You can make a donation to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund online.

One person who did reach relatives, Garry Pierre-Pierre, editor and publisher of the Brooklyn-based Haitian Times, stated, ‘People are in shock. They’re afraid to go out in the streets for obvious reasons, and most of them can’t get inside their homes. A lot of people are sitting or sleeping in front of the rubble that used to be their homes.’

President René Préval issued an emergency appeal for humanitarian aid. He described the scene in Port-au-Prince as ‘unimaginable. Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed. There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them. All the hospitals are packed with people. It’s a catastrophe.’

The weak Préval government was unable to respond to the crisis, and the United Nations–which occupies Haiti with close to 9,000 troops–was completely unprepared to manage the situation. Many UN leaders and troops died in buildings that collapsed, including their own headquarters.

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…We were told we were fighting terrorists. The real terrorist was me and the real terrorism is this occupation…

A SPEECH BY WAR VETERAN [An Repentant War Criminal]


more about “AMAZING SPEECH BY WAR VETERAN“, posted with vodpod
“…I tried hard to be proud of my “service”, but all I could feel was shame. Racism can no longer mask the reality of the occupation. These were people. These were human beings. I since have been plagued by guilt anytime I see an  elderly man, like the one who could not walk who we rolled-on on a stretcher and told the “Iraqi” police to take him away. I feel guilt anytime I see a mother with her children…I feel guilt anytime I see a young girl like the one I grabbed by the arm and dragged into the street. We were told we were fighting terrorists. The real terrorist was me and the real terrorism is this occupation. Racism within the military has long been an important tool to justify the destruction and the occupation of another country. It has long been used to justify the killing, the subjugation and torture of another people. Racism is a vital weapon employed…It is a more important weapon than a rifle, a tank, a bomber, or a battleship. It is more destructive than an artillery shell, or a bunker buster, or a tomahawk missile…without racism soldiers will realize that they have more in common with the Iraqi people than they do with the billionaires who send us to war. I threw families on to the streets in Iraq, only to come home and find families thrown out on the streets in this “country”…Our enemies are NOT 5000 miles away , they are right here at home…”

The West’s role in Haiti's plight By Peter Hallward

14 January, 2009 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[An earlier version of this article first appeared in the British Guardian. This slightly updated version appears in Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Peter Hallward’s permission.]

If we are serious about assisting this devastated land we must stop trying to control and exploit it.

Any large city in the world would have suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on the scale of the one that ravaged Haiti’s capital city on the afternoon of January 13, but it’s no accident that so much of Port-au-Prince now looks like a war zone. Much of the devastation wreaked by this latest and most calamitous disaster to befall Haiti is best understood as another thoroughly manmade outcome of a long and ugly historical sequence.

The country has faced more than its fair share of catastrophes. Hundreds died in Port-au-Prince in an earthquake back in June 1770, and the huge earthquake of May 7, 1842, may have killed 10,000 in the northern city of Cap ­Haitien alone. Hurricanes batter the island on a regular basis, most recently in 2004 and again in 2008; the storms of September 2008 flooded the town of Gonaïves and swept away much of its flimsy infrastructure, killing more than a thousand people and destroying many thousands of homes. The full scale of the destruction resulting from this earthquake may not become clear for several weeks. Even minimal repairs will take years to complete, and the long-term impact is incalculable.

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Statewatch News Online – 15 January 2010

15 January 2010 — Statewatch.org/

Support Statewatch’s work: Join Friends of Statewatch: www.statewatch.org/fosw.html

1.   EU: European Security Research and Innovation Forum: ESRIF Final Report
2.   Italy: After the racist violence in Italy: a Migreurop mission visits the area
3.   UK: House of Commons Justice Committee: Cutting crime: the case for justice reinvestment
4.   EU: Background documents: inc FRONTEXT Specialised branches, “Friends of VIS” & EU-NATO
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14 January, 2010 MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

On December 14, The Times announced that it had obtained documents about Iran’s nuclear programme that revealed “a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator. This is the component of a nuclear weapon that triggers the explosion”. (Leading article, ‘Explosive Deceit; The exposure of Iran’s programme to test an essential component of a nuclear weapon confirms a pattern of duplicity by a bellicose regime,’ The Times, December 14, 2009)

The Times had no doubts about the authenticity or significance of the document:

“The discovery is an indictment both of Iran’s duplicity and of the West’s complacency… regardless of divisions within the regime, Iran has sought a nuclear capability. Its efforts have been accelerated in the past decade. The prospect of an Iranian bomb is alarming.” (Ibid)

These expression of certainty about the obvious credibility of the document suggested we were here reading, not journalism, but propaganda, as did the use of the future simple tense in the following passage: “a nuclear-armed Iran +will+ feel little constraint in supporting its terrorist proxies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, with money and materiel”. (our emphasis)

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Help Haiti: The Unforgiven Country Cries Out By Chris Floyd

13 January, 2010 — Empire Burlesque


Via Mark Crispin Miller, the Center for Constitutional Rights points to some venues for getting help to the people of Haiti: Partners in Health and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. You can find several more in this listing from the New York Times.

The relentlessly maintained, deliberately inflicted political and economic ruin of Haiti has a direct bearing on the amount of death and devastation that the country is suffering today after the earthquake. It will also greatly cripple any recovery from this natural disaster. As detailed below, Washington’s rapacious economic policies have destroyed all attempts to build a sustainable economy in Haiti, driving people off the land and from small communities into packed, dangerous, unhealthy shantytowns, to try to eke out a meager existence in the sweatshops owned by Western elites and their local cronies. All attempts at changing a manifestly unjust society have been ruthlessly suppressed by the direct or collateral hand of Western elites.

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