Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

02.22 Report: Climate Denier to Lead White House Climate Panel [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

02.22 The Uninhabitable Earth [Lots more important than all other problems put together]

02.22 Europe faces 'biodiversity oblivion' after collapse in French birds, experts warn

02.22 World's food supply under 'severe threat' from loss of biodiversity

02.22 Venezuela crisis threatens disease epidemic across continent - experts

02.21 'Moment of reckoning': US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports

02.20 Young climate strikers can win their fight. We must all help

02.20 Voyage to the Garbage Patch: the female sailors taking on plastic

02.19 Bees brought Bavarians together. And they have a lesson for us all

02.19 Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can't humans see the writing on the wall? [Fear that Trump & Fox News incite makes us avoid unpleasant information we need to know]

02.18 Tesla big battery is holding its own in a burgeoning energy storage market

02.18 Trump administration condemned over delaying action on toxic drinking water

02.16 New experimental drug rapidly repairs age-related memory loss and improves mood

02.16 Toxic black snow covers Siberian coalmining region [0:49 video; If its killing us, stop doing it]

02.16 Renewable energy will be world's main power source by 2040, says BP [But in America's capitalistic bubble, bribed-to-be-biased media and government defy reality]

02.16 My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back

02.16 US coastal businesses hit by everyday impact of climate change, study shows

02.16 What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food [What does inaction tell us about capitalism and our government?]

02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]

02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]

02.12 Biggest offshore windfarm to start UK supply this week

02.12 Scientists Are Totally Rethinking Animal Cognition

02.12 Politicians are complicit in the killing of our insects – we will be next

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

02.22 So How's Your Tax Refund? Thanks to GOP Tax Scam, Big Banks Made Extra $28 Billion Last Year

02.21 Why Bernie Sanders Matters More Than People Think

02.21 Bezos Says Amazon Drones Ready to Deliver Mueller Report to Every American Household

02.21 Devin Nunes Was Trump’s Mole Inside the Gang of Eight

02.21 Alec Baldwin fears for family's safety after Trump 'retribution' threats [0:40 video]

02.20 Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him

02.20 ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates [If you can sense them, block them!]

02.20 The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet

02.20 Why Bernie Sanders' radicalism can take out Trump

02.20 Why vote for Sanders when you can have Elizabeth Warren instead?

Justice Matters

02.19 California Leads 16 States Suing to Block Trump Border Plan

02.19 Fighting pollution: Toledo residents want personhood status for Lake Erie [Hurrah!]

High Crimes?

02.20 Despite the slaughter in Yemen, Britain is still chasing arms sales [and the Great-Again-America is too...Capitalism without morality is horrible]

02.16 Elliott Abrams Defends War Crimes As Happening Back In The ’80s When Everyone Was Doing It

Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism

02.21 Historian who confronted Davos billionaires leaks Tucker Carlson rant

02.20 A Centuries-Old Idea Could Revolutionize Climate Policy

International & Futurism
Sanders Has an Advantage, and It’s Not [Just] About Economics

02.22 When multilateralism crumbles, so does our rules-based order [this enables easier corruption by banks and oligarchs and may result in complete societal breakdown, chaos and war]

02.22 Trump has turned foreign aid into shabby political theatre [Psychopaths are a sub-human species without empathy or morals.]

02.21 John Oliver Compares Brexit ‘Disaster’ to Will Smith’s Genie in Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ (Video) [21:26 video; we’re approaching an Idiocracy-type of society, where stupidity is “normal”]

02.20 House report lays bare White House feud over Saudi nuclear push [Its hard to keep up with all the criminal crap going on...]

02.20 My grandfather was a Nazi. I’ve seen why we need the EU

02.19 Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in

02.19 Renewables need urgent investment to ease Australia's transmission bottlenecks, experts warn

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Print view: Life in Devastated Haiti
COMMENTARY:

Life in Devastated Haiti

Because of world indifference, planned reconstruction is for profit, leaving poor Haitians on their own to survive.

by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, 18 September 2010

Mother and child in tent city
Mother and child in tent city.
Haiti remains in emergency. For growing numbers, aid is "too little, too late." It presents an enormous challenge for those who care, to "do better, in order to support the possibility of hope..."

Nine months after the January 12 earthquake, Haitians still have little relief. Over one and a half million left homeless continue struggling to survive, despite billions in aid raised or pledged. It's for development, predatory NGOs, not them. That's the problem, and they suffer as a result, little media attention paid to their plight.

On September 15, Los Angeles Times writer Joe Mozingo headlined, "No plan in sight for Haiti's homeless," saying:

Where to put them is contentious, reconstruction "hang(ing) on the potentially explosive issue" of who owns the land. For example, pre-quake, tenant farmers used to plant corn and sugar cane on a wealthy family's 20-acre parcel "below the city's main transmission lines of the Delmas 33 road."

"Now an estimated 25,000 people call it home," living in one of many temporary camps, poorly protected against heavy rain, severe weather or hurricanes. When security men try to evict them, they're chased off with "rocks, sticks and machetes."

"It's not like we're comfortable here," says Katlyne Camean. "Last night when it rained, I filled three buckets of water from my house. But no one is telling us where they want us to go. I don't want to go somewhere worse."

They're pitted against an indifferent government, woefully little aid, and conditions unacceptable for anyone, including inadequate food, poor sanitation, little safe drinking water, weather-beaten makeshift shelters, too little of everything needed, no resolution of their homelessness, and the world community turning a blind eye to their plight.

Rubble is everywhere, only 2% of it removed. On September 11, AP's Tamara Lush reported that Port-au-Prince is strewn with "cracked slabs, busted-up cinder blocks, half-destroyed buildings," demolished homes, and "pulverized concrete" on streets and sidewalks. "By some estimates, the quake left about 33 million cubic yards of debris in Port-au-Prince - more than seven times the amount of concrete" used for Hoover Dam.

Overall, it's little different from nine months ago, authorities offering excuses that don't hold water, including little heavy equipment, problems navigating some roads, and few dump sites to put rubble collected.

There's no master plan, says Eric Overvest, the UN Development Program's country director. Also, no one's in charge, Haitian architect Leslie Voltaire saying:

"Everybody is passing the blame on why things haven't happened yet. There should be one person in charge. Resettlement has not even begun yet, and it can't until the city has been cleared."

Allocating funding for other purposes and bureaucratic delays complicate things. Most of all, it's Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country, exploited ruthlessly for centuries. If a comparable quake struck San Francisco, restoration would begin at once. It takes time, money and commitment, available to well-off White communities, not poor Black ones.

Katrina-ravaged New Orleans residents understand, facing dire conditions five years later, those in Black communities on their own like millions of other poor Americans unaffected by natural disasters. In many respects, their lives are little different, given little aid during dire economic times.

Refugee International (RI) on Haiti

RI "advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises." Its challenge is helping 41 million world refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), living in limbo without citizenship rights.

Emilie Parry and Melanie Teff just returned from Haiti after conducting RI's second field assessment "of the humanitarian response and related protection issues..."

Parry's September 13 article titled, "Haiti: Emergency Paralysis" describes what she calls:

Haitians "caught up in a protracted state of emergency. In the way that a spinal cord injury's paralysis leads to bedsores, atrophy, and skin rot in the patient, the (poor) humanitarian response in Haiti feels paralyzed. The local community networks and linkages are atrophying, the spontaneous camps are developing bedsores, and the momentum, the window of opportunity within this emergency, may be turning to rot."

Why? Because of world indifference. Planned reconstruction is for profit, leaving poor Haitians on their own to survive, the world community indifferent to their plight.

RI spent time in Haiti shortly after the quake, reporting on March 2 "From the Ground Up," explaining the toll on survivors, their desperate need for everything, including "food, water, shelter and protection from abuse and exploitation." They need an enormous amount of humanitarian aid. It's pledged but not provided.

RI recommended linking humanitarian efforts to Haiti's civil society network, comprised of grassroots community-based organizations plus the well-established internal NGOs. Most, however, are more self-serving than for poor Haitians, a topic a previous article addressed.

RI said few needs so far were addressed, including little or no "coordination and communication between Haitian civil society and UN and international NGOs...." Grassroots locals were mostly shut out to give corporate and well-connected NGOs free reign to profit from the vast human misery.

Locals had "a hard time accessing meetings at the UN compound in Port-au-Prince" to be part of a coordinated response. RI also interviewed displaced Haitians "who expressed concern about security," especially women and children vulnerable to rape other violence, and abuse. Then and now, they also lacked minimal amounts of everything, RI saying:

"Most people who lost their homes sleep under makeshift dwellings of sheets and sticks providing little protection from rain," and none from hurricanes. "The sanitation in the camps does not meet minimal international standards. The need for shelter poses immense logistical challenges....intrinsically linked to land ownership and property rights," an issue the Preval government is doing nothing to resolve.

Affected Haitians then and now need everything they're not getting, receiving pathetically little of the pledged aid. "By all accounts, the leadership of the humanitarian country team is ineffectual. Following the earthquake, it took three weeks for the Humanitarian Coordinator to call a meeting with aid organizations."

Damage to affected and surrounding areas "have far-reaching implications that go beyond" reconstructing Port-au-Prince. The entire country needs help, mostly for its deeply impoverished, neglected and exploited people, the quake affected ones desperate for help, so far not forthcoming.

In her September 13 article, Parry said:

"....in every part, semi-open space or crossroads in Port-au-Prince and the environs, we see a gathering of quake-displaced persons, make-shift lean-tos (few donated), tents....packed closely together, filling every space. There are no latrines, no showers, no (minimal) SPHERE standards observed, and no communications with international or local agencies responding to the emergency."

Chaotic conditions have risen to "extreme heights." Everything needed is in short supply or not provided. Security is lacking, forcing women to sleep in shifts to protect them and others from rape and abuse. The problem for thousands of unaccompanied children is enormous.

Present day Haiti is like January's, except for "the overwhelming stench of sewage and garbage," and the toll on Haitians after months of neglect.

"Children and adults have developed skin rashes and infections due to the poor water and sanitary conditions in the camps. The tents and lean-tos are tattered and torn; hundreds blew away in the recent storms, none remain dry (when it) rains, and it is the middle of hurricane season."

Across the city and surrounding areas, grassroots networks "are weakening," without enough resources, support, or ability to work with established NGOs or world humanitarian organizations.

Of the 1,000 - 1,300 camps, only six are policed by UNPOL/MINISTAH - there but doing little besides writing up incidences of rapes, other crimes, and botched "street abortions" for girls as young as 10.

Camp Coordination and Management, under the leadership of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) "is a confused and contradictory mess, with an overwhelming number of cases where local camp groups have no idea" who's in charge or what needs to be done to help.

"The numbers in the camps have grown," some displaced people having returned to Port-au-Prince from rural areas. Nothing is being done to help them. Little coordinated aid is provided, many camp residents saying "they feel they are being left to rot, left in the camps to die."

Scheduled November Elections

On November 28, first round legislative and presidential elections will be held. Democracy, however, will be absent because the nation's most popular party, Fanmi Lavalas, and 13 others are excluded, the system rigged to "elect" Washington friendly candidates.

Lawyer Ira Kurzban, an immigration and employment law expert and former legal counsel to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, calls the process "unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic."

Haitians know a charade is planned. Many will opt out, their choice in April 2009 for the sham process to fill 12 open Senate seats that saw an estimated 5 - 10% turnout. Why bother this time when virtually no one running gives a damn about ordinary Haitians. It makes a mockery of real elections - illegitimate, farcical, and little more than bad theater. Nonetheless, unless the fluid date is changed, it'll be hailed as democracy in action. Millions of Haitians know better.

A Final Comment

Haiti remains in emergency. For growing numbers, aid is "too little, too late." It presents an enormous challenge for those who care, to "do better, in order to support the possibility of hope, the possibility of recovery, and the opportunity to build back better."

So far, it's planned only for the privileged, ordinary Haitians are on their own to survive. Other generations faced it earlier for centuries, helped only by the brief interregnum under Aristide, why millions in the country so badly want him back. His presence alone would make a world of difference, helping and providing many with what's now fading - hope.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on September 18, 2010.
 

Public Service Ads: