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Aid for Haiti

nancyk58

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NEWS IN RELATION TO THE SITUATION IN HAITI - 22 OCTOBER 2012


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-20024400

22 October 2012 Last updated at 05:04 GMT

Haiti cholera epidemic 'most likely' started at UN camp - top scientist

By Mark Doyle BBC International Development Correspondent, Haiti and Boston

New evidence has emerged about the alleged role of United Nations troops in causing a cholera epidemic in the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

A top US cholera specialist, Dr Daniele Lantagne, said after studying new scientific data that it is now "most likely" the source of the outbreak was a camp for recently-arrived UN soldiers from Nepal - a country where cholera is widespread.

Dr Lantagne was employed by the UN itself in 2011 as one of the world's pre-eminent experts on the disease.

The new evidence could have serious implications for the UN, which is facing an unprecedented legal and moral challenge in Haiti - as well as a multi-billion dollar compensation claim from victims' families.

More than 7,500 people have died from the cholera epidemic in Haiti since it started in late 2010. Hundreds of new cases are still being registered every week.

It is by far the largest cholera outbreak in the world in recent years - with more cases than on the whole of the African continent.

Prior to this outbreak, and despite Haiti's many other problems - including a devastating earthquake in January 2010 - the country had not recorded a single case of cholera for over a century.

Cholera is spread through infected faeces and once it enters the water supply it is difficult to stop - especially in a country like Haiti which has almost no effective sewage disposal systems.

After studying molecular data known as full genome sequencing on the strain of cholera found in Haiti - and that prevalent in Nepal in 2010 - Dr Lantagne said: "We now know that the strain of cholera in Haiti is an exact match for the strain of cholera in Nepal."

Mountain of claims

In 2011 Dr Lantagne was employed by the UN as one of a "Panel of Experts" tasked with looking into the outbreak.

The 2011 UN report - co-signed by her - acknowledged that inadequate toilets in the Nepalese UN camp in the mountain town of Mirabalais could have leaked the cholera bacterium into the nearby Meye River which flows into the country's main waterways.

But the report stressed that the outbreak "was not the fault" of any "group or individual".

The Panel of Experts added that the subsequent spread of the disease across Haiti was due to many factors - including the country's deeply inadequate water supply and almost non-existent sewage disposal systems.

Now, Dr Lantagne says the new genome data (in addition to other evidence) has changed her view since she had co-authored the UN report which effectively said no-one was to blame.

"We can now say," Dr Lantagne said, "that the most likely source of the introduction of cholera into Haiti was someone infected with the Nepal strain of cholera and associated with the United Nations Mirabalais camp."

The UN's Head of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti, Nigel Fisher, acknowledged the new information but said he could not comment on its substance.

"I know there's new information there," Mr Fisher said.

"But the investigation is still with the [UN's New York] legal office, so I'm not able to say anything at this time until that's gone through the due process."

Mr Fisher sought to stress, however, the work the UN was doing to mitigate the effects of the cholera.

"What I can tell you about is the work I'm co-ordinating to respond to that terrible epidemic and the fact that we've seen a significant decline in cases over the last year. If we take any encouragement, we take encouragement from that."

The UN's lawyers are facing a mass compensation claim being pursued by Haitian and US lawyers against the UN.

Dignified weeping

The victims' families have lodged an official claim at UN HQ in New York for $100,000 (£62,500) for those who died and $50,000 for those who fell sick. The total claim runs into many billions of dollars.

After spreading along rivers in late 2010 the number of cases exploded in the coastal town of Saint Marc - before moving on, with deadly speed, into the slums of the capital Port au Prince.

Dr Rosana Edward was the first doctor to encounter the disease in St Marc's main public hospital, the Hopital Saint Nicolas.

"I remember that day very well," Dr Rosana - as she is fondly known in the hospital - told me in a stiflingly hot ward.

"My first cases had fever and diarrhoea. I looked at their stool samples and I said to myself 'Hey!,I think this is cholera!' - but I was also confused because we don't have cholera in Haiti.

"The next day the hospital was full to overflowing," Dr Rosana said.

"There were patients all over the floor. They were reaching out and grabbing my feet

"'Help me'," they pleaded, "'Please, help me'."

I asked Dr Rosana if she had heard the reports that the UN was to blame for introducing cholera into Haiti.

"I've heard those reports," she replied, "but I don't know if they are true. I don't have the proof."

"Haiti doesn't need this cholera," the 40-year-old medic then said. "We have so many other problems."

And then - quietly and with great dignity - Dr Rosana started to cry.
 

nancyk58

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News in relation to HAITI on 27 October 2012

The hurricane "Sandy" ravaged the Caribbean resulting in 41 DEATHS.

Worst affected was HAITI where 26 deaths were reported on Friday 26.10.12.
 

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News in relation to Haiti from Danish TV2 News live

HAITI has also been hit - here the hurricane claimed 52 lives, and 200,000 have become homeless.

The aid agencies fear an upcoming shortage of food in the aftermath of the hurricane Sandy that had a devastating impact on Haitian agriculture.
 

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NEWS ON 4 NOVEMBER 2012 IN RELATION TO HAITI


FAMINE IN HAITI AFTER THE HURRICANE "SANDY"


A state of EMERGENCY has been declared in HAITI hit by massive devastation caused by hurricane SANDY.

Rainfalls in connection with the hurricane destroyed the crops in vast parts of HAITI, and now America's poorest country is threatened by famine according to the authorities.

At least 60 people were killed in Haiti by SANDY, and thousands were made homeless.

HAITI is also suffering following the devastating earthquake in January 2010 when more than 220,000 people were killed.

Source: RTLtext
 

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NEWS IN RELATION TO HAITI ON 10 AND 11 NOVEMBER 2012



HAITI AFFECTED BY FLOODINGS AFTER HEAVY RAIN, KILLING AT LEAST 16 INCLUDING 5 CHILDREN

At least 16 have drowned and several are missing after grave floodings in northern Haiti since Friday - so El Economista reports.

Intensive / heavy rain caused the rivers in the region to burst their banks resulting in substantial damage to both buildings and the agriculture.

The rain destroyed a big part of the crops causing fears among the aid agencies that Haiti might experience FAMINE soon.

Almost 1,600 people have been evacuated - they are now in shelters according to the local rescue service.

Haiti tries to recover from the damage caused by the hurricane "Sandy" 2 weeks ago when at least 54 died and 20 remain missing.


Particularly affected by the strong rainfalls was the city of Cap Haitien in northern Haiti.

Sources: German ZDFtext + Swedish SVT Text
 

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UN PLEA FOR 2.2 BILLION DOLLAR TO PUT AN END TO CHOLERA EPIDEMIC IN HAITI

About 8,000 have died, and 620,000 cases have been reported since the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in October 2010.


Source: Swedish SVT Text
 

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HAITI COMMEMORATES THE EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

The Caribbean state of HAITI has commemorated the more than 220,000 people that died 3 years ago in connection with the devastating magnitude 7 earthquake.

The national flags were on halbmast and the government had declared today a day of remembrance and reflection.

President Michel Martelly led a memoria ceremony in the capital Port-au-Prince at the site where once the presidential palace was standing before it collapsed because of the devastating quake on 12.1.10. In his speach Martelly appealed to the population to contribute to the reconstruction of the country.

Aid organizations talked of progress towards a stabilization, but also stressed the enormous problems facing the very poor country.

The reconstruction work has been slow because Haiti has been politically paralyzed and because the relief efforts have been poor.

Hundred thousands of Haitians still live in makeshift camps.


Sources: German ARDtext + ZDFtext
 

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FAITH, HOPE AND A LITTLE HOUSE IN THE MOUNTAINS


HAITI in January 2013 - 3 years after the earthquake

Translation of the essential contents of an article published in Danish Newspaper Berlingske Tidende on 12 January 2013

Article written by Lars Rosenkvist // [email protected] / translated by Nancy Boysen

3 years after the devastating earthquake the Haitians still try to get shelter and rebuild their lives. Berlingske visited a housing project in Haiti’s mountains close to the epicenter

Port-au-Prince: During the trip through Haiti’s capital we passed the tent cities along the roads leading to the capital. The building of permanent housing is now top priority in the relief work.

Most of the rubble has been cleared, and the most damaged houses have been demolished. The most noticeable tent cities – by the airport and in the parks of the capital – have been evacuated and cleared. The Haitians are in desperate need of housing.

3 years after the earthquake, a depressing number of Haitians are living in badly damaged houses and home-built huts, whereas 350,000 are still staying in the remaining about 500 tent cities.

After driving 1 hour on Route Nationale 2 we reach the town of Gressier from which – via a holey dirt road - we reach the village Ti Boukan and Institute de Technologie et d’Animation aka. ITECA.

Director Chenet Jean-Baptiste shows us the small plant / factory where concrete blocks are produced before we end in front of the pièce de résistance of the institute: A fully completed model of the 41 squaremeter standard house planned for the homeless population in the mountains close to the epicenter of the earthquake.

The house is said to be earthquake-proof and is equipped with a gutter running all the way round the housing and ending in a rainwater tank.

Despite being holiday season, all the men are working. The project’s Canadian sponsors have put an unrelenting pressure on them after several setbacks and delays. Now the Canadians want to see 50 houses completed by the end of January. And 400 houses in June.

The earthquake on 12 January, 2010 had a magnitude of 7 on the Richter scale and destroyed most houses in the mountains in Haiti’s southern peninsula.

Aid organizations came to see the damage caused and then urged the inhabitants to come down from the mountains and to gather around the big towns where it would be easier to distribute aid.

But ITECA – a more than 30-year-old agricultural organization – persuaded the inhabitants to stay on their land. 1,700 families that had lost their homes were registered in the region. ITECA suggested that if the inhabitants built a temporary/makeshift house on their land, then ITECA would help them build new, permanent houses.

After the visit we drove up in the mountains to see some of the plots of land where peasants are building the new houses.

The makeshift / temporary houses in which the inhabitants had been living since the earthquake 3 years ago could hardly be called houses. But the optimism is enormous.

On the way back to Port-au-Prince I am told the reason for the visit.

“We have allocated almost 5 million dollar to the project, and our partner, Development and Peace, a little more than 1.6 million, says Erin Cosgrove from the Canadian equivalent of the Danish International Development Agency, Danida – a Danish organisation inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, set up to provide humanitarian aid and development assistance to other countries, with focus on developing countries).

“It is important that such projects are successful because Haiti is in lack of permanent housing”.

“As late as in 2012, temporary / makeshift shelters were still built. I have read somewhere that a total of 215 million dollars was spent on permanent houses, whereas 1.2 billion dollars was spent on makeshift / temporary accommodation”, says Erin Cosgrove who has been in Haiti for almost 2 years.

“Therefore, we are willing to give ITECA a long leash. Such projects must success”.

But housing in Haiti is a slow and frustrating affair that is i.a. made difficult by the fact that there is no registration of the actual owners of the land. Add to this a weak government, ideological disputes, logistic and contractual problems, shortage of skilled labor/workers and even the weather: In October 2012, the hurricane “Sandy” destroyed most of 2012’s crops and triggered massive landslides in the forest-poor country.

Consequently, the aid organizations have so far chosen not to deal with housing. Instead the aid organizations concentrated on the sectors in which they are experts: Transportation, health, education, water and sanitation.

“The reconstruction money was not spent on real reconstruction”, said UNDP’s country manager for Haiti, Jessica Faieta when she resigned from the post last autumn.
 

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UN SUED BY HAITI CHOLERA EPIDEMIC VICTIMS

Lawyers representing the cholera epidemic victims in Haiti will sue UN in New York.

According to them UN relief workers from Nepal are to blame for more than 650,000 Haitians been hit by cholera.

More than 8,000 - around 8,300 - have died of cholera since October 2010.

The outbreak of cholera in Haiti followed the gigantic earthquake on 12.1.10.

The organization CDC thinks that there are indications that UN relief workers from Nepal are the source.

The outbreak of cholera was traced back to a river at a camp that had been the base of Nepalese UN soldiers, and the same type of cholera is widespread in Nepal.

UN claims legal immunity in relation to the epidemic, but that is rejected by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH).

Sources: Norwegian NRK News / international and Swedish SVT Text
 
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