Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti - Five days later

updated below

The Haitian government has signed a memorandum of understanding formally transferring control of the Port-au-Prince airport to the US. From the Guardian :

"Flights seeking permission to land continuously circle the airport, which is small, damaged and with a single runway, rankling several governments and aid agencies. "There are 200 flights going in and out every day, which is an incredible amount for a country like Haiti," Jarry Emmanuel, air logistics officer for the UN's World Food Programme, told the New York Times. "But most of those flights are for the United States military. Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. We have got to get those priorities in sync."

France ­protested when an emergency field hospital was turned back. The foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said the airport was not for the international community but "an annexe of Washington", according to France's ambassador to Haiti, Didier Le Bret.
Brazil was also indignant when three flights were not allowed to land.

The Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières complained about flights with medical staff and equipment which were re-directed to the neighbouring Dominican Republic."

Obstructing assistance from other countries, refusing to allow people to escape, and sending in the military ... and right about now I'm guessing you're remembering the US relief efforts following Katrina.

Toronto Sun : Canada to take lead building 'New Haiti'

On January 25th, given he has nothing else to do til the Owelympic photo event, Steve is hosting a Haiti 'reconstruction' conference in Montreal for leaders from 16 countries which make up the Group of Friends of Haiti . While you're at it, here's something you guys can reconstruct ...

"In 1995, the IMF forced Haiti to cut its rice tariff from 35% to 3%, leading to a massive increase in rice-dumping from the United States. As a 2008 Jubilee USA report notes, although the country had once been a net exporter of rice, "by 2005, three out of every four plates of rice eaten in Haiti came from the US."

During this period, USAID invested heavily in Haiti, but this charity came not in the form of grants to develop Haiti's agricultural infrastructure, but in direct food aid, furthering Haiti's dependence on foreign assistance while also funneling money back to US agribusiness."

Tuesday update. It's now been a week since the quake. It's probably safe to assume that more people will die from infection and going without food, water, or medical care for a week than died in the initial quake. Aid groups still being refused permission to land at the airport .... but wait! Headline in today's Star : Canada rides to the rescue in Haiti
2,000 more soldiers flooding into Haiti with navy ships to help with security, relief

CBC : "About 7,000 UN military peacekeepers and 2,100 international police are in Haiti. Ban said Monday he asked the UN Security Council to add 2,000 troops and 1,500 police.
About 180 tonnes of relief supplies arrived Saturday, but scores of people on the street say none of it is reaching them.

Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders said: "There is little sign of significant aid distribution."



Anonymous said...

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy - the longer you make the Haitians wait for aid, the more likely they are to start rioting.

opit said...

Great catch, Alison - reposted on Care 2.

Oemissions said...

all those US troops need lots of supplies,food,water, comforts.
obviously brought in with them.
damn! I am so mad about this.
Where have all the strategists been? Cruise ships are getting in.
What about hotair balloons, more helicopters,small planes.?
Only today did somebody think of speedboats.
First responders last Friday were expressing their frustrations from being on hold and then told they could not come.
"Blackwater before drinking water."

opit said... was featured at where there is a good comments thread.

Anonymous said...

No one wants to hear this, Alison.
Canadians are quite content to bask in the notion that their government is not an imperialistic cat's paw for the US , and warmongers like Obama and Harper will be celebrated as saviours of Haiti for sending in troops.
After the last tsunami in Haiti, millions of pounds of aid rotted in warehouses in New York but at least the donors were happy.


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