In the News: Haiti, FAO Talk in Rome

by the Caribbean Journal staff. Originally posted in the Caribbean Journal.

Haiti President Michel Martelly’s Rome trip included a meeting with Jose Graziano da Silva, the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization at the organization’s headquarters.

Martelly stressed the need for a contingency plan in Haiti to deal with the damage caused by the two storms that have damaged Haiti in the last several months, Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Isaac.

Da Silva reportedly informed Martelly that the FAO was working to respond to natural disasters in Haiti.

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In the News: Ottawa signals radical shift in foreign-aid policy

by Kim Mackrael, Globe and Mail, Nov 23, 2012

Julian Fantino (photo by Giovanni Aprea)

The federal government is signalling a profound shift in its approach to foreign aid that could see Canada’s international development agency align itself more closely with the private sector and work more explicitly to promote Canada’s interests abroad. International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino will outline his vision for the agency’s future in an address to the Economic Club of Canada Friday morning (Nov 23), his first major speech since taking the job several months ago. The Canadian International Development Agency funds humanitarian aid and long-term development projects intended to help people living in poverty.

Mr. Fantino’s remarks will focus on the role private companies – particularly in the mining sector – can play in helping CIDA achieve its development objectives, part of a controversial change in emphasis for an agency that has historically been careful to differentiate between its work with corporations and non-governmental organizations.

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Press Release: New report on housing by Mark Schuller

The first in a series of four reports on housing conditions and relocation was published today. Based on research conducted in July and August 2012 by Mark Schuller, with funding from the National Science Foundation, Homeward Bound? Assessing Progress of Relocation from Haiti’s IDP camps is available on the Institute for Justice and Democracy (IJDH) website.

Striking Haiti on its way to the United States’ eastern seaboard in late October, Hurricane Sandy exposed the precariousness of the estimated 370,000 people still living under tents almost three years after the devastating earthquake.

Yet the population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) peaked at 1.5 million. As a report from the US State Department pointed out, the current IDP population is estimated at 25% of this total. Much has been said about the efforts of the international community to rehouse this vulnerable population, particularly President Michel Martelly’s “16/6” program and the NGO programs that have followed.

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In the News: UN must make amends for cholera that organization brought to Haiti

Editorial, Boston Globe, November 13, 2012

When the international aid community descends on a vulnerable place, the first objective must be to do no harm. But all too often, good intentions make a bad situation even worse. That’s what happened two years ago, when United Nations peacekeepers arrived in Haiti in the wake of a devastating earthquake, bringing the deadly disease cholera with them.

Last year, a panel of UN experts concluded that poor sanitation at the peacekeepers’ camp was the likely cause of a terrible cholera outbreak that has so far killed 7,000 people and sickened 500,000. Their report declined to say whether the peacekeepers, the sanitation contractor, or the UN’s own inadequate health protocols were to blame for human waste getting into Haiti’s water supply. But as cholera deaths continue, new scientific evidence removes all doubt about the source of the disease: The strain of cholera that exploded in Haiti is an exact match to the cholera that exists in Nepal, the UN peacekeepers’ native country.

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A Soapbox in Haiti

Here’s a video passed along from the IJDH. This video is part of a series called “A Soapbox in Haiti,” which presents the voices of Haitian citizens on topics significant to the country’s post-earthquake recovery. This particular video gives us human rights lawyer Mario Joseph talking about the justice system in Haiti:

In the News: Haiti food crisis feared in Sandy’s wake

Originally posted at Al Jazeera English.

Officials fear rising food prices and an increase in cholera cases in Caribbean nation where storm killed 52 people.

As Sandy causes havoc throughout the eastern US, the full extent of the storm’s damage is just beginning to emerge in the Caribbean nation of Haiti.

The UN is warning that flooding and unsanitary conditions could lead to a sharp increase in cases of cholera, while aid workers are worried that extensive crop damage will mean that food prices will rise.

Extensive damage to crops throughout the southern third of the country, as well as the high potential for a surge in cases of cholera and other water-borne diseases, could mean Haiti will see the deadliest effects of Sandy in the coming days and weeks.

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