Originally posted at The New York Times
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A few days after the Jan. 10, 2010, earthquake, Reginald Boulos opened the gates of his destroyed car dealership to some 14,000 displaced people who settled on the expansive property. Seven months later, eager to rebuild his business, he paid the families $400 each to leave Camp Boulos and return to their devastated neighborhoods.
At the time, Dr. Boulos, a physician and business magnate, was much maligned for what was portrayed as bribing the homeless to participate in their own eviction. But eventually, desperate to rid public plazas of squalid camps, the Haitian government and the international authorities adopted his approach themselves: “return cash grants” have become the primary resettlement tool.
This represents a marked deflation of the lofty ambitions that followed the disaster, when the world aspired not only to repair Haiti but to remake it completely. The new pragmatism signals an acknowledgment that despite billions of dollars spent — and billions more allocated for Haiti but unspent — rebuilding has barely begun and 357,785 Haitians still languish in 496 tent camps.
“When you look at things, you say, ‘Hell, almost three years later, where is the reconstruction?’ ” said Michèle Pierre-Louis, a former prime minister of Haiti. “If you ask what went right and what went wrong, the answer is, most everything went wrong. There needs to be some accountability for all that money.”
Continue reading In the News: Rebuilding in Haiti Lags After Billions in Post-Quake Aid
by Stefan Christoff. Originally published in Briarpatch Magazine
Across Canada, people reacted swiftly to the massive 2010 earthquake in Haiti. As reports of major devastation on the ground went global, thousands in Canada mobilized to support the Haitian people through grassroots benefit concerts, telethons, and community collections in a historic expression of international solidarity and one of the largest disaster relief fundraising efforts in Canadian history.
In Quebec, home to one of the largest Haitian diaspora communities in the world, the earthquake clearly touched a collective nerve. On the streets in Montreal, Haitians held vigils to express collective loss and solidarity. Those who lost or were actively searching for relatives worked tirelessly to mobilize support, holding countless community fundraisers, cultural events, and donation drives.
Continue reading In the News: Red light on the Red Cross in Haiti?
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is considering building a hotel and conference center in Haiti on part of a $10.5 million property that it bought after the 2010 earthquake.
The hope is that profits could sustain the work of Haiti’s local Red Cross in the coming years, the head of the international group’s Haitian delegation said Monday.
The 10-acre compound, known as the “Hilton Property,” was purchased from Comme Il Faut, Haiti’s local cigarette company, in the months after the quake, Eduard Tschan told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Continue reading In the News: Red Cross in Haiti considers building hotel, conference center in Caribbean nation
by Bill Quigley at Smirking Chimp
890 million. Amount of international debt that Haiti owes creditors. Finance ministers from developing countries announced they will forgive $290 million. Source: Wall Street Journal
644 million. Donations for Haiti to private organizations have exceed $644 million. Over $200 million has gone to the Red Cross, who had 15 people working on health projects in Haiti before the earthquake. About $40 million has gone to Partners in Health, which had 5,000 people working on health in Haiti before the quake. Source: New York Times.
1 million. People still homeless or needing shelter in Haiti. Source: MSNBC.
1 million. People who have been given food by the UN World Food Program in Port au Prince – another million in Port au Prince still need help. Source: UN World Food Program.
Continue reading Haiti Numbers – 27 Days After Quake