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Archive for the ‘PORT-AU-PRINCE’ Category

Haiti Quake Aftermath: Rape of Displaced People

Posted by feww on March 9, 2010

HAITI: Women at risk in the camps

PORT-AU-PRINCE, 9 March 2010 (IRIN) – Many women at the Jean-Marie Vincent site for displaced people (IDPs) in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince wash themselves inside their makeshift tents because the only alternative is to do so out in the open. Given the overcrowding and meagre security, this exposes them to the risk of attack or rape.

Going to the site’s latrines is also risky, especially at night, for there is no lighting and some toilets are isolated.

“We have not yet reached a standard of organization that respects women’s rights,” Smith Maximé of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Haiti told IRIN.

“We have registered rape cases that occurred when women were in the latrines. When toilets are not secured – as in many of the camps – women are often attacked there,” he added.

“We are not safe here,” one woman in the Jean-Marie Vincent camp told IRIN, holding her two-month-old baby. “Three men attacked me as I walked to a latrine. They covered my face and my mouth and raped me.” Initially she said nothing but her pain was so intense, after three days she told some relatives.

The failure to meet established minimum disaster relief standards [http://www.sphereproject.org/content/view/44/83/lang,english/] is “creating serious security, privacy and dignity concerns”, according to the Gender in Humanitarian Response Working Group*.

“Increased lighting surrounding those latrines should be an immediate priority to ensure the safety of women and girls using sanitation facilities at night,” the Group said in a statement issued in late February.

“Increased attention must be paid to the provision of dedicated and private bathing facilities to reduce women’s current vulnerability to sexual violence. Though many women and girls bathed outdoors prior to the earthquake, the nature of many IDP sites (crowded living conditions, living near strangers) is creating new vulnerabilities to violence and exploitation, in particular at night, that did not necessarily exist before,” it said.

Crowded and dark

Overcrowding and lack of lighting in camps are part of the problem. In many camps there is no space between tents. Aid organizations and the government plan to move people from 21 of the most congested sites either back home, to host families or to land recently allotted by the authorities. In the meantime aid agencies are putting some security measures in place, such as installing lights.

“Protection is one of the major issues of concern when sites are over-congested,” Sara Ribeiro, protection coordinator with the International Organization for Migration, told IRIN. IOM is the lead agency for the group of agencies collectively tasked with organizing the management of camps for displaced people.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), [http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/iasc/pageloader.aspx] a group of UN and non-UN organizations that since 1992 has worked to harmonize humanitarian best practice, stipulates [http://oneresponse.info/crosscutting/gender/Documents/Gender%20ABC%20Haiti%20emergenc%2020100121.pdf] that humanitarian actors must ensure that the route to water and sanitation facilities is safe and that latrines are well lit and lockable from the inside.

Management

Ribeiro said another major problem was a lack of camp management agencies. As of 4 March just one-fifth of the 400 camps for displaced families had such agencies in place, she said.

“More agencies. need to take over site management,” she told IRIN. “That is the only way to prevent these things from happening. Because no amount of service delivery [medical care, food rations, water] is going to be able to respond to what happens when the sun sets.”

Community watch groups are forming in many sites; OCHA states in a 4 March report that these groups will need training to increase the protection of women and girls.

UNFPA is working with the authorities and local NGOs to revive a system of reporting sexual violence cases. “But our immediate focus is to disseminate information on available medical and psycho-social support, and to [put first] the rights and choices of the survivor,” Lina Abirafeh, GBV coordinator for UNFPA in Haiti, told IRIN.

The agency is compiling a list of hospitals and NGOs that provide medical and counselling services for distribution in the camps.

UN aid workers say no comprehensive statistics of rape in the camps are available but rape and impunity have long been widespread in Haiti, as IASC notes. In 2008 Amnesty International reported “shocking levels” of sexual violence against girls. [http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGUSA20081201001]

np/am/mw

* The group comprises representatives of MINUSTAH-Human Rights, MINUSTAH-Gender Unit, UNIFEM, UNFPA, World Food Programme, IOM, UN Children’s Fund, and several NGOs, including the International Rescue Committee, American Refugee Committee, and International Medical Corps.

Related Links:

Posted in camp rape, PORT-AU-PRINCE, rape in haiti, sexual violence, women's rights | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

You Donated Money to Haiti EQ Disaster Victims?

Posted by feww on February 20, 2010

YOUR Money Didn’t Reach them

Food crisis looms in rural Haiti

Source: CARE; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Date: 19 Feb 2010

More than a month after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January, FAO and CARE have issued a joint alert over a national food crisis.

“This is a hidden but pervasive crisis that has already touched all corners of the country,” said Dick Trenchard, Assessments Coordinator for FAO in Haiti. “Rural areas experiencing the highest levels of displacement from Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas are the most affected, particularly the Artibonite in the west and Grand’Anse in the south.”

Rapid assessments undertaken by FAO and its partners in the Agriculture Cluster have shown that “host families” caring for displaced people are spending their meagre savings to feed new arrivals and consuming food stocks.

In many cases these poor people are resorting to eating the seeds they have stored for the next planting season and eating or selling their livestock, in particular goats.

“We are seeing clear signs that people are already resorting to worrying and unsustainable coping strategies to try and help the estimated 500 000 people who migrated to rural areas and other smaller urban centres after the earthquake,” said Trenchard.

Two weeks to planting

“The main planting season, which accounts for over 60 percent of annual production, will start in less than a fortnight,” said Jean-Dominique Bodard, CARE’s Emergency Food Security Specialist.

“If the host families have no means to buy seeds or other ways to obtain quality seeds, this will be a disaster for them,” he added. “There is another aspect to this vicious circle. Due to lack of cash, many host farmers will not be able to hire day labourers for the planting.

“As a result, the labourers will not earn money to feed their families and the planting will not be carried out to the extent it could be if the workforce were available,” Bodard said.

In the rural sector, farmers lack cash to buy seeds for the upcoming planting season and food prices have already risen 10 percent compared to before the quake – an indicator for worse things to come. One immediate solution might be cash-for-work programmes in the agricultural sector.

“We need to inject money fast before the planting season starts”, explained Bodard. “Food distributions can help alleviate the immediate suffering after the disaster, but in the long run what is needed most is cash for the farmers to be able to invest and regain their autonomy.”

Cash-for-work

FAO has kick-started a small cash-for-work programme cleaning out irrigation canals in Léogâne and CARE will work to scale it up in the coming days from, 600 to 4,000 people.

“This will be a much-needed financial boost at a crucial time when people are desperate to take their lives back into their own hands and will provide a much-needed injection into rural markets that have slumped since the earthquake,” said Trenchard.

As part of the recovery phase, CARE plans to support community-based organizations in activities such as water management, product marketing and capacity building.

These activities will contribute directly to the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development’s “Special Emergency and Support to Food Production Programme in Haiti in Response to the 12 January 2010 Earthquake, the Integration of Displaced Populations and prevention of the hurricane season.”

That programme is supported by FAO and the Inter-American Institution for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

Cluster leader

As the leader of the UN’s agricultural cluster in Haiti, FAO coordinates international and national organisations in the sector. Part of its work is to ensure donors and agencies on the ground work within government guidelines.

CARE is already present in Léogâne, a farming town to the west of Port-au Prince that was 80 percent destroyed by the earthquake, providing shelter, emergency supplies, water and sanitation facilities and health support for mothers and pregnant women.

FAO is supporting small scale farmers with essential agriculture inputs such as quality seeds and tools are being distributed.

Related Links:

Posted in Earthquake aftermath, Haiti, PORT-AU-PRINCE, poverty | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Let’s Bulldoze Port-au-Prince, If We Really Care!

Posted by feww on January 18, 2010

Haiti Quake – Update 18 January

UN boss urges starving Haitians to be patient

The worst thing that can now happen to Haiti in the short term is for another major disaster to strike elsewhere in the world.

United Nations Boss pleads with a couple of million  starved survivors to be patient merely five days after the quake struck (!)

Banki Moon visited UN mission, where at least 37 UN staff were killed after the quake struck, and some 300 workers are still missing.

“I appeal to the Haitian people to be more patient,” Mr Moon said, wondering if he might be attacked by mobs of starved, homeless survivors outside the mission.

Relief has reportedly only started to trickle through five days after the quake struck.

But no sooner a food distribution point is set up, the aid workers are mobbed with swarms of starving survivors.

A Partial Picture of the Haiti Quake Aftermath:

  • Most of up to 2 million hungry survivors are roaming streets of partially destroyed Port-au-Prince looking for food or anything they could swap for food.
  • The Haitian government is Not functioning.
  • There are no restaurants, shops, markets or the likes where people could buy food, assuming  the survivors had any money with them.
  • The level of violence amog the frustrated survivors is increasing.
  • UN has launched a near $600m appeal intended to help about three million people for up to six months, though it doesn’t seem to have any plans on how to use the money.
  • Very many people could die of starvation and gang violence, and a few would benefit handsomely from the aid money.
  • “The Haitian airport now is overwhelmed,” said a senior UN Peacekeeping Operations officer.
  • Fuel is desperately needed to carry aid from the airport, help the wounded and restore [even partial] order in the capital city, but it’s in short supply.
  • Three Haitian ministers and a half dozen senators are reported to have been killed.
  • “There are no doctors, no surgeons. I was supposed to get delivery this morning of medical supplies from abroad, but they never arrived. On my own, I cannot even cope with the toilet arrangements for all these people.”  The sole trainee-nurse at the Port-au-Prince’s General Hospital told Reuters.
  • The nurse said she had run out of  supplies, antibiotics and pain killers.

EDRO SAYS:

“The aftermath of Haiti quake catastrophe

“IF you regard the Haiti quake as a “natural” disaster, and the blog has previously made its position clear about the impact of human activity on natural disasters, then you must consider the aftermath of the quake as a human-made disaster.

“It’s hard to imagine how Port-au-Prince, and therefore Haiti, could survive the aftermath of the quake catastrophe.

“IF the United Nations, the United States and EU care about Haiti, and it’s difficult NOT to be highly skeptical, they they should bulldoze the old Port-au-Prince into the ground and help those of the Haitians who care about the future to build sustainable communities.

” And remember, we believe the first wave of the world’s collapsing cities may have already started.”

Related Links:

For More Information Visit Haiti Earthquake Disaster Links Page!

Posted in earthquake, haiti looting, haiti quake, haiti quake update, PORT-AU-PRINCE, Quake Aftermath | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Haiti Earthquake Disaster – Update 14 Jan

Posted by feww on January 14, 2010

The Haiti earthquake is the worst disaster, so far, to strike the poverty-stricken nation

The casualty figures, both the dead and injured are very high.


Blood flows along the street in the aftermath of an earthquake in Port-au-Prince January 13, 2010.  Credit:  REUTERS/Joel Trimble. Images may be subject to copyright.

Highlights of News Reports:

  • Large sections of the capital Port-au-Prince have been destroyed. Also many schools, hospitals and other buildings have collapsed.
  • Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive says more than 100,000 people may have been killed as a result of Tuesday’s earthquake, though he did not explain how he had arrived at that figure. [FEWW Moderators believe this figure is highly exaggerated. More on this later.]
  • Brazilian child rights activist Zilda Arns and Port-au-Prince’s Archbishop Serge Miot have been killed in the earthquake.
  • UN Secretary-General BanKi-moon said 11 Brazilian peacekeepers and five international police officers (three Jordanian and one each from Argentina and Chad – were killed in the quake.
  • Brazil’s military said 14 of its soldiers had been killed in the quake.
  • Up to 150 UN staff, including the mission chief and his deputy are still unaccounted for.
  • Eye witness news reports say many sidewalks are lined with corpses covered with white sheets.
  • UNDP said 38 of its staff are unaccounted for.
  • Many Haitians are spending a second night out in the open where they feel safer from the danger of aftershocks.

A few technical details:


Click image to enlarge.

  • Haiti earthquake occurred as a result of friction between the Caribbean plate and the North America plate. The plates boundary in the region “is dominated by left-lateral strike slip motion and compression, and accommodates about 20 mm/y slip, with the Caribbean plate moving eastward with respect to the North America plate.” USGS/EHP reported.
  • “At the longitude of the January 12 earthquake, motion between the Caribbean and North American plates is partitioned between two major east-west trending, strike-slip fault systems — the Septentrional fault system in northern Haiti and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system in southern Haiti.”
  • “The location and focal mechanism of the earthquake are consistent with the event having occurred as left-lateral strike slip faulting on the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system. This fault system accommodates about 7 mm/y, nearly half the overall motion between the Caribbean plate and North America plate.”
  • “The Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system has not produced a major earthquake in recent decades. The EPGFZ is the likely source of historical large earthquakes in 1860, 1770, 1761, 1751, 1684, 1673, and 1618, though none of these has been confirmed in the field as associated with this fault. ” USGS/EHP said.

Energy Released by Haiti Earthquake was about a half of the estimated impact energy released in forming the 1.2-km diameter Meteor Crater [Barringer Crater] in Arizona

  • FEWW moderators estimate that the energy released by the Haiti earthquake was about 5.3 exp 15 joules [5.3 petajoules, 5.3 x 10^15J] or the equivalent of about 1.35 megatons of TNT. [Estimated energy released by the Hiroshima atom bomb was 15 kilotons, making the Haiti quake about 90 times stronger. See earthquake energy table.]

Related Links:

For More Information Visit Haiti Earthquake Disaster Links Page!

Posted in Caribbean plate, Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault system, Haiti quake aftermath, North America plate, PORT-AU-PRINCE | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »