John Holmes, the UN Humanitarian Chief, yesterday expressed frustration with the humanitarian response in Haiti. Holmes stated finding available land for transitional shelters, slow decision-making by the government and new waves of Haitians moving into the settlements (often for services not available in their own neighborhoods) have made responding to the crisis particularly difficult. The Haitian government, responsible for setting priorities and developing plans, lacks staffing and expertise. It is being pulled in many directions at once on issues relating to shelter, hurricane contingency planning, governance reforms, elections, law enforcement, food security, and decentralization.
The upcoming Haiti Donors Conference is beginning to take shape. According to the Miami Herald, we can expect to hear support for the creation of a 20 member Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) to oversee how and where billons of dollars of aid flowing into Haiti are spent over the next 18 months. The IHRC will establish a Haitian Development Authority (HDA) to plan, sequence, and coordinate projects, all of which will require government approval. Take a look at the National Rebuilding Action Plan, based on the Post Disaster Needs Assessment, which will also be discussed at the conference. Thank you to Haiti Vox for posting the English version. There is a lot here to think about. Ill post my thoughts in the comments section, please do the same.
Strong arguments can be made that sacking Prime Minister Pierre-Louis was a mistake. Still, she served Haiti well prior to becoming Prime Minister and will no doubt continue to do so. Jean Max Bellerive has since been confirmed as the new Prime Minister. He has stated the increasing foreign investment and reducing poverty will be amongst his highest priorities. He has a much different style than Pierre-Louis, but faces the same challenges. This includes promoting food security thoughout Haiti.
Lambi Fund is a respected NGO that supports Haitian community groups that are non violent, non partisan, and community based. At the 2009 Haitian Diaspora Unity Congress, Leonie Hermantin, Deputy Director of Lambi Fund, was given the 2009 Community Service award. Lambi Fund is involved in a number of different sectors, but it is really their work in sustainable agriculture and reforestation that won her this honor. Past recipient of the award include Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald and Wyclef Jean of the Yele Foundation. If you would like to learn more about Lambi Fund, attached is their 2008 annual report. The environmental and agricultural sections are copied below.
According to Jonathan Katz, public health workers plan to vaccinate some 1 million women and children this week around Haiti's capital after delays exacerbated by food riots and hurricanes. The effort marks the second phase of an international goal to immunize 5.6 million Haitian children - more than half the country's population - against diseases like polio, measles and rubella.
During a recent visit to Haiti, World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that Haiti is at a ''tipping point'' given the billion dollars of damage caused by flooding from tropical storms. For the first time in years, Haiti has a legitimately democratic, albeit struggling, government. Given the World Bank's problematic history in Haiti, the agency should help the government by forgiving its debt -with the caveat that funds would be subject to external oversight and directed to disaster preparedness and response as well as reviving the agricultural sector.
We frequently receive inquiries concerning the use of Jatropha as a biofuel in Haiti. So far, cultivation has been limited to a handfull of pilot projects. This blog lists these organizations and summarizes several recent articles on the subject. A previous blog on biodiesel resulted in over 225 comments from people throughout the world interested in Jatropha. If you are interested specifically in jatropha cultivation in Haiti, please post a comment describing your interests. In that way, this blog can become a conversation about tapping the potential of Jatropha for Haiti.
The damage caused by Gustav and Hannah have set Haiti back years. Many have lost their homes and livelihoods. Food security, already precarious, is worse as crops have been destroyed, fruit trees knocked over, and livestock killed. Gonaives, ever prone to flooding, bore the brunt but many other cities and towns were damaged and need assistance. The implications are being felt nationwide. Haiti needs its friends during the long recovery process.
Disagreements among parliamentarians and political parties over who will serve in the new government have prevented Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis from presenting a new Cabinet and policy priorities (one of which is food security) on Tuesday as scheduled. As politicians bicker, the people struggle. The Miami Herald notes that school starts on September 1st and the fees will be out of reach for many. According to the USAID Famine Early Warning System (FEWS-NET), food security conditions are likely to deteroriate beginning in October due to the high prices of staple food crops, hurricanes, civil unrest, and high transportation costs. Having been four months without a functional government, it is long past time to make a deal and get to work.