USAID

Security in Post Quake Haiti Depends Upon Resettlement and Development

By Bryan Schaaf on Thursday, June 30, 2011.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) recently released a report summarizes the challenges that the Haitian government has faced in rebuilding Port au Prince and facilitating resettlement of the internally displaced.  Chief among these challenges has been the lack of a formal land tenure system. While several communities have developed their own local solutions to land ownership, a strategy from the central government is needed.  ICG notes that this will require political will, creativity, and consensus. To put off resettlement further is to put off a transition to development.   Read more »

Hunger and Hurricanes (6/6/2011)

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, June 6, 2011.
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Last week, Trenton Daniel wrote an article highlighting malnutrition and hunger in Haiti’s neglected rural areas.  Over the long term, the countryside needs agricultural modernization, better environmental management, and roads to move crops to regional markets.  Haiti first has to make it through hurricane season which began May 1st.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) anticipates an above normal hurricane season with a 70 percent chance of 12 to 18 named storms, including 6 to 10 hurricanes.  Storms put lives, crops, and infrastructure in Haiti at risk. 

Beyond Emergency Relief in Haiti (Groupe URD)

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, January 28, 2011.

Below is a stock-taking document by Groupe URD which highlights common themes from the many evaluations that have been carried out concerning the humanitarian response to the earthquake.  Chief among them are the importance of urban planning in cities, agricultural revitalization in the countryside, disaster preparedness throughout the country, and the need to focus on communities and institutions rather than individuals.  You can also learn more about URD's activities in Haiti hereRead more »

Ten Critical Issues for Rebuilding Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.

Below is a report released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the current state of reconstruction efforts in Haiti.  It identifies ten critical issues for rebuilding Haiti.  A recurring theme is the tension between the desire for the Haitian government to lead and the reality that, without increased human and technical resources, it will not be able to do so.  Financial resources alone will not be sufficient.  The report also emphasizes the United States Government must do a better job of coordinating with the broader international donor community and ensure that it supports Haitian plans/priorities.  For now, Haiti remains at a crossroads between relief and development.   Read more »

Haiti Earthquake Update (4/14/2010)

By Bryan Schaaf on Wednesday, April 14, 2010.

As we get closer to May, the rains will become more frequent and intense.  Even brief rainfall to date gives an indication of how vulnerable the displaced in Port au Prince are to flooding and mud-slides. Some, such as the displaced at the Petionville Golf Club are being relocated to the hastily prepared Corail-Cesselesse site 15 km north of Port au Prince. Six other sites require urgent evacuation before the rainy season.  Other sites can be made safer with engineering interventions.  Disturbingly, hundreds sheltering at the National Stadium were reported to have been forcibly removed.  Close coordination and rapid action are urgently needed to protect the displaced from the upcoming rains.  Read more »

A Postcard From Northern Haiti (2/22/2010)

By Bryan Schaaf on Monday, February 22, 2010.

Hello from Cap Haitian, the chipped pearl of the Antilles.  When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Central Plateau, I would sometimes take Route National Three from Hinche to Cap for a long weekend.  I never looked forward to the grueling trip, but I always looked forward to being in Cap.  The beaches were (and still are) beautiful and this region is historically rich.  It is here that Christopher Columbus landed and where he lost one of his ships.  The Haitian slave rebellion began with a single Vodoun ceremony in Bois Cayman and ended with the battle of Vertieres. The Citadel looms from a mountain in the distance.  While the city of Cap Haitian has changed, and not for the better, it is still good to be back in the north. Read more »

Haiti Earthquake: Who Is Doing What Where? How Can I Help?

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, January 15, 2010.

Immediately after the earthquake, the main source of information was Twitter, which I have a new respect for.  Journalists and aid workers are arriving in Haiti and we are gaining a better sense of just how extensive the damage to Port au Prince is.  We also know that Jacmel was seriously affected as well.  Aid from the United States, other governments, and humanitarian responders both big and small is picking up.  This is a summary of the current situation, who is doing what where, and how you can help.  Additional updates will be posted as comments. Read more »

Haiti Food Security Update (11/11/2009)

By Bryan Schaaf on Wednesday, November 11, 2009.

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.   Read more »

Haiti Food Security Update (10/11/2009)

By Bryan Schaaf on Sunday, October 11, 2009.

Hard to believe that just a year and a half ago, there were food riots in Port au Prince and other Haitian cities.  Since then, Haiti has become become politically stable to the point where firms involved in agriculture, textiles, infrastructure development and tourism are considering investing in Haiti.  Livelihood opportunities are sorely needed given that half of Haitians live on less than two dollars a day.  Still, the majority of Haitians are small farmers.  Without opportunities to provide for themselves and their families, the influx of the rural poor to urban centers will only accelerate.  Increasing agricultural productivity/opportunities is key to improving food security in Haiti.<--break-> Read more »

Center for American Progress Report on Sustainable Security in Haiti

By Bryan Schaaf on Friday, September 18, 2009.

The Center for American Progress recently released an interesting and cautiously optimistic report (attached) on security in Haiti.  For Haiti watchers, the background will no doubt be familiar but there is still much of interest.  Below is an analysis of the  recommendations.  The historical and political cards have long been stacked against Haiti but there is now more evidence and more reasons to expect security will hold and improve. With a lot of work, a bit of luck, and the support of its friends, Haiti will continue to make progress….piti piti.   Read more »