Haiti Earthquake Update (2/7/2010)

  • Posted on: 7 February 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf
News: 

Immediately after the earthquake, information came out of Haiti in a trickle.  It is now more like a flood.  As of February 3, the Government of Haiti (GOH) increased its death toll estimate to over 200,000.  300,000 are reported to have been injured, 250,000 homes destroyed, and 30,000 businesses disrupted.  Assessments carried out by MINUSTAH now indicate a 15-20% population increase in the South, Grand Anse, Nippes, and Central Plateau departments due to displacement from Port-au-Prince.  Below is a summary of where things stand in terms of emergency response and recovery. 

 

The security situation is holding.  Still, there have been isolated incidents of looting and attacks on food convoys.  There have also been protests against officials who have been, rightly or wrongly, suspected of demanding bribes to release donated food.  MINUSTAH and partner militaries have been trying to prevent incidents by providing escorts to convoys and protecting food distribution points.  Some of the 3,000 criminals who escaped from the National Prison have remained in Port au Prince but many will have gone to the countyside.  MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police are attempting to apprehend the escapees who remained in Port au Prince.

 

The biggest source of tension concerns the distribution of assistance.  During his February 6 visit to Haiti, Bill Clinton vowed to speed up sluggish aid deliveries.  The American military, with the consent of the Haitian government, has been running the airport, which is open only for humanitarian and military cargo.  The military has been running the airport 24/7, landing up to 150 flights per day.  If you’ve seen the Port au Prince airport, you know this is a major accomplishment.  The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) deserves more credit than they have received  for this.  Given the damage to the main port, and the lack of good, secondary ports, the demand for flights still remains high.  According to the American Red Cross, there is a waiting list of 1,000 flights to land at Haiti's airport.   Many organizations have opted to move their staff and cargo through the Dominican Republic via the Jimani crossing instead.  Getting commodities into Haiti is one thing though and distributing them another.  Warehouses throughout Port have been destroyed.  Security escorts are required to move cargo.  Moving anything by truck is difficult and time consuming.

 

Receiving so many planes over such a compressed period of time is taking a toll on the Port au Prince airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working with the Haitian government to assess how and when to re-open the airport for commercial flights.  Until then, the only ways into Haiti is through the Dominican Republic or to take Lynx Air or Florida Coastal Airlines into Cap Haitian.

 

In terms of health, the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that there are presently 91 identified functioning hospitals; 59 of which are in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area (4 public hospitals, 34 NGO or private-run hospitals providing health care and 21 field hospitals). Fifty-six of the 59 facilities in Port-au-Prince have surgical capacity. A database of hospitals is being created and will include information on essential drugs provided by PROMESS (the GOH Pharmaceutical Unit), the number of beds, medical specialities, the type and quantity of medical human resources, and the number of consultations.

 

There have not yet been any major disease outbreaks.  The GoH Ministry of Health (MoH), the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have begun coordinated immunization campaigns.  Access to post-operative care needs to be improved.  Physical therapists are needed.  The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working to improve access to reproductive health services.  Take a look at this PBS Special on Motherhood in post earthquake Haiti.  Some Haitians may be delaying care-seeking behavior for fear of having a limb amputated.  Attention is starting to turn to the psychosocial needs of a traumatized population.  The health infastructure was weak even before the earthquake – now it requires major reconstruction.

 

Water is being distributed to an estimated 519,000 individuals per day in Port-au-Prince, Léogâne, and Jacmel.  Food distribution efforts started out shakey but are improving.  Progress is being made now as the UN and other actors are adopting a more women-centered approach.  Women now receive colored and dated vouchers that can be exchanged for a 25 kilogram rice ration – approximately enough to feed a family of six for three weeks.  The World Food Program (WFP) reports that 100,000 women have picked up rations this way.  WFP also reports that people are having difficulty in the North and North-East departments to meet their basic food needs due to an increase in food prices.  WFP is reinforcing food assistance in the South West, North and Artibonite departments which are hosting significant numbers of displaced people from Port-au-Prince.

 

Concerning health and sanitation, Dr. Paul Farmer, the deputy special envoy to Haiti, said “…the key is going to be to create community-based solutions, which basically means hire Haitians and lots of them to begin tracking infectious diseases, doing follow-up on treatments, as well as building latrines and water infrastructure. It shouldn’t be seen as some radical notion that we need to inject the money into the Haitian population, because they are the ones who can actually do the follow up.”

 

According to Souleymane Sow, UNICEF Water/Sanitation/Hygiene Coordinator, “The rainy season is going to make sanitation problems into water problems if we don’t find a way to get more latrines built…the rain will wash the waste into the area where people are living and may cause people to become very sick.”

 

The government and the United Nations are going ahead with plans to move people out of the spontaneous, post-quake settlements into planned temporary camps just outside the city.  While organized settlements have been established for 42,000 displaced people; the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports some 460,000 people remain in 315 spontaneous settlements.  Transitional shelter materials are being provided but people are not waiting around for the international community - they are building with whatever they can find.  Those who receive remittances will be able to rebuild faster than others.  The beginning of Haiti’s first rainy season in April is the hard deadline for shelter solutions.  It is also important to keep in mind that the hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30.  Tents are unlikely survive both the rainy and hurricane seasons.  Structures will need to be constructed in such a way as to be resistant to hurricanes, floods, and landslides.  Together, these phenomena account for the vast majority of disasters in Haiti.  Assistance also needs to be provided to the host families of the hundreds of thousands who have returned to the countyside.  With some assistance, these families could expand their homes, making it less of a burden to take in the displaced.  This could be one way to minimize returns to Port au Prince, which is by no means prepared to receive them.  

 

President Preval has set in place “Operation Demolition”, a large part of which concerns clearing rubble.  It includes provisions to remove people living in unstable buildings, by force if necessary.  The government has announced a ban on rebuilding until it completes damage assessments and introduces a new and much needed building code.  The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is going to be playing an increasingly active role in the shelter sector.  IOM reports more than 55 aid agencies are working to reach those in need of shelter.  The number of international shelter experts on the ground has increased dramatically since the earliest days of the response.

 

According to the United Nations Devleopment Program (UNDP), as of February 1, cash-for-work programs employed approximately 32,000 people in Carrefour, Carrefour Feuilles, Martissan, Gressier, and Léogâne.  Ninety percent of the displaced who fled Port au Prince to the countryside are staying with host families.  Another way to help both the displaced and their host families is to ensure that cash for work programs exist throughout the countryside.  United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partner CHF International commenced cash-for-work activities in Petite Goâve on February 1, employing 429 people with plans to hire more.  In total, UNDP has identified 15 NGOs to implement cash-for-work activities at a rate agreed with the government.

 

Before the earthquake, there were 300,000 orphans in Haiti.  Many children have lost parents and care-givers, becoming vulnerable to human trafficking, abuse, and exploitation.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Haitian Red Cross are working to help people re-establish contact with family members and search for loved ones.  Radio broadcasts have started announcing the names of people transferred to the Dominican Republic for medical reasons.  At two internet cafés, residents can post "safe and well" messages or launch a search request on the ICRC's family links site . The site currently lists over 26,300 names, including some 3,600 of people reporting that they are alive and safe.  ICRC and Haitian Red Cross tracing teams, working in close cooperation with the authorities, other agencies, interim care facilities and foster families, continue to look for unaccompanied children.

 

Some areas, such as education and agriculture, have received less attention and support than others.  This is a problem.  As far as agriculture goes, the planting season is just one month away.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) states that this largely urban disaster could produce a rural tragedy if the March to May planting season is interrupted.  About 40% of Haiti’s food staples are grown domestically and the rest is imported.   Eighty five percent of rural Haitians make their living by farming.   Approximately 500,000 Haitians have returned to the countryside, which is already straining rural food sources in the countryside and inflating prices.

 

Ways must be found to integrate the displaced into rural communities, where economically speaking, agriculture is the only game in town.  The FAO is trying to source seeds and tools from the Dominican Republic.  In addition, it seeks to rehabilitate Haiti’s agriculture ministry, increase urban gardening (as Cuba does), and support agriculture programming for the displaced.  The Haitian government is asking for US$700 million to rejuvenate the agricultural sector.  This would include boosting small gardens, fixing irrigation canals and giving farmers seeds and tools, as well as constructing roads and reviving sweet potato cultivation and aquaculture.

 

The International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) signed a grant agreementof US$5.7 million to support agricultural production in some of the poorest regions located in the North of Haiti.  The grant agreement was signed in Santo Domingo by Joanas Gué, Minister for Agriculture of Haiti and the Director, Latin America and Caribbean Division of IFAD, Josefina Stubbs. The grant will supplement IFAD's ongoing project to increase agricultural production by modernizing irrigation infrastructure.  Strengthening irrigation systems, including those reportedly damage by the earthquake, will provide improve access to water resources for small farmers.

 

Haitians value education.  Ensuring access to education will be a major relief to parents and recreate a sense of normalcy for children.  The Ministry of Education estimates that 450,000 children have been displaced by the earthquake.  OCHA reports that up to 4,600 schools were affected.   Directors of the Departments which were not affected have been requested to register displaced children so they can access schools.  Although schools in non-affected areas re-opened on 1 February, the attendance rate has been very low, according to UNICEF.   Parents are interested to send their children back to school but there are still fears of aftershocks.  Education partners are working with the Ministry of Educaiton to broadcast plans to provide incentive packages for children and cash to teachers to encourage both to return to school.  There is a concern that if schools do not open by March 31, the school year will be too short for full completion.

 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is appealing for donations to rehabiliate the educational system – primary, secondary, technical, and vocational.  Brazil, Bulgaria, Israel and the Norwegian Refugee Council have made pledges to UNESCO for Haiti programming already.   For the time being, UNESCO is providing temporary work space and equipment to the Ministry of Education and will train Ministry officials on emergency response preparedness and response.   Restoring the educational system will help create hope for a  better future.

 

In Washington DC, the World Bank has set up a Haiti Situation Room.  According to Reuters, the Situation Room contains materials assembled by thousands of volunteers from 103 organizations including universities, government and private aid agencies, and companies helping the earthquake-devastated nation. The software specialists, scientists and technicians from around the world have joined disaster experts and urban planners at the World Bank.  According to Reuters, by working with groups like Google, Yahoo, NASA and Microsoft, ImageCAT and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the World Bank had halved the preparation time for disaster damage assessments.

 

The World Bank notes that the first challenge is to ensure the government, still operating out of a police station, can function properly and play a leading role in the recovery.  The Government took major losses.  Some have estimated up to 40% of senior civil servants in Haiti died during the earthquake.  All but two Ministry buildings were destroyed.  The government reports that approximately 60% of its buildings have been destroyed.  World Bank, EU, Canada and the US have offered to help with the relocation and reconstruction of buildings for the Government authorities.

 

While no Ministers were killed, they lost friends, families, and senior aides.  The government is extremely sensitive to the assertion that they were slow in responding or that they have not responded at all, which is clear in the following Al Jazeera video entitled "Hope Among the Rubble."  On a side note, you can find more video footage at Reliefweb.

 

To be fair, the emergency response capacity of the government was basically wiped out.  Still, the Haitian people wanted to hear early on from their government (read: President) that their suffering was acknowledged and that helping them was a high priority.  A speech, a radio address, or a well timed public appearance would have made an enormous difference.  The lack of visibility has damaged the credibility of the government.  Preval is a good man who has done much for Haiti, but he is now dealing with protests and calls (from some parties) for his resignation.

 

So far, the international community has pledged 2 billion for the Haiti response.   Still, the international community often makes pledges to Haiti which never produce contributions.  Bill Clinton will need to put pressure on donors, publicly if need be, to live up to their commitments.

 

Africa has shown solidarity with Haiti.  Several African countries, despite their own challenges, made financial contributions to the Haiti response.  Senegal has offered to resettle an unspecified number of Haitians, noting the historical links between Haiti and west Africa.  The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also offered land, but to my knowledge, no-one has taken them up on that offer.

 

The Caribbean has shown solidarity with Haiti.  Many Cuban medical staff were on the ground before the earthquake, and they have been actively responding to the health needs of survivors.  Cuba has established five field hospitals in Haiti already including in Croix des Bouqets, Carrefour, Leogane and Jacmel.  The Dominican Republic is serving as a logistics hub for getting cargo and staff into Haiti.  It has also allowed medical referrals for injured Haitians to be treated in the Dominican Republic.  Haiti also accepted a handful of Dominican peacekeepers, something unthinkable before the earthquake.  Guyana pledged US $1 million to support the rebuilding of Haiti’s health care system.  Antigua and Barbuda is granting visa waivers to allow Haitians to join their relatives.  The Jamaican military opened a base within two days of the earthquake in order to assist with response efforts.  The Jamaican government announced it would withdraw troops, but retracted that decision when the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) agreed to provide J$40 million to cover expenses incurred up to January 30.  The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been involved since the onset of the disaster and has emphasized that Haiti is one of its top priorities.

 

Latin America has shown solidarity with Haiti.  Brazil is the backbone of the MINUSTAH peacekeeping force.  The Organization of American States (OAS) will assist Haiti’s rebuilding process by: (1) supporting good governance and state institutions; (2) providing technical assistance during elections; (3) building capacity for trade, tourism, and investment; (4) promoting education throughout scholarships and exchanges with universities in the Western Hemisphere; and (5) advancing food security.  OAS intends to strengthen its presence in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

 

Canada has agreed to accept more Haitian immigrants and there are calls from advocacy groups for the United States to do the same.  The United States government has made the Haiti response a priority.  Responding agencies include the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, the Agency for International Development, the Department of State, and others.  Americans have been very generous in their support of the non-governmental and international organizations responding in Haiti.  Israeel deployed search and rescue teams immediately.  The European Union has provided strong financial support to the response as have its member countries.  France, with whom Haiti has traditionally had a rather strained relationship, has provided 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid via Martinique and Guadeloupe and deployed over a thousand emergency responders, police, and soldiers to assist.  The United Kingdom, through its Department For International Development, is also playing an important role.  The G7 nations, which includes the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan have pledged to write off Haiti’s debts. There are calls for other countries and institutions to follow their lead. 

 

The list of other countries that have responded in some shape or form is a long one.  It includes Taiwan, China, Russia, Venezuela, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Sweden, Guatemala, Korea, Japan, Spain, Venezuela, Ireland, Denmark, Hungary, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Australia, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, Finland, Luxembourg, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Norway, Italy, Estonia, Indonesia, The Phillipines, Beglium, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, Argentina, Bolivia, India, Peru, Iceeland, Ecuador, and Singapore.   You can learn more about their involvement at Reliefweb

 

I am often asked whether anything postive will come out of this tragedy.  This has been upsetting to think about, given the massive loss of lives and livelihoods.  Still, the earthquake happened and we can't change that now. We have to look ahead and be strategic.  With that in mind, here are some ideas.  There is an oppportunity for a more neighborly relationship with the Dominican Republic.  Donors are more likely to commit to long term committment and coordination now.  Choice Hotels and several other companies have announced they will still invest in Haiti - which tells me private sector investment is not off the table.  If the cash for work programs are scaled up, they could produce something akin to the Haitian Civilian Conversation Corps that Haiti Innovation, Robert Maguire, and other Haiti watchers have been advocating for years.  There is more attention now to vulnerable children then every before in Haiti - enough so that the government will be more likely to develop and enforce policies concerning restaveks, orphans, trafficking, etc.  Port au Prince can be rebuilt with urban planning in mind, to make it a more livable and disaster resistant city.  Haiti might now be able to develop its own construction industry.   Haiti' s population has "ruralized" for the first time since independence.  Haiti's secondary cities like Cap Haitian and Jacmel will become more economically and socially important.  The Diaspora will become more important to Haiti's future than they ever have before.  The debt forgiveness process is being expedited.  Haitians in the United States have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) now and can't be deported for the immediate future.  All this doesn't change the fact that Haiti would be so much better off without the earthquake having happened, but we have to work with the hand that we've been dealt.

 

If all goes well, I'll be in Haiti within the next few days.  Thank you for reading, for your support and encouragement, and for all you are doing to help Haiti.  Mesi anpil.

 

Bryan              

 

 *Photo Credit: Adam Rogers/ UNDP

Comments

Caribbean 360
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KINGSTON, Jamaica, February 8, 2010 – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has committed to financing the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) relief base in Haiti for another month before the regional grouping shifts its focus to recovery interventions and longer term contributions. The additional funding, which will run until March 5th, will come from the government of the Bahamas. The assurance was given over the weekend, after the Jamaica government first announced its pullout and less than 24 hours later a suspension of the withdrawal, citing mounting bills and lack of financial support.
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Two days after the January 12th 7.0-magnitude earthquake, Jamaica established a military base facilitating troops and health workers from that country and other CARICOM nations. The government received J$10 million (US$112,739) reimbursement from CARICOM last week with the assurance that an additional J$30 million (US$ 338,218) was on the way.
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CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerritt, commended members of the JDF for the role that they have played so far in Haiti, noting that at an appropriate time, CARICOM will formally recognise their contribution.
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Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Jeremy Collymore, said that by March 5th, the framework and action for the longer term commitment in Haiti will be well underway. "At that time the focus will be shifted from relief and emergency care to looking at some recovery interventions and longer term contributions, commitments and solutions, such as health interventions," he said.
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As a result of the assistance provided by CARICOM in Haiti so far, more than 3,000 persons have been given first treatment by doctors, with several repeats; there have been more than 200 major operations; 15 search and rescue missions; and the moving of 95 tonnes of tinned food, 41 tonnes of water and four tonnes of medical supplies. Additionally, Collymore said, approximately 40 containers of food supplies, which have been collected from across the Community through national and civil society co-ordination, would be sent to the Haiti.
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"One key area of the support to Haiti that we think is making a difference is the technical assistance in helping to establish a relief distribution system. There will be house management, as well as guidelines for the many camps that have been established. In fact, that has allowed the government of Haiti to now say to the international donors that they want them to respond to their priorities, because they now have the technical capacity," he said.
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Collymore noted that the area of accommodation is a "very serious one", adding that tents have been organised to address shelter for 5,000 persons. These, he said, should be on the ground starting sometime next week.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Guyana has been deemed by the United Nations to be the kindest country regarding monetary and other donations to Haiti. ReliefWeb, a UN-operated website providing the latest information to humanitarian organizations, on Friday released a graph detailing funding by countries to Haiti. Guyana emerged as the top country in terms of donations against its GDP, which is just over one billion dollars per year.
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About .088 percent of Guyana’s GDP has been donated to Haiti in the form of government aid and personal contributions by the Guyanese people, the UN graph tracking donations showed. On average, each person in Guyana donated US$1.31. The Guyanese Red Cross announced donations of over GY$250 million (US$1.4 million) to Haiti.
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Ghana was number two with .018 of its GDP donated to Haiti. The average donated per person in Ghana was US$0.13. Canada had the highest per-person donations at US$3.92 and 0.0087 of its GDP has been committed to Haiti. The United States donated an average of US$0.52 per person and has committed 0.0011 of its total GDP.
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Following the devastating January 12 earthquake, President Bharrat Jagdeo announced a US$ 1 million assistance for the island and organized a national stakeholders meeting and established a Haiti relief committee, which has managed to raise over GY$60 million in cash and several millions in kind, including food, clothing tents medical supplies and water thus far.
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On Friday, cabinet secretary Dr Roger Lunchon said the US$1 million committed by the government will go towards the CARICOM health response initiative.
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“Government’s pledge of US$1 million will now be provided to CARICOM to support the financing of the proposed health initiative, concurrent goods, equipment and supplies collected by the committee and other parties in Guyana,” Luncheon told a news conference. This is apart from the other funds and the other items donated by individual Guyanese, part of which has already been sent to the impoverished Caribbean island.

BY KATHLEEN McGRORY
The Miami Herald
kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com
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PORT-AU-PRINCE -- With schools in Haiti's capital city closed since last month's catastrophic earthquake -- and unlikely to open for several months -- informal classes have begun springing up in the streets. ``The children are traumatized,'' said René Michel Longchamp, who gives lessons to the kids living in tents inside Haiti's national soccer stadium. ``As a teacher, I'm obligated to work with them. I want things to feel as normal as possible.''
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The older children play games and read Bible verses; the youngest children review colors, shapes and numbers. And even in the wealthy suburbs, parents are hiring out-of-work teachers to privately tutor their children for upcoming state exams.
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``Our entire education system is suffering,'' said Micheline Augustin-Pierre, co-director of the collapsed Ecole Guatemala. ``It will take a long time to rebuild it.''More than 80 percent of the 5,000 schoolhouses in Port-au-Prince were destroyed or significantly damaged in the Jan. 12 earthquake. Last week, some primary and secondary schools outside of the capital city opened their doors to students for the first time since the quake. But the Ministry of Education says schools in Port-au-Prince and other areas affected by the earthquake won't open again until March. And some educators say even that is a lofty goal.
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In the meantime, makeshift schools are springing up in the encampments that shelter children and their families. Inside the national soccer stadium -- now a bustling tent city home to several hundred people -- Longchamp leads more than 60 children in daily exercises. On a recent morning, the children formed a massive circle. They lay on their bellies, pretending to swim like little fish.
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``All right, my friends, let's jump up and down,'' Longchamp said, prompting the children to spring to their feet and bounce. The teacher then invited 7-year-old Celena Chehe into the center of the circle, and asked her to recite a poem she had learned in school. ``Father Christmas, bring me a doll and something for my brother,'' the girl sang in her tiny voice, before curtsying and returning to her place in the circle. The other children cheered.
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``I am happy that we have school again,'' Celena said. ``It's fun.'' In the camp at the Saint-Louis de la Gonzague school, the little children sat in a circle on the blacktop, singing songs their teachers had taught them before the earthquake. Adults stood around, clapping and offering encouraging words.
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Experts say the children of Haiti need continuity and stimulation in the aftermath of the quake, the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. The hundreds of thousands of kids not attending makeshift school are at risk of getting involved in gangs, or finding adults who might exploit them.
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What's more, Haitian children have to take the national exams in June. The Ministry of Education has yet to decide if the tests will be administered this year, but some parents want their children to be ready anyway. Already, eight parents have asked teacher Donald Dorcella to tutor their children. Dorcella is now planning to open an informal private school in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.
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``My job is to do whatever I can to keep our children educated,'' he said. Dorcella said he will teach basics: math, science, French literature and social sciences. But he knows he will have to take a new approach to keep the children engaged in their studies, given what they have witnessed.
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Some of the youngsters seem to be without hope. ``They don't see the point of their studies,'' Dorcella said. ``I have to make it fun for them.''
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He plans to include popular movies, jokes and songs in his curriculum. He will also include Bible studies for at least 30 minutes a day, he said. Still, other wealthy and middle-class parents are choosing to send their children to schools in the nearby Dominican Republic and Florida. ``It's like a mini-exodus,'' said Bernard Brutus, a Port-au-Prince physician whose kids are attending school in Orlando. ``We don't know when school will open.''

The Globe and Mail
Anna Mehler Paperny
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Papaye, Haiti — The Rosier family was always close. Just not this close. Twenty-five people – parents, grandparents, children, nephews, cousins and in-laws – have been living in the family patriarch's farmhouse in Haiti's Plateau Central for close to a month. Standing outside, hacking his palm trees to pieces to build shacks for his growing household, patriarch Ilson Rosier smiles and shrugs.
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“They're family – of course I have to take them in. We'll do what we can.” But his seven children and their families now sharing cooking, washing and living space are starting to worry how they'll make ends meet. The Rosier brood is among the hundreds of thousands who have fled devastated Port-au-Prince to seek refuge in the provinces.
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It's a bizarre reversal of what has been the demographic norm in Haiti for decades: People leaving the underdeveloped, isolated provinces en masse in search of far richer opportunities in the capital.
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But now more than half a million people have left for the countryside, dramatically boosting a formerly dwindling population that lacked the services to care for itself even before the influx. The demographic spike – a jump of as much as 20 per cent in some regions – places enormous pressure on already inadequate resources.
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The exodus from the capital is creating an aftershock of its own as farming families starve – and jeopardize future harvests – trying to feed and house a slew of additional, hungry mouths.
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Local aid groups say it's an immediate humanitarian emergency, but one with huge potential for positive change: They hope the impetus of providing for the influx of people can do what decades of well-intentioned development projects haven't – bring services to regions long neglected and create agricultural communities that can actually feed themselves.
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The Plateau Central is like most of Haiti: An agricultural region that can't feed itself. Thanks to decades of environmental degradation, and despite innumerable failed development projects, land here remains low yielding, its farmers poor.
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And the earthquake is making a bad situation dire: In a good year, Haiti's farmers can supply 30 per cent, perhaps 40 per cent, of the country's rice and corn staples. But this is not a good year.
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Joseph Junior Lapaix, a member of the local Movement for the Peasants of Papaye, says this year, farmers will be lucky if they get half their normal yield.
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Still reeling from hurricanes in 2008, farmers in the Plateau Central are dipping into their seed storages to feed the influx of people, jeopardizing the coming planting season and next year's harvest. Cutting trees to build new living quarters is robbing farmers of precious resources and exacerbating already existing erosion.
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The Movement for the Peasants of Papaye has launched an emergency aid drive for the more than 1,500 people that have arrived in the town of about 9,000 – many with no family and nowhere to stay.
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Patrick and Stevenson Rosier had paying jobs, homes and families of their own in Port-au-Prince, where they moved from tiny Papaye years ago.
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Stevenson worked as a college art professor, Patrick as a high-school teacher. When the Jan. 12 earthquake left them with no houses and no jobs, they brought their families home. The 25-person household overflows the farm's main concrete house, into small wooden buildings outside, long abandoned because they were structurally unsound.
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“But now they're inhabitable!” Patrick joked, showing off the room where he sleeps with his wife, Marie-Carme Rosier Delphin, and their infant son.
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They're not sure what's next. They'd head back to Port-au-Prince if there was anything to return to. But it remains in ruins. It will be years before the capital is fully functioning again.
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In the meantime, the Rosiers are looking for work.
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Patrick says he's willing to do anything – try any field. But no one's hiring and the entrepreneurial climate in Haiti's poorest province is less than inspiring. “We're ‘researching,'“ he said sheepishly. “But there's no work. No demand. So we wait.”

Source: Habitat for Humanity International <http://www.habitat.org/>
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - 500 families affected by the powerful earthquake in Haiti will receive basic equipment for the construction of temporary shelter. The kits include tools and other materials that allow them to build a temporary shelter with some level of security, and make small repairs to homes damaged by the earthquake. These kits were prepared by volunteers from Habitat for Humanity in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic last weekend, and have arrived in Port au Prince for distribution.
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The assembly took place on Saturday, January 30th, in the warehouses of a private company that provided the space to Habitat Dominican Republic at no cost. Thirty-two volunteers and several Habitat for Humanity staff assembled the kits.
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The Shelter Kits will help families to make immediate repairs or to build temporary shelter, typically at the site where their homes were located before. Among the items that are included in the kit are tarpaulins, braided rope, wire, duct tape, a pry bar, pliers gloves, dust masks, a metal hacksaw, a knife, hammer and nails. These items are packaged in a sealed bucket that can be used for other purposes later on.
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It is expected that in the coming days another 500 buckets with similar content will be prepared at the facilities of the Carol Morgan School, a private American school in Santo Domingo. The school will allocate about 100 of its students for this work. Kits are also to be assembled by volunteers in Georgia and Mississippi, U.S.A.
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Given the number of houses damaged and destroyed in Haiti, Habitat for Humanity International is planning an aggressive and long term mission to help low-income families to have adequate and safe housing - many of them first time in their life.

By Jesus Sanchis
Latin American Herald Tribune
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SANTO DOMINGO - Authorities in the Dominican Republic fear an increase of immigration from Haiti if work doesn't begin soon to rebuild the capital, Port-au-Prince, shaken by a devastating magnitude-7.0 earthquake last month that has already resulted in 212,000 deaths. "Our fear is that if international aid for rebuilding Port-au-Prince doesn't come quickly, it could spur new levels of desperation" among Haitians to enter the Dominican Republic, Vice Adm. Sigfrido Pared Perez said.
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"We trust that things will get organized quickly to prevent that situation," he said, adding that the start of Port-au-Prince reconstruction works will create jobs, which will ease pressure on the border.
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"That's the part that interests us most, that they will need a great many Haitian workers in Port-au-Prince and that will ease the pressure a little," the former defense minister said. Frustration is running high in Haiti over the insufficient distribution of food and supplies, due in part to problems of coordination between the humanitarian aid organizations that flocked to the country in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 temblor, which also left an estimated 1.5 million homeless.
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After the earthquake, repatriation of illegal Haitians from the Dominican Republic was suspended, the border was opened to let in the injured, and documents were given to Haitians in the process of legalizing their stay in the country so that they could go see their families without any problem of getting back in. Pared Perez said that, besides these and other measures, more than 2,000 forms were handed out to allow the exit of Haitians in the country illegally who "were in a state of desperation and wanted to find out about their families."
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All this, he said, "affected immigration control, but we're willing to pay that price to help our brother nation, which has been hit by a tragedy unprecedented in its history." Several weeks after the tragedy, the armed forces and the Cesfront border patrol have begun to apply measures to stop illegals from crossing the border, the immigration chief said.
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He estimated that since the temblor struck, between 30,000 and 50,000 people could have entered Dominican territory from Haiti, a figure that includes between 15,000 and 20,000 injured, as well as their family members and people who have simply entered the country illegally. "Instructions are now being given to establish more effective controls and avoid these conditions being used for the purpose of people-trafficking," Pared Perez told Efe.
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About the cases of Haitian children wandering around the streets in the northern city of Santiago, in Santo Domingo and other places, he said that his department "cannot detain those kids nor send them to the border" to repatriate them because the law protects them. For that reason Unicef and organizations like the National Council for Children and Adolescents, or Conani, have been called on to provide shelters for those homeless children and establish procedures for attending to their situation.
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Although there are no official figures, there could be between 700,000 and 1 million undocumented Haitians in the Caribbean nation, "too many for a country like the Dominican Republic," he said.
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Dominican authorities are awaiting the approval of a regulation implementing the Migration Law, an instrument which, in the opinion of the head of the department, "should be accompanied by the modernization of the migration system" with biometric controls and other measures.
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"I hope that once and for all the Migration Office stops being the Cinderella of the Dominican government," said Pared Perez, who is also the ex-head of the National Department of Investigations, which is requesting a budget of between 1.5 billion and 2 billion pesos (between $40-55 million) instead of the current 400 million pesos ($11 million), and 2,500 inspectors, a thousand more than it has a present.

Video link below:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/07/AR201002...
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Washington Post
By Peter Slevin
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This was not the kind of stage Esceline Belcombe was accustomed to. She sang with sandaled feet planted deep in the dust of a footpath that cuts across a steep hill and turns down toward a river of tattered-cloth shelters.
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Her voice seemed out of place, as did she and as do the hundreds of thousands of people shaken from their homes by Haiti's "tremblement de terre," the earthquake that struck nearly a month ago.
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Belcombe, 22, is a songstress whose voice carried her to the finals of "Miss Videomax," a Haitian talent show that is a cross between beauty contest and "American Idol." She is holding fast to her dreams of stardom, no easy task inside the sweltering nomad's shelter that has become her house.
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"I'm willing to fight. I don't want my life to end up here," Belcombe said one recent day as she nursed her 4-month-old daughter, Chrestlene. "Once I get a tent, I'm going to ask my neighbor to give me a place in his yard." These days in Port-au-Prince, where the United Nations estimates that roughly half the population is sleeping outdoors, acquiring a tent is an ambition verging on fantasy. The odds of winning a talent show are better.
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Belcombe thinks back and looks ahead. What she sees is a brighter version of her early success. In high school, she wrote and performed dramatic monologues, often about violence against women. Later, she created the role of a farm girl who loses her dreams in clouds of marijuana smoke. Two years ago, Belcombe's voice and charm propelled her up the ranks of "Miss Videomax," which is sponsored by a Haitian television network. She lost. Yet, just as she is doing now, she counted herself down but not out.
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Belcombe was not home at 5 p.m. on Jan. 12, when the earthquake destroyed her family's concrete-slab house in the capital's Delmas neighborhood. Her parents, siblings and niece survived. Her former boyfriend -- Chrestlene's father -- died in the collapse of the Hotel Montana. Until last month, the site of the encampment that Belcombe and her family share with an estimated 30,000 people was the exclusive Petionville Club golf course. Neither the course nor the people who camp there much resemble their former selves.
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During the day, the residents kill time. They cook, now that Catholic Relief Services, with the help of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, has distributed lentils, rice and oil. At night, Belcombe and her family stay close together, for reassurance as much as security. Recently, Belcombe sorted through a box of mementos -- diplomas, childhood photographs, CDs, awards -- after hiring men to burrow into the crumbled living room of her former home.
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"I'm working on a melody," said Belcombe, who swears she will be known across "the entire country" one day. "I'm going to emphasize what happened, and I'm going to pray to God."

Associated Press
By BEN FOX
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A half-million Haitians who fled their shattered capital after the earthquake are starting to return to a maze of rubble piles, refugee camps and food lines, complicating ambitious plans to build a better Haiti. Haitian and international officials had hoped to use the devastation of Port-au-Prince - a densely packed sprawl of winding roads and ramshackle slums that is home to a third of Haiti's 9 million people - to build an improved capital and decentralize the country.
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An estimated 500,000 people fled to the countryside in the days after the quake, many on buses paid for by the government to move quake survivors away from the heart of the destruction. Hundreds of thousands more are camped atop the rubble of their homes, or packed into makeshift camps. Now some of those who fled are beginning to return after enduring the rural misery that drove them to Port-au-Prince in the first place.
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"I didn't like it there," said Marie Marthe Juste, selling fried dough on the streets near the capital's Petionville suburb after returning from La Boule, in the mountains 20 miles (30 kms) to the north. "My friends help me down here. Up there, I just sat around all day. At least here I can sell things to make a little money," she said, hobbling on crutches because she injured her ankle in the quake.
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The government is largely powerless to keep people from returning, though Prime Minister Max Bellerive protested this week that Port-au-Prince cannot withstand another influx of people. "It's impossible for these people to come back before the capital is reconstructed," he said. The idea was to use the quake as an opportunity to fix some of Haiti's long-standing problems. President Rene Preval's "Operation Demolition," an ambitious plan to clear the rubble, includes provisions to remove people living in unstable buildings by force, according to Aby Brun, an architect and member of the government's reconstruction team.
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"We will destroy in an orderly and secure manner," Brun said. Haiti's government on Friday announced a ban on rebuilding until it completes damage assessments and introduces a new building code to be developed with "international partners." A notice broadcast in Creole on radio warned people against sleeping under or near any damaged buildings. It was not clear how the government would enforce the edict.
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A major part of that reconstruction plan is encouraging Haitians to move away from the capital, providing jobs and basic services in other cities, towns and villages. "We want to create opportunities for them as well in the second cities," said the U.S. Agency for International Development's No. 2 official, Dr. Anthony Chan.
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But Haitians are already streaming back to their shattered capital. "This has been my home," said Alberto Shoute, 62, who returned to his flattened concrete house after eight days in the southern town of Jeremie. "Most people are from here and they didn't want to stay with people they barely knew. More are planning to come back soon."
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Alfredo Stein, of the University of Manchester's Global Urban Research Centre, said planners must assume people will return - and must work closely with them to rebuild. Rather than thinking people are in the way, planners must consider their return to be an opportunity to fix not just the bricks and mortar but Haiti's social fabric, he said.
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Haiti plans to build camps with sanitation outside the city, but Stein said such efforts usually fail.
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"You're going to be constructing ghettos that are far away from where people will need to restore their economic lives," Stein said. "Experiences in other parts of the world show that after disasters, when people are resettled far away from where they were living, (they) turned out to be very complicated places where there is a lot of crime."
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In Port-au-Prince, the U.N. says there are a half-million people in 315 encampments, most without sanitation. Schools are closed - or gone. There's enough rubble to fill five football stadiums the size of New Orleans' Superdome, and more than 1 million people need to be provided with food and water.
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But if the government has a plan to rebuild, Bellerive did not reveal it - and no one knows when, or to what extent a new capital will rise.
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The need remains pressing. A crowd of Haitians swarmed into a Dominican tractor-trailer near the capital's airport Friday and stole 2 tons of food and water. The looting happened when someone noticed the Dominican driver got stuck while trying to make a U-turn. In a nearby industrial park, other desperate and hungry Haitians ransacked eight truckloads of food and water, also from the Dominican Republic. It happened virtually under the noses of soldiers of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division.
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"Our guys weren't going to break out shields and start hitting people. That's not what we are here for," Lt. Col. Keith Pelligrini said as his troops cleaned up the mess. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Friday in his role as a U.N. special envoy for Haiti relief. He expressed faith in Haiti's leaders and predicted the country would emerge stronger than before.
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"They have a commitment to building the country they want to become, not just the country they were," he said during a tour of the Port-au-Prince clinic GHESKIO, widely considered to be the world's oldest AIDS clinic. While the government says it will build suburban camps, the International Organization for Migration is trying a different tactic: Handing out tarpaulins, tools and basic building materials so people can erect simple shelters where they are.
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"People need to be where their support networks are," said spokesman Mark Turner. Otherwise, he said, "They will be dependent on aid for a very long time." Port-au-Prince has long been a powerful magnet for people throughout Haiti. It generates about 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product. "In Haiti, things are not easy, so you go where you find the opportunity," said 23-year-old Ebed Jacques, a law student who left the capital after the earthquake and has returned - for now - to his native St. Marc, a bustling fishing town 70 miles (110 kms) north of the capital. "The jobs are in Port-au-Prince and the schools are in Port-au-Prince, so that's where you go."
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And despite Haitian and international efforts, opportunities remain few and far between in the countryside. Most refugees from the capital are in northern Haiti's Artibonite Valley, a starkly desolate region of rice fields and deforested mountains the color of cigarette ash.
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The influx has strained small towns with few schools and few jobs beyond subsistence farming. It inflated prices for sugar, rice and other basics, and a lack of rain could hurt upcoming harvests in the region, which is Haiti's breadbasket. In Gros Morne, a town of unpaved streets at the valley's northern edge, Ann Rose Solitaire, 36, is living with eight relatives crowded into a simple shack with a corrugated metal roof. She sent her mechanic husband back to Port-au-Prince, 100 miles (160 kms) to the southeast, and will probably join him soon.
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"I'm here because I have nowhere else to go. But I don't want to stay," Solitaire said. "There's no way to support my family."

Note to readers: The term "refugee" is used incorrectly in this article. Haitans who have lost their home are "internally displaced".

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870404150457504563045690253...
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By IANTHE JEANNE DUGAN
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—The only place in Haiti that makes artificial limbs and teaches people how to use them was destroyed in the earthquake, a loss that symbolizes the hard road ahead for this impoverished nation's countless new amputees. Healing Hands for Haiti, a nonprofit with a rambling headquarters in the capital's Delmas neighborhood, has treated more than 25,000 people over 10 years. Now, as experts estimate that as many as 40,000 people underwent amputations in the quake's aftermath, the group's facilities are in a shambles. "We have to start over," says executive director Eric Doubt.
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Even before the quake, Haiti's underfunded health-care system lacked resources for people who lost limbs in car accidents or to infections. The situation was complicated by a government that offered little support for the disabled, and a culture in which some people regarded the disabled bad luck because of the economic burden they represented. Healing Hands is among many organizations and private doctors that are attempting to create, virtually from scratch, a system to treat amputees, who need urgent care now and maintenance for decades. The immediate need is for crutches and exercise therapy that will keep remaining muscles functioning. Artificial limbs, once fitted, need to be changed every three to five years, and every six months for growing children.
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"Prosthetics are not a one-time thing," says Rob Sheridan, a surgeon from Massachusetts General who performed amputations on many earthquake victims at a hospital in rural Cange, 35 miles from Port-au-Prince, run by Boston-based nonprofit Partners in Health. Dr. Sheridan, who also is chief of burn surgery at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, is one of many doctors who performed life-saving operations and now plan to help rehabilitate patients. "We are trying to put together a program that would last a generation," he said.
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The United Nations has put together a "sub cluster" to help disabled in the wake of Haiti's earthquake. The group, headed by Handicap International, had its first meeting in late January in Port-au-Prince, with representatives from the Haitian government as well as Healing Hands, Doctors Without Borders, Christian Blind Mission International and others.
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The group will start producing temporary "emergency" prostheses in mid-February with salvaged equipment from Healing Hands in a tent compound near the Port-au-Prince airport. Components are to be shipped this weekend from France to supply 50 temporary artificial legs to patients whose stumps will soon be healed enough to be fitted, which takes between 4 weeks to several months. Components for 250 more prostheses are to arrive in the next month. These temporary limbs allow patients to regain mobility and generally they receive a customized limb in four to six months.
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The group is planning to build at least one more new prosthetic factory in addition to the one Healing Hands intends to rebuild. "We will need more than one plant to handle all of this," says Wendy Batson, Handicap International's executive director. The goal, Ms. Batson says, is to train workers to use local material to produce limbs at a cost residents can sustain—about $35 to $75 each for materials and labor. By comparison, in the U.S., insurance companies are billed as much as $20,000 each.
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The number of Haiti's new amputees remains unknown. Handicap International counted 1,500 at 14 hospitals and heard of another 500. Ms. Batson estimates there are perhaps 4,000 in all. Joia S. Mukherjee, medical director for Partners in Health, estimates 20,000 to 40,000 people may have lost limbs. At the group's hub in Cange, doctors in two operating rooms performed dozens of amputations in a single week. "This is going to be like Cambodia," she says, which has more than 40,000 amputees whose limbs were blown off by land mines.
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Haiti's wounded were in worse condition than those in other countries hit by quakes, such as Pakistan and China, says Handicap International's Ms. Batson, because Haiti's medical infrastructure was destroyed. Many people lacked access to quick treatment that would have forestalled gangrene. Joseph Shello, a construction worker, spent four days seeking medical care after the earthquake. By then, it was too late to save his mangled right hand, doctors at the Partners in Health Cange hospital told him. "I don't know how I will work again," said Mr. Shello.
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The problem is among many acute medical issues facing Haiti. Trauma cases are decreasing, doctors say, but more patients now require mental-health care. Also on the rise are cases of diarrhea, tetanus and chicken pox, according to the United Nations. To prevent the spread of disease, the government says it will begin emergency vaccinations this week. UNICEF intends to deliver 24,000 latrine slabs, but is puzzling over how to install them amid rocky ground, concrete surfaces and a lack of sewage.
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Giving birth to handicapped children, Mr. Doubt says, is considered bad luck because it economically disadvantages a family. Orphanages have a disproportionate number of disabled children as a result. He and others hope that given the new wave of amputees that have come out of the earthquake, the nation, with the help of outside organizations, will build a better support system. "We are talking to foundations, medical bodies and other non-government organizations," Mr. Doubt says. "We are trying to find the resources to get something going quickly to rebuild."

The LA Times
By Scott Kraft
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Reporting from Cap-Haitien, Haiti - The unfinished wooden boat rocks gently in the backwater of Cap-Haitien Bay, lulling 17-year-old Douna Marcellus and two dozen others to sleep as tight balls of mosquitoes hover overhead. Cicadas serenade them from the reeds on one bank and, on the other, black pigs root through smoldering trash.
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Like the others in the boat, Douna is a refugee from Port-au-Prince and the unspeakable horrors of the earthquake and its aftermath. Her parents and sister were crushed in their home, just seconds after Douna walked out the front door to run an errand for her mother. The government offered free bus tickets out of town and Douna took one.
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But this city on Haiti's northern coast is just a way station. When builders finish the boat in a few days, it will set sail with the teenager and at least 40 others for the United States. If they survive the 600-mile crossing, and aren't intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard, they'll soon be walking the streets of opportunity.
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"America is a place where everybody can become someone," Douna says before bedding down for the night, an expression of certainty on her pretty young face. "It's where everyone lives like human beings." And besides, she says, "I have nowhere else to go." The Jan. 12 earthquake, and reports of a U.S. administration newly sympathetic to undocumented Haitians, has meant opportunity for the shady world of Cap-Haitien boat builders who promise to make the dream of life in the United States come true. The desperate are pouring into town and many of them, like Douna, plan to escape.
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In the early 1990s, when a junta drove President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power, thousands of Haitians left by boat for Florida to claim political asylum. But the U.S. reinstalled Aristide to power in 1994 and in recent years the flow of boat people from Haiti has slowed to a trickle. After the earthquake, the Obama administration quickly announced that it was granting "temporary protected status" to the more than 100,000 undocumented Haitians estimated to be living in the United States, and suspending deportation proceedings. That status can be extended up to 18 months.
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The move was generally welcomed by politicians on both sides of the aisle as a fitting humanitarian gesture in the wake of the tragedy. But some expressed concern that it might trigger renewed efforts by Haitians to attempt to enter the United States by sea. Haiti's ambassador to the United States recorded radio messages discouraging his countrymen from trying to make the risky journey, and the Coast Guard increased its patrols.
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"It's clearly something people here have thought of," said Charles Luoma-Overstreet, a spokesman with the State Department's Western Hemisphere bureau. "But we've not seen any increased outflow from Haiti." To qualify for temporary protected status, Haitians have to prove that they were in the United States on or before the quake. But for people in the country illegally, that could be difficult to verify, and the would-be immigrants in Cap-Haitien are counting on that.
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Dorcilien Louis, a taciturn man of 40, is the captain of Douna's 42-foot boat. Late last week, he was overseeing the final stages of construction: Workmen with long saws were building the cabin, and he had a crew out looking for material for a sail and a second motor. ("Our first engine has a little problem.") It took three months to build the boat, at a cost of about $8,000, he said. When he began the project, he wasn't thinking of Miami but of Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, about 130 miles away, where the authorities are less vigilant than the U.S. Coast Guard.
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During his 15 years as a captain, Louis has made a dozen journeys to the islands with passengers hoping to start new lives and, perhaps, eventually find a way to the United States. About half of those journeys were successful, he said.
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(When the authorities on those islands intercept boats from Haiti, they sink them, jail the passengers and put them on the next flight home. The U.S. Coast Guard sinks boats it intercepts as well, but usually transports the passengers back to Haiti on Coast Guard ships.)
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Louis changed his itinerary, though, and stepped up the ship construction after the quake, when thousands of people began arriving from Port-au-Prince. Some of them had money, and were looking for a way to get to the United States. "We've got a lot of demand, and these people from Port-au-Prince are the big customers," Louis said. "It's time to take the risk."
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He said 40 passengers had signed up for the journey and he was expecting 20 new arrivals from the capital. The boat is built for 40 people, "but it can hold 60," he said. And if a few more paying customers show up at the last minute, he added, "we'll squeeze them on too."
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The boat is being built on a narrow, secluded waterway that feeds into the bay, out of sight of Haitian coast guard patrols and U.S. ships that Louis said he's spotted on the shimmering blue sea just outside the bay. "The U.S. Coast Guard is giving us a lot of worries," said Walker Michel Bernard, one of the passengers, who was wearing an Ohio State University cap in the sweltering sun. "They've heard we are going. But we're watching them, and as soon as we get a chance, we think we can make it."
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The fare for the journey is flexible. For those who can pay, Louis charges $2,000. "But people who don't have money can bring wood for the ship," he said. "And people who don't have wood, we put them to work as builders." (As a teenager who lost her family in the quake, Douna is being allowed to go for free, he said.)
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Louis has never made the journey to the U.S., and navigation has been a problem for the boats, which often spend two weeks at sea on a trip that, even in the rickety boats, should take less than a week. But this time he is bringing along two navigators who've made the trip, though both were on boats that were stopped by the Coast Guard. If he makes it to Miami, Louis said, it'll be his last trip as a captain. He'll push the boat back out to sea and won't give it another thought.
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"I'm not coming back to Haiti. Screw the boat."
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Among Louis' passengers is Fanise Jean, 24, who lives on the ground floor of a pastel-pink French Creole house a short walk from the water. Jean has twice attempted the journey, once a year ago and again in July. Those journeys depleted her resources, which she collected as a beautician, and her stamina. "It's a lot of suffering," she said. "People throwing up on you, you can't take a shower, there's little food, and the boat is always shaking back and forth." One of her journeys lasted 14 days because the captain got lost, and three people became ill and died.
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Until last month, Jean had been resigned to waiting longer before trying again. But she began reconsidering two weeks ago, when she got word that her boyfriend, who lived in Port-au-Prince, had been crushed to death in the earthquake. "We had just talked that morning on the phone," she said.
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Then, she heard from a friend in Boston who had joined her on one of the earlier attempts to reach the United States. The friend, alone among those on the boat, had been allowed to stay because she was eight months pregnant. The baby was born and the friend was being held for deportation.
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"She called to tell me that she got her papers," Jean said. "Just like that. All the Haitians in the United States are getting their papers." So, Jean decided the time was right. On both of her previous trips, Jean got within sight of Miami before the Coast Guard arrived, and those memories have stayed with her.
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"We saw a lot of beautiful lights and a lot of cars," she said. "But we never touched the ground."
If she can just reach Florida, she said, "I won't have a problem. I know people everywhere there." Leaving her family makes her sad, "but I'm not all that sad, because I'm going to look for a better life." Douna, though, feels that she's leaving nothing behind.
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"I saw the house go down on my mother," she said. "No one is left for me."

The Vancouver Sun
By Lucile Malandain
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PORT-AU-PRINCE - Nearly a month after an earthquake devastated Haiti, medical teams still treat trauma patients but also face a new wave of ailments linked to poor hygiene and squalid, cramped living conditions. After three sleepless nights with debilitating pain in her lower back, 53-year-old Anne Setoute waited for her turn at the Canape Vert hospital in the capital Port-au-Prince.
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Her house came crashing down during the January 12 earthquake and a piece of rubble fell on her. She is still living in the street. Jean-Baptiste Andre, 55, was stopping in for care for the first time. Although he was not injured in the quake, he said his feet now felt like they were burning up and his stomach was cramping. Doctors say back or stomach pains linked to post-traumatic stress have become commonplace among the quake survivors due to the high anxiety triggered by the disaster itself and the many aftershocks and chaos that followed.
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"The first team of psychologists mostly took care of the first responders," acknowledged Damien Deluz, a government health care psychologist. In a catastrophe like this, he told AFP, "there is a phase that is shock; and then once life starts getting back to normal, the distress can take over again and there is a lot of post-traumatic stress disorder." Danielle Laporte-Chastes, 23, a nurse helping to run a field hospital in an industrial area of Port-au-Prince, said a variety of ailments were now cropping up due to the desperate post-quake living conditions.
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"The most serious problem we have now are people coming in with all kinds of infections, especially those related to lack of hygiene," said the nurse, who was working in the neighboring Dominican Republic before the quake. So far, however, authorities are not talking about a real epidemic.
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"There is a first phase dominated by trauma medicine, major injuries, bone breaks, broken backs . . . and then after a week, we are back to more everyday medicine," said Christian Riello, in charge of a Diquini hospital unit in Carrefour on the capital's western fringe.
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In addition to delivering babies, doctors are now caring for "a lot of babies who are living in poor hygienic conditions," he said, noting there was still too little care for too many patients. Families left homeless by the disaster pass along the news, and the whole neighborhood knows where to find international medical teams. Some of the patients treated in the quake's immediate aftermath return to get a fresh wound dressing or an update on their situation. Others live in hospital gardens in tents that serve as post-operative care centers.
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Several patients with major injuries have been slow to reach a care center or to travel to the capital. But such cases are getting rarer by the day. In the capital's Diquini neighborhood, patients with arms and legs in rustic prosthetics are crowded into the back of a truck. "An hour ago, I heard that a skin graft specialist was going to be at Canape Vert tonight and tomorrow, so I am sending him everybody I can find. It's their chance of a lifetime," said Riello.

By Ginger Thompson
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The floors were concrete and the windows were broken. There was no electricity or running water. Lunch looked like watery grits. Beds were fashioned from sheets of cardboard. And the only toilet did not work. But the Foyer of Patience is like hundreds of places that pass as orphanages for thousands of children in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Many centers are barely habitable, much less licensed. They have no means to provide real schooling, or basic medical care, so children spend their days engaged in mindless activities, and many die from treatable illnesses.
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And in the wake of an earthquake that has left this city in ruins, there is growing concern that an already-strained system is being overwhelmed, that inadequate orphanages are taking in more children than they can handle, and that vulnerable parents are turning to unregulated and often shady organizations for help. Haitian and international authorities also fear that less scrupulous orphanages are taking advantage of the chaos to round up children in crisis and offer them for sale as indentured servants and sex slaves.
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Haiti's child welfare system was broken before the earthquake struck, a casualty of poverty and ineffectual government. The earthquake intensified both problems as it shattered homes and drove hundreds of thousands of people into the streets, multiplying the number of children in need of care.
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But it took the arrest last weekend of 10 Americans caught trying to leave the country with 33 Haitian children to focus international attention on the nation's most vulnerable population. There is no clear evidence that the Americans, who said they were trying to rescue the children from the earthquake, meant any harm. But international children's advocacy groups say the ease with which the Americans could scoop up a busload of undocumented children points out the lack of safeguards in the system.
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"This has called the world's attention because it is the first clear piece of evidence that our fears have come true," said Patricia Vargas, the regional coordinator for SOS Children's Villages, which provides services to abandoned children around the world. "Our concern as an organization is how many other cases are out there that we are not aware of."
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The front line of the system is the orphanage, which in Haiti runs the gamut from large, well-equipped institutions with significant international financing to one-room hovels where a single woman in a poor slum cares for abandoned children as best she can.
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Most of the children living in them, authorities said, are not orphans at all, but children whose parents are unable to provide for them. To desperate parents, the orphanage is a godsend, a temporary solution to help a child survive a particularly tough economic stretch. Many orphanages offer regular visiting hours for parents, and when their situations improve, parents are allowed to pick up their children and take them back home.
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But instead of protecting vulnerable children, the authorities fear that some orphanages have become tools of their exploitation. "There are many so-called orphanages that have opened in the last couple of years that are not really orphanages at all," said Frantz Thermilus, chief of Haiti's National Judicial Police. "They are fronts for criminal organizations that take advantage of people who are homeless and hungry. And with the earthquake, they see an opportunity to strike in a big way."
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There is no precise count of the number of orphanages in this country, the number of children living in them, or the number of Haitian children who are victims of trafficking, although UNICEF estimates that number in the tens of thousands per year. Authorities said thousands of those trafficked were sold as servants, known as restaveks, for well-to-do Haitian families. Others, officials say, are smuggled into the Dominican Republic to do domestic and agricultural work, often in appalling conditions, without any rights.
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Haitian authorities acknowledge that the efforts of a financially struggling government plagued by corruption have proved little match for the highly organized, multimillion-dollar criminal networks.
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In the wake of the earthquake, the authorities put all adoptions on hold pending a review of hundreds of applications already in process.

2/3/2010
http://www.DirectRelief.org
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Direct Relief International today announced that it is committing $1.2 million - approximately one-third of the cash support it has received for recovery efforts in Haiti - to support the establishment of prosthetics and orthotics services and the provision of needed assistive devices and rehabilitation to enable long-term response efforts for the people affected by the recent earthquake.
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Direct Relief Emergency Preparedness and Response Director Brett Williams, who is in Haiti overseeing the organization's relief efforts, made this announcement today following consultation yesterday with other Haitian and international organizations who have formed a working group to coordinate assistance in the area of care for people who have sustained disabling conditions.
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"We know this is a long-term need, and we want help start services that will be here five years from now for Haitians, and run by Haitians," said Williams.
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"An additional $2 million likely will be needed, which we will work on, but we think it is important to carve out resources and begin focusing on this critical area now for the long haul," said Williams. "The funds we have received are for Haiti and Haitians, and they'll be invested in Haiti to build local capacity to sustain ongoing efforts."
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Williams led Direct Relief's effort in Pakistan following the massive 2005 earthquake to help the Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic and Orthotic Sciences (PIPOS) expand five-fold its services - including the fitting and local fabrication of prosthetics and orthotics - to serve thousands of people who had been left with disabilities. The expanded service centers continue to provide essential services with locally trained staff five years later, with ongoing support from Direct Relief.
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PIPOS Medical Director Dr. Bakht Sarwar is a world leader in prosthetics and orthotics services and was among the first to offer assistance to Direct Relief and its partners in Haiti after the quake. Direct Relief has supported local health efforts in Haiti since 1964 by providing essential medicines, supplies, and equipment to dozens of partner facilities. Since the January 12 quake, Direct Relief has sped medical aid to Haitian partner facilities struggling to meet the tremendous surge of injured patients.
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Meeting Immediate Needs: The organization yesterday also delivered six tons of essential medicines and medical supplies to St. Damien Hospital in Port-au-Prince, the nation's only free pediatric hospital, to help them treat injured patients. Including yesterday's delivery to St. Damien, Direct Relief has delivered to its partners more than $5.7 million in essential medical supplies, which have been donated by dozens of healthcare company partners. An additional $18.5 million in medical material requested by partner facilities is en route and will be delivered in the next several days, which will be followed by additional infusions in the months and years ahead.
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In spite of the widely reported bottlenecks of humanitarian aid, Direct Relief's assistance has reached the local healthcare facilities with which it is working, mainly because of pre-existing relations, specific targeting of aid to specific facilities that have requested them, and distribution channels to the facilities.
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To ensure coordination with other aid inflows and compliance with accepted practices in emergency situations, Williams and his Direct Relief colleagues also are meeting daily with other groups in the U.N.-led health and logistics clusters to share information and plans. With specific regard to donations of pharmaceutical products, which require specialized handling and tracking, Direct Relief is providing the World Health Organization/Pan-American Health Organization onsite event managers with detailed lists of all incoming medical material and the recipient facilities.
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About Direct Relief International: Founded in 1948, Direct Relief is a Santa Barbara, California-based nonprofit organization focused on improving quality of life by bringing critically needed medicines and supplies to local healthcare providers worldwide. Direct Relief has provided more than $1 billion in privately funded humanitarian aid since 2000, including more than $150 million in assistance in the United States. It has earned a fundraising efficiency score of 99 percent or better from Forbes for the past eight years, and is ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as California's largest international nonprofit organization based on private support. For more information, please visit www.DirectRelief.org

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
2/8/2010
By Chris Tidey
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, 8 February 2010 – Dr. Gerlant Van Berlaer is a paediatrician with B-Fast, a Belgian non-governmental organization and UNICEF partner specializing in rapid medical deployment to large-scale emergencies. His team arrived in Port-au-Prince one day after the 12 January earthquake, setting up a field hospital – complete with surgical suite – on the grounds of the Laboratoire National de Santé Publique. Nearly 40 per cent of Haitians are below the age of 14, and Dr. Van Berlaer estimated that more than 80 per cent of the patients treated by his team have been children.
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During the first few days after the earthquake, the majority of children and adults who came to the field hospital needed medical care for fractures and lacerations. Almost three weeks on, however, the health needs of children, in particular, are changing.
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With hundreds of thousands of quake survivors living at very close quarters in makeshift settlements, children are at risk of contracting life-threatening illnesses. "Certain diseases and medical conditions thrive in situations like this, where people in the camps are staying so close together, in some cases without access to clean water and proper sanitation," said Dr. Van Berlaer. He added that extensive immunization coverage is needed to prevent children from falling ill or even dying from vaccine-preventable diseases.
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UNICEF has begun a major immunization campaign for 500,000 Haitian children under seven. Children targeted in the drive – which started last week in the settlements for the displaced – are being immunized against measles, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
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Dr. Van Berlaer pointed out that undernutrition is also a real threat to children caught in a disaster such as the Haiti earthquake. Children left homeless and in temporary shelters in the quake zone are now largely dependent on international aid to meet their nutritional needs. At the B-Fast field hospital, Dr. Van Berlaer treated Jenan Louise Vanin's three-month-old daughter Morgane, who was suffering from dehydration and acute malnutrition; he administered a solution of oral rehydration salts provided by UNICEF.
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"UNICEF's ability to quickly provide partners on the ground with large quantities of medical supplies for children is so important," said Dr. Van Berlaer.
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When the global media spotlight inevitably moves away from the earthquake in Haiti, the medical needs of this country's vulnerable children will not disappear. That is why UNICEF and its partners are committed to the well-being of Haiti's children over the long-term.

8 February 2010 – The United Nations agricultural agency has launched a scheme for some 600 Haitians affected by the Caribbean country’s devastating earthquake to quickly clear irrigation canals in a bid to save this season’s bean and maize crops, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) announced today.
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FAO is providing a small payment for each worker and 600 hand tools for the task that will remain the property of farmer’s organizations in the rural areas near Léogâne, the coastal city at the epicentre of the quake which struck Haiti on 12 January. “For the farmers around Léogâne the earthquake could not have come at a worse time,” said FAO Emergency Coordinator in Haiti Alex Jones.
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“Damage to irrigation works threatens their current crops not yet harvested, while breakdowns in the supply of seed and fertilizer inputs may limit planting in the main spring agricultural season,” added Mr. Jones. An early FAO assessment in the agricultural area around the Haitian farming town that was almost completely destroyed found that earthquake debris and subsequent landslides had blocked canals threatening crops that were just weeks away from being ready to harvest.
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Further inspection found that there had been substantial damage to vital infrastructure such as canals and feeder roads in and around Léogâne, which has an estimated 80 per cent of its buildings destroyed. FAO has also provided financial support and technical assistance, as well as mobilizing a Canadian Army backhoe – a piece of heavy earth-moving equipment – for some of the large-scale removal.
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The clearance operation is slated to continue for about a week, and next Monday a small team of FAO experts will start a full and accurate assessment of the damages, needs and plans for agriculture and food security rehabilitation, which will feed into the larger Post Disaster Needs Assessment, coordinated by the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
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In addition, FAO is working to secure funding to help poor Haitian farmers make the spring planting season, which accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s national harvest.

2/8/2010
UN News Center
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The United Nations said today it is racing against time to bring in hazard-resistant tents for Haiti’s earthquake victims before the rainy season starts, provide sufficient agricultural input to save the next planting season, and raise greatly increased funding to support the effort.
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“We have more or less two months, and in fact time is getting very short because rains could come earlier,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti Kim Bolduc told a news briefing in New York by video link from Port-au-Prince, the capital, in the latest update on the 12 January quake, which killed up to 200,000 people, injured many others and left 2 million in need of aid,
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“In terms of key challenges, we are left obviously with the joint capacity of the Government and the international community to scale up the operation fast enough so that we reduce the level of vulnerability, we reach the people who are outside of Port-au-Prince,” she said, mentioning not only the towns of Jacmel and Léogâne but also other places in the hinterland where hundreds of thousands of people have sought refuge.
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The ‘surge’ feeding operation launched by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is “going very well,” already covering some 95 per cent of those targeted by the end of its first week and on track to reach 2 million people with a 15-day supply of rice by the end of its second week, Ms. Bolduc noted. In the early weeks after the quake food supply fell behind its declared goals. WFP has sufficient food to carry on for a few months.
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Water has been delivered to 800,000 people, a situation she called “reasonable, but obviously not sufficient,” while sanitation remains “critical,” with only 5 per cent of latrine needs covered, and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) plans to launch an urgent appeal. Some 250,000 of the 1 million people in need of shelter have received tents or plastic sheets, but the main concern now is to bring in sufficient hazard-resistant, hurricane-proof shelter, a task made all the more difficult because the port was severely damaged by the quake and air transportation would be enormously costly.
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Moreover the road lifeline from the neighbouring Dominican Republic is becoming flooded because of rains and rising level of a nearby lake and the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is in talks with the United States military on finding an alternative route to allow for the influx of trucks bringing the “very necessary” equipment.
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“It is now getting urgent to get agricultural input into the country and start preparing for the planting season in May, otherwise if that season is missed it would mean that humanitarian distribution of food would remain needed and on a very large scale for a very long time,” Ms. Bolduc added. “It is therefore very important that agriculture be supported immediately to allow for an early recovery to be initiated without any delay.”
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With assessments coming in from outlying areas affected by the quake, the UN will launch a revised flash appeal on 17 February beyond the initial $562 million sought on 15 January. “Figures of requirements are going up and this appeal is expected to present now an updated requirement with much higher figures,” Ms. Bolduc said.
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She noted that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had so far only received about 30 per cent of the $27 million it had sought to provide the necessary input to save the upcoming planting season.
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She returned again and again to the need for adequate shelter, with the Government appealing for 200,000 tents. “I don’t think we have enough at all to be able to help them during this transition,” she said, stressing urgent need to bring in “as soon as we can” hazard-resistant shelter where people can be evacuated to “because many of them are living right now or camping under very dangerous slopes in the city that in the past have been affected by mudslides.”
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Meanwhile UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman wrapped up a visit to younger quake survivors, many of whom have been seriously injured, traumatized or lost limbs, both in Haiti itself and in hospitals and care centres in the Dominican Republic.
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“I met many children who were recovering from severe injuries, including a five-year-old girl whose leg had been amputated,” she said after one visit in Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital. “She has been seriously traumatized and barely speaks. It is difficult for her to understand the tragedy that happened and the loss of her leg…
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“With an estimated 38 per cent of the population of Haiti under the age of 15, this is a children’s emergency,” she added, noting she had heard countless stories of heartbreak but also of heroic compassion and bravery that saved lives. “I met a boy who survived for three days under the rubble. The boy’s family has not been located but he is being comforted by other survivors, many of whom lost everything in the earthquake.

2/8/2010
By Christopher Howard
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The following letter comes from Brooke Wooldridge of the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC). A cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean, dLOC provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical, and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections.
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There has been significant confusion as to the state of the four main patrimonial libraries in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake on January 12, 2010. Based on information that I have received from the Digital Library of the Caribbean partner libraries in Haiti, all four of the following library buildings are standing:
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1) Archives nationales d’Haïti
2) Bibliothèque haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit / San Martial [though the collection will need to be evacuated, as the building cannot be salvaged]
3) Bibliothèque haïtienne des Frères de l’Instruction Chrétienne / Saint Louis de Gonzague
4) Bibliothèque nationale d’Haïti
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Importantly, the library at Saint Louis de Gonzague (FIC) was NOT destroyed. The reporter that stated the library had fallen was incorrect. According to the director of the National Library, Mme. Francoise Thybulle, the structures must be inspected before the local staff can assess the situation and prepare detailed plans that will certainly ask for international assistance. While the buildings are standing, this does not diminish what will be the very real need for assistance once the local leadership is able to assess the situation. All of the library directors have asked that interested parties work together to help preserve the collections [and] bring these libraries/archives back into service.
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Many institutions and individuals have expressed an interest in supporting the Haitian libraries/archives as they begin to rebuild. The outpouring of support and interest for the preservation of Haitian patrimony is unprecedented. Many of you are already in contact with colleagues regarding ways to help. I am trying to serve as a clearinghouse for the Haitian libraries of the different people, institutions or groups that would like to offer support to the libraries. Once I have feedback from the partner libraries in Haiti, I will share a working document of the projects I am aware of and an online survey for interested individuals to complete via www.dloc.com. Feel free to contact me personally at dloc@fiu.edu or preferably via the dLOC Facebook Group if you are already planning a project locally.
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The Digital Library of the Caribbean has been working with partners in Haiti since it began in 2004. The National Archives in Haiti was a founding member of dLOC, and in the last few years we have developed strong relationships with both the National Library and the Fathers of the Holy Spirit (San Martial) Library. As more information becomes available from the local leadership, I will share it as widely as possible. I have been hesitant to send a large response until now because of the many conflicting reports. This information is confirmed, and comes from the directors of each library/archive.
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As the many researchers that have worked in these four libraries know, their directors are completely dedicated to the preservation of their national patrimonial collections. All four have been fighting to preserve these collections for decades, and I am confident with support from the international community these collections will be preserved and accessible for many years to come.

2/8/2010
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Landina Seignon's arm had been removed an inch below her shoulder. Like most performed in the week after the earthquake, hers was a "guillotine amputation" -- a straight cut through flesh and bone that left little cushion for an artificial arm.
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The best chance for the 3-month-old to ever use a prosthesis was to get her to a plastic surgeon who could create a new, softer ending for her stump. The French Doctors Without Borders group, which was tending to Landina in its compound of tents, didn't have one; a British aid group, Merlin, did.
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Landina's transfer, in Merlin's rented van over rubbly streets, was unremarkable in itself. But it reflected a change in the medical response to natural disasters. There has been an unprecedented degree of cooperation among aid groups in Haiti, especially in comparison with the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, the only rival to this catastrophe in terms of outpouring of medical help. Three things are responsible -- the nature of the injuries, improvements in communication and an awareness that victims will suffer if relief groups don't cooperate.
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"I see more cooperation than after the tsunami, and I see more cooperation now than I did two or three days after the earthquake," said Dana van Alphen, a public health physician from the World Health Organization, who is directing the "health cluster" of relief organizations here. In the tsunami, injured survivors tended to have problems that were not life-threatening, mostly deep cuts. In Haiti, fractures and crush injuries predominate, and the cuts often involve loss of surface skin and sometimes include burns.
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"I have never seen an event with so many injured survivors," said Ronald Waldman, a physician at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health who helped manage the U.S. government's tsunami response and has the same role here. "This is a long-term orthopedic development project."
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The World Health Organization estimates that the Jan. 12 earthquake has created at least 2,000 amputees. Many will need more surgery in coming months. They will also need physical therapy, occupational therapy and, in some cases, psychological counseling to cope with their disabilities. Already, the simplest post-op needs -- a bed to recuperate in and a nurse to pay some attention -- are in critically short supply. The meetings of the health cluster, held at 4 p.m. every day in a tent at the U.N. compound, includes announcements about where beds are available. Arrangements for transfer of patients are often made via text message.
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The cooperation exemplified by Landina's case involved the independent-minded Doctors Without Borders. The baby girl was at the group's St. Louis Field Hospital, which consisted of nine huge inflatable tents on some athletic fields, manned by dozens of physicians. She came to the attention of Merlin, whose Haiti presence comprises five doctors and four tents (one an operating room), set up on a quake-spared tennis club.
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She suffered burns to her scalp, a thigh and reportedly her right arm when the earthquake damaged Trinity Hospital. Why she was in the hospital is unknown. Her medical records, along with crucial details such as her mother's name and address, are buried in the rubble. Her mother is thought to be alive but can't be found. The baby's right arm was amputated (supposedly because of the burns) an inch below the shoulder. The stumps of guillotine amputations fill in with poorly cushioning scar tissue and take a long time to heal. They can be "revised" by cutting the bone even shorter and using the sleeve of tissue below it to form the stump. Or a plastic surgeon can do a trickier procedure, keeping the bone at its current length and rotating a flap of skin from slightly higher up the limb to form the stump's end.
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That's what Landina needed. Her stump was so short that making it shorter would make fitting an artificial limb impossible. Doctors Without Borders agreed to let Merlin revise the baby's arm stump and examine her scalp burn for possible skin grafting, with Merlin's plastic surgeon Waseem Saeed operating.
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"This is the first time we do something like this," said Claudine Maari, the 39-year-old doctor running St. Louis hospital. "The exchange of material and competencies -- it's kind of cool." Doctors Without Borders lent some infant-size tubes and tools, and it sent Francois Barbotin-Larrieu, a 53-year-old pediatric anesthesiologist -- a sub-specialty Merlin's team didn't include. David Nott, a 50-year-old vascular surgeon from London working with Doctors Without Borders, accompanied him to assist Saeed.
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The multi-organizational, multi-accented team (which also included an anesthesiologist from the Irish charity Goal) took care of Landina. Her stump was revised. Her scalp was not yet ready for a skin graft. Her thigh looked okay. Three hours later, she was on her way back to Doctors Without Borders.

Oxfam
2/8/2010
Date: 08 Feb 2010
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Camp residents have little official information about plans to re-site Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Less than a third of people living in one of the largest camps in Port au Prince say that they are willing to move to camps sited outside the city according to a snap-shot survey carried out by international agency Oxfam. If the new improved camps are established close to where they used to live then the proportion willing to move leaps to nearly three quarters.
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The survey also revealed that there is little official public information available about plans to move people to new camps. Whilst 63 per cent had heard of the Government plans to resettle people, none had heard it directly from the Government and none had been consulted. Some 13 per cent of people had heard of the plans from friends, 10 percent from the local radio and just one per cent had heard it from non-governmental organisations.
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People surveyed said that any new camp would have to provide the very basics of housing, food, water and medical services as well as employment and schools.
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"Living conditions of people in the camps need to be rapidly improved. Many of the current sites will not suitable due to the coming raining seasons which, without adequate drainage and sanitation, threatens to wash away shelters and cause health hazards", said Marcel Stoessel, Oxfam's Head of Emergency in Haiti.
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Stoessel: "If new camps are set-up then people should be not be forced to go. The camps should be safe to reduce criminality and protect vulnerable groups such as women and children. They should also be seen as temporary solutions not end up as long term slums outside the city limits." According to Oxfam there is still no clarity on plans to re-site new camps and there needs to be meaningful consultation with camp residents so that they can make informed decisions.
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On 3 February 2010, Oxfam conducted a brief face to face questionnaire survey of those who had lost their homes in the earthquake in order to better understand their opinion about the Government's intention to establish new settlements.
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Oxfam surveyed 110 persons (56 female, 54 male leads of families) at the Petionville Golf Club in Delmas, Port au Prince. Oxfam which has worked in Haiti for many years, is currently helping 80,000 people with water, sanitation, hygiene promotion, emergency shelter, cash for work schemes and distribution of essential items. It plans to help a total of 500,000 people.

By MILT FREUDENHEIM
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In the desperate days soon after the earthquake in Haiti last month, foreign medical volunteers relied on improvised, low-tech devices for consultations and coordination. But American doctors are switching to more sophisticated technology to help improve public health in Haiti, one of the world’s poorest nations.
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“We are in this for the long haul,” said Scott C. Simmons, whose title at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is director of telehealth.
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Telehealth, better known as telemedicine, is an offshoot of the space program; it was developed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the 1960s to serve the astronauts. In the live, real-time version, it involves a video hookup between a patient on the scene and a doctor or other health professional in a hospital or office. Sometimes a doctor or nurse on the scene will consult via telemedicine with a specialist elsewhere.
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At the University of Miami’s 240-bed tent hospital near the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where volunteer surgeons from the United States have performed 1,000 operations since the Jan. 12 earthquake, doctors should soon be able to consult via satellite with specialists in Miami and other medical centers, said Mr. Simmons, an engineer who helped develop portable telemedicine for NASA’s space shuttles.
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The satellite connection should provide sufficient bandwidth for telemedicine consultations; meanwhile, the Haiti field hospital is making do with high-speed Internet connections donated by a Miami philanthropist and connections through Access Haiti, a wireless regional network linked through the neighboring Dominican Republic.
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It is also getting help from a network of volunteer ham radio operators like Jack Satterfield, a fisherman from St. Petersburg, Fla., who helped get an imperiled day-old infant from Haiti to the Navy hospital ship Comfort offshore. “Their doctor talked to our doctor” via the military’s radio system for amateurs, Mr. Satterfield said.
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The Comfort, part of the United States military’s Southern Command, has 82 physicians and 136 nurses. Capt. Miguel Cubano, surgeon general of the command, said he was in “discussions to set up a long-term presence in Haiti.” Among other things, Captain Cubano said, it could provide telemedicine consultations with the Center for the Intrepid, a military rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio.
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The ship is no stranger to Haiti. The Comfort provided assistance after the hurricane last year. “Haiti was a priority for us before the earthquake,” said Captain Cubano, who is also a surgeon.
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Southcom, short for Southern Command, has a partnership in advanced technology with the University of Miami. Dr. Anne E. Burdick, associate dean of telehealth and clinical outreach at the Miller school, said the university’s program could be “a hub for connecting Haitian patients with health care providers in several U.S. telemedicine programs around the country.” In a test with the Southern Command, Dr. Burdick said, the school used live teleconferencing to link kidney transplant patients in Guyana with a surgical team at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
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John Linkous, chief executive of the American Telemedicine Association, a trade and advocacy group in Washington, said it was often hard to persuade busy physicians to stay for long in developing countries. After a visit, however, they are often ready to help out with telemedicine consultations.
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The video sessions are often prepared in advance with secure Internet messaging, including pictures, X-rays and pathology reports. More often, the exchange is entirely by Internet, with a response sent back within hours. Dr. S. Ward Casscells, a Houston cardiologist who was assistant secretary of defense for health affairs under President George W. Bush, noted that telemedicine had become simpler and less expensive in the era of the Internet and advanced cellphones. Dr. Casscells urged the military to leave telemedicine equipment behind when the disaster eases in Haiti and train local medical people to use it.

Associated Press
By FRANK BAJAK and PAISLEY DODDS
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The United Nations has warned that it will cut off shipments of free medicine beginning immediately to any Haitian hospitals that it finds are charging patients. When the catastrophic earthquake struck Jan. 12, authorities immediately decided to make all medical care free. More than 200 international medical relief groups have sent in teams to help, and millions of dollars of donated medicine has been flown in.
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U.N. officials told The Associated Press that about a dozen hospitals — both public and private — have begun charging patients for medicine. The officials said they could not immediately provide the names of the hospitals but said they were in several parts of the country, including Port-au-Prince.
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"The money is huge," said Christophe Rerat of the Pan American Health Organization, the U.N. health agency in the region. He said about $1 million worth of drugs have been sent from U.N. warehouses alone to Haitian hospitals in the past three weeks.
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Hospitals don't need to charge patients to pay their staff, because Haitian Health Ministry employees are getting paid with donated money, Rerat added. Haiti now has about 90 hospitals, including public and private hospitals and field hospitals set up in the quake's aftermath. A member of the Haitian government commission created to deal with the medical crisis, Dr. Jean Hugues Henry, said he had no knowledge of any hospitals charging for services or medicine.
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U.N. officials said beginning immediately, any hospital found levying fees for medicine will be cut off. But the U.N. would consider continuing to supply non-governmental groups working at private hospitals with drugs if those groups can make a convincing case that none of their patients are being charged.
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U.N. goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie, meanwhile, was heading to Haiti to meet with earthquake victims on Tuesday after speaking with hospitalized quake survivors in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
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U.N. workers and quake survivors were also keeping one eye on the sky. There's been no significant rain since the disaster, but everyone knows that won't last. The rainy season in Haiti is deadly even in a good year. Now, in a devastated capital city, the early spring rains threaten to cause landslides and bring about health problems in the makeshift camps where more than 500,000 people are living.
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Rain is already falling in some parts of the country, but Haiti's shattered capital, where most of the quake damage occurred, has been spared so far — a rarity for this time of year, when afternoon showers are common. Steady rains could come as soon as the end of the month, and hurricane season begins in June.
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Workers are racing to move victims outside of flood plains and into tents. They are also trying to clear tons of debris from ravines, canals and riverbeds, so rain does not turn the survivors' encampments into breeding grounds for disease.
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"There will be health concerns," said engineer Mario Nicoleau of the U.S. Agency for International Development's office in Haiti. "The risks will be enormous." Haiti's government said it needs more money or tents if people are to be moved.
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"We are going to have a big problem when the rainy season starts," said Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime. "We don't have $60 million to buy 100,000 tents." Jeanne Marceus, 40, is camped out with hundreds of others under plastic tarps just feet from the Bois de Chene River. On one side, dozens of houses lie flattened from the quake. On the other, a dozen dwellings that slid off the mountain during 2008 rains are piled in a mound.
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"Every day we look at the sky for clouds," she said. "My house is gone, and now I'm wondering whether I will be swallowed by the river." Hurricanes, tropical storms and floods are a constant threat in Haiti.
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In 2004, some 3,000 people died in the northern city of Gonaives after Tropical Storm Jeanne. Following the storm, more than $70 million in aid was collected, but little of that was used for flood control. Gonaives flooded again in 2008, killing nearly 800 more.
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Before the earthquake, aid groups were already trying to mitigate risks to flood-prone areas: Building walls to stabilize hills, installing drainage systems and working with farmers to plant crops with root systems that help hold water. Much of that work was suspended after the quake. The No. 2 official at USAID, Anthony Chan, said the organization's Cash for Work program has employed 6,000 Haitians, many of whom are cleaning irrigation canals in anticipation of the rain. Demolition crews and workers are piling rubble into designated places, but there's still no long-term plan for debris disposal.
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Another problem is safely removing human waste and garbage. Justine Lesage, an Oxfam relief worker, said the group recently removed 7,000 cubic feet (200 cubic meters) of waste created by 45,000 people at one of the city's camps in just a week.
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"We're also working very hard to make plans for relocating people, but the Haitian government's plan for this is not clear yet," she said. Many in the camps are already complaining of illnesses. With so many people living outside and using water from buckets, doctors say malaria is on the rise. The coming rains and limited sanitation could also lead to other diseases such as dengue fever, measles and cholera.
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Haiti's government has talked of trying to relocate earthquake victims to organized camps outside the capital, but so far none has been built. "It took me years to save enough money to build my house here," Marceus said, looking at the ruins of her former home. "Despite all the dangers, I have no plans to leave."
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Associated Press writers James Anderson in Port-au-Prince and Edith Lederer in New York contributed to this report.

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- As part of Digicel’s relief efforts in Haiti, the country’s largest mobile operator has donated an assortment of generators, phones and credit to 15 radio stations in Port-au-Prince to help them get back in contact with their listeners after the earthquake on January 12th.
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With no electricity, damaged equipment and buildings that were destroyed during the earthquake, radio stations were faced with a host of logistical challenges that made it difficult for them to broadcast important information to the people of Haiti. Now, with the donation of this vital equipment, these radio stations have been able to resume broadcasting.
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Digicel Haiti PR executive, Marckens Amony presents a generator to radio Tele Galaxie Digicel has also launched a host of value promotions to help customers who lost their phones during the earthquake get back online and communicate with family and friends. The Motorola WX160 and the Samsung 1080 - which are new additions to Digicel’s wide range of handsets - are available for just US$12 and the BlackBerry 8520 has been reduced to US$300, from US$375. In addition, customers who top up by just US$1.25 via the Digicel Pap Padap top up service get an extra 10% credit free.
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The Director General of Radio Télé Galaxie, Aruns Bellevue, who received a 40kw generator from Digicel, commented: “Following the earthquake, we faced a lot of logistical challenges that prevented us from broadcasting our usual programs and news bulletins. With radio being the most popular form of mass communication in Haiti, it was very important that we got back up and running as soon as possible. Thanks to Digicel, we are now fully operational once again.”
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Digicel Marketing Director, Tatiana Policard, commented: “Since the earthquake took place on January 12th, humanitarian relief has been pouring into Haiti. With the distribution of food, water and medical supplies taking place right throughout Port-au-Prince on a daily basis, it is vital that radio stations are able to broadcast this information to the people of Haiti.
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“It is also important that our customers are able to stay in touch with friends and family, so - for those whose phones were lost or damaged during the earthquake - we have launched a host of value promotions to help them stay in touch.”
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Since the earthquake, Digicel has sent over 90,000lbs of provisions and 21,000lbs of medical supplies and antibiotics to help those whose lives have been devastated by the earthquake. In addition, Digicel has sent three vessels carrying more than 400,000lbs of equipment and supplies to Haiti.
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Digicel has also collaborated with international artists to record and produce a song – Rise Again – that has launched worldwide. The song was written by Shaggy and features international artists such as Sean Paul, Sean Kingston and a host of Caribbean artists. The artistes and record labels are donating their proceeds to the Digicel Haiti Relief Fund.
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As the single largest investor in Haiti with a total investment of over U$300 million since its launch in 2006, Digicel has over two million customers in Haiti. The Digicel Haiti Relief Fund has donated US$5 million to NGOs in Haiti to support the relief efforts and over US$600,000 has been raised by Digicel customers across the Caribbean and Central America through a text and voice donation line. Digicel also gave each of its two million customers US$5 in free credit – totaling US$10 million.

Caribbean Net News
2/9/2010
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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Roosevelt Skerritt, has said that the spirit and strength of the Haitian people remain high, despite the earthquake which devastated sections of the island on January 12.
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"They are resilient. They are out rebuilding the homes, helping to clean neighbourhoods, selling on the streets, a lot of commerce is taking place. So, the people are back to work, so to speak. I believe once we can get more help into Haiti to provide tents and housing, we will certainly see a resurgence in the economy, but the people are in high spirits. Generally speaking, the people are taking charge of their future," he said.
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Prime Minister, Bruce Golding (right), consults with Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerritt, during a media briefing on February 6. Skerritt, who is also Prime Minister of Dominica, was speaking at a press conference, held at the Norman Manley International Airport on February 6, shortly after a CARICOM mission returned from Haiti, where members of the delegation met with President Rene Preval, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.
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The press conference was held to outline CARICOM's assistance to Haiti so far, plans for the future and to update Prime Minister Bruce Golding, who has just returned from an official visit to the People's Republic of China. Giving an overview of the Haitian Government, Skerritt informed that they have put in place several Co-ordinators to oversee various aspects of the relief and rebuilding efforts of the island.
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"The Government is functioning. Clearly, if a situation where all your administrative buildings have been demolished and a large number of your officers would have been affected, you have some challenges and this is where CARICOM will come to play a part in providing them with technical expertise," he said. He noted that whilst there are limitations to its operations, "Haiti is secure from what we saw." The Chairman said that the Government has been responding to the needs of the people and has been putting back a number of institutions to get them functioning fully.
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"We are very, very impressed with what is happening so far and I believe that with better co-ordination coming from CARICOM and the assistance that we have offered, Haiti will be in a better position to take greater responsibility," he added. Also on the mission to Haiti were: Special Envoy on Haiti Disaster Relief, P J Patterson; Secretary General of CARICOM, Edwin Carrington; Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Colin Grandison, and Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Jeremy Collymore.

Reuters
By Hugh Bronstein
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QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) -- South American leaders deeply divided by political differences may take a break from their usual recriminations on Tuesday when they meet to discuss the continent's response to the crisis in quake-shattered Haiti. Previous meetings of the UNASUR group of countries have been marked by insults between its left- and right-leaning members.
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This time investors will watch to see if leaders can unite behind the cause of Haiti, soften their political rhetoric and set the stage for better trade as South America tries to pull out of the economic doldrums of 2009. Conservative Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will attend in his first visit to Ecuador since a 2008 diplomatic break after he ordered the bombing of a rebel camp on Ecuador's side of the border.
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Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. AFP PHOTO
The raid prompted the leftist governments of Ecuador and Venezuela to temporarily increase troops on their frontiers with Colombia, which has received billions of dollars in US aid aimed at fighting cocaine-funded Marxist guerrillas. President Hugo Chavez will also be at the meeting. He has clamped down on Venezuela's $7 billion (4.48 billion pounds) per year trade with Colombia over Uribe's close military ties with Washington.
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The breakdown in bilateral commerce has slowed Colombia's recovery and added to Venezuela's already high inflation. Chavez has called Uribe a "lackey of the Yankee empire", Ecuadorean leader Rafael Correa has called him a liar while Uribe has accused both of not doing enough to help combat Colombian rebels seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
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No separate talks have been scheduled among Chavez, Uribe or Correa on Tuesday. The focus instead will be on Haitian President Rene Preval, who will appeal for help in rebuilding his desperately impoverished country after last month's earthquake killed more than 200,000 people.
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The crisis is so great that it may help eclipse the differences that divide UNASUR, said Michael Shifter of Washington think tank Inter-American Dialogue.
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"Haiti could be a unifying issue for the continent," he said. "Distrust won't disappear but this meeting might be a welcome respite."
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Chavez is not likely to drop his complaints about a deal inked in October allowing US anti-drug operations to be run from Colombian air bases. He says the pact could set the stage for an invasion of his oil-rich country, an idea dismissed by Washington and Bogota.
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Colombia and Ecuador have moved to repair relations in recent months but large political differences remain. "Uribe's trip to Quito ratifies that cooperation is improving between Colombia and Ecuador," said Mauricio Romero, a political analyst at Bogota's Javeriana University. "By how much remains to be seen."

U.N News Center
2/9/2010
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A group of United Nations experts today stressed that the needs of Haitians with disabilities must be included in the relief, recovery and reconstruction processes following the earthquake that battered the small Caribbean nation last month. Persons with disabilities must not become “the forgotten ones during the emergency response and the reconstruction of the country,” the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stated in a news release.
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“While relief workers are struggling to provide aid to the people of Haiti and while the situation remains difficult for everyone, persons with disabilities are particularly affected by the crisis,” said the Committee’s current chairperson, Mohammed Al-Tarawneh. “The disabled risk being left out unless a disabilities perspective is built in the recovery process from the start.”
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The 12 January quake killed up to 200,000 people, injured many others and left one third of the country’s nine million people in need of aid.
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“The trauma caused by this disaster cannot be underestimated,” said Mr. Al-Tarawneh, adding that many disabled people in Haiti have been made even more vulnerable, especially if their caregivers have been killed or injured. The 12-member Committee urged Haiti to ensure that persons with disabilities fully participate in the decision-making process regarding social and economic reconstruction and that their long-term development needs be taken into account.
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The experts serving on the Committee, which will hold its third session in two weeks in Geneva, are tasked with monitoring the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which so far has been endorsed by 144 countries. The Convention, which entered into force in May 2008, is the culmination of years of global efforts to ensure that the rights of the world’s estimated 650 million persons with disabilities are guaranteed and protected.
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It asserts the rights to education, health, work, adequate living conditions, freedom of movement, freedom from exploitation and equal recognition before the law for persons with disabilities.

International Organization for Migration
2/9/2010
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IOM and its partners are now racing to deliver shelter materials to the cities of Petit-Goâve and Léogâne, now home to many former Port-au-Prince residents, before the start of the rainy season.
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IOM's partners, including the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Handicap International and Oxfam International have started distributing more than 2,000 UNHCR tents, 5,800 blankets donated by the Japanese and US governments, hundreds of boxes of hygiene kits and enough rolls of plastic sheeting donated by USAID to cover the needs of some 8,200 families (41,000 individuals).
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On 7 February, US military helicopters delivered plastic sheeting, blankets and jerry cans to more than 2,000 isolated families living in the mountains above the neighbourhood of Petionville. IOM emergency staff and members of the Fraternite Notre Dame distributed the aid.
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IOM and its partner agencies working in the area of camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) have now identified 315 spontaneous settlement sites in and around the capital Port-au-Prince, hosting more than 91,000 families (468,000 individuals).
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CCCM agencies are working on registration of the displaced, improving shelter and creating drainage and latrines in the settlements, focusing on a group of 15 sites sheltering more than 5,000 displaced people. Efforts are also being made to secure additional land close to heavily congested sites such as Place Boyer, Place St Pierre and Champs de Mars, where IOM and its partners are planning to distribute aid in the coming days.
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Assistance, including the distribution of shelter material, is also being provided to seven organized settlements, including Parc St Claire, Parc Colofer and Parc de la Fe in the Delmas neighbourhood. Daily camp management is provided by IOM's CCCM partner agencies, including Islamic Relief, the Salvation Army, the IFRC, Haitian Red Cross and Turkish Red Crescent.
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To date, aid agencies have worked with the Haitian government to distribute over 23,000 tarpaulins and 22,000 family sized tents, with a further 124,000 tarpaulins and 14,000 tents ready for distribution. The challenge is to provide earthquake survivors with sufficient materials to construct their own transitional shelters, which will need to be sturdy enough to withstand the onset of the hurricane season in June.
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IOM's earthquake emergency response in Haiti is currently supported by USD 28.5 million in funding from the USA, UK, Sweden, Korea, Japan, France, Finland and Canada. It has also received funding from the UN Central Emergency Fund (CERF), the Clinton Foundation and private donors, including the Argos Cement Company of Colombia.
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For further information, please contact IOM Haiti. Jean-Philippe Chauzy, Tel. +509 3643 79 14, +41 79 285 4366, Email: pchauzy@iom.int or Mark Turner, Tel: +509 38140189, Email: mturner@iom.int or markyturner@yahoo.com Copyright © IOM. All rights reserved.

2/9/2010
Washington Post
By Peter Slevin
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI -- Nearly one month after a powerful earthquake brought this country to a halt, Haiti is tumbling headlong through a crisis that has not begun to abate, with evidence everywhere that current relief efforts are falling short.
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Despite the good intentions of the United States and the world community, weary relief workers say the coming weeks will severely test the resolve of those foreign contributors and the resourcefulness of a Haitian government that remains all but invisible.
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Pressure will grow on a fledgling food distribution network backed by U.S. soldiers that so far has largely managed to deliver only rice. From surgery to shelter to sanitation to schooling, the needs are vast and the international commitment unproven.
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"The need is so overwhelming. You can't have an initial push, and then it stops. That just won't be enough," Lane Hartill, an Africa-based Catholic Relief Services staff member, said as he walked toward a sweltering encampment of 30,000 people who have spent every hour outdoors since the Jan. 12 earthquake. In the distance, the dun-colored shapes of the makeshift shelters might have been an impressionist painter's rendering of despair.
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The sadness is sometimes suffocating, yet the agony of last month's earthquake is being overtaken by the urgency of now. Every day, tens of thousands of Haitians face a grueling quest to find food, any food. A nutritious diet is out of the question.
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Shelter is a slender part of the equation because, for those who lost their homes, there is so little shelter to seek. Hundreds of people join lines before the early dawn in hopes of scoring a sack of white rice, but there is nowhere to line up for a tent, a shelter kit or a home any sturdier than a blanket hanging from a clothesline.
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Hardly anyone is being paid. For the vast majority, a daily job is out of the question. Every school in the capital is closed, an estimated 75 percent of them destroyed. Many businesses and government offices simply no longer exist. There is no postal service -- and if there were, much of the Port-au-Prince population would not be found at home.
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The medical calamity has moved beyond the horrific early days of assembly line amputations. Overwhelmed doctors and nurses are now facing converging streams of need, from untended wounds and the illnesses born of poor sanitation to the ailments of a population that had inferior health care long before Jan. 12.
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There are not enough crutches for amputees or people to teach them how to adjust to the physics of their new bodily dimensions. The demands for treatment of all kinds, including postoperative care and rehabilitation, are "massive," said Thomas Kirsch, a Johns Hopkins University physician and disaster expert working here with the International Medical Corps.
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"We're seeing as many as 500 people a day in our dinky little health-care center," Kirsch said, after spending a 10-hour shift doing triage in the courtyard of the state university hospital. "We send paralyzed patients out with their families and say, 'Good luck.' "
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The psychological pressure is also building. On the morning of the 24th day after the quake, Claude Douge's family felt it was losing its collective mind. The power was out, food was scarce, a mother was crying and two children were sick. Douge, a journalist with money to spend, had been searching fruitlessly for antibiotics for two days.
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"I got everybody together and said, 'Look, life's not going to be like it was before. That's over. You have to learn to fight,' " explained Douge, whose own effort to face Haiti's new reality included deleting the names of 15 people from his mobile phone. They're all dead, killed in the earthquake.
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The U.N. World Food Program expects shipping arrivals in Port-au-Prince to provide 16,500 metric tons of rice and 6,100 metric tons of cooking oil and enriched corn-soya flour by early next week. U.S. government staff have given 6,000 Haitians two-week contracts clearing streets in neighborhoods chosen by Haitian officials, and the U.N. Development Program has employed about 35,000 more.
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"Sector by sector, we're trying to make sure we just continue to solve problems and do better every day," Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters last week. Shah said Haiti will be facing a medical emergency for "many weeks to come."
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At times, U.S. officials have offered sunnier assessments considerably at odds with reality. A State Department spokesman, Gordon Duguid, said in Port-au-Prince on Day 14, "It's a week now that there's no problem for bread." The top USAID official in Haiti told reporters on Day 19 that "the Haitians are leading the process in all the areas that are necessary."
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Lorraine Mangones has a less charitable view from her vantage point as executive director of FOKAL, a cultural foundation sponsored by the Open Society Institute. The business community was "already on its knees" before the earthquake, she said, while the state was "already weak and kept getting weaker and weaker." The future, she said, will be "hell."
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"It's not making big decisions," Mangones said of the government run by President René Préval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. "It's not making small decisions. It's making occasional surreal decisions, like, 'Let's open the schools in Port-au-Prince right away.' "
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Street-level governance has a randomness all its own. In the past two weeks, crews in yellow public works department T-shirts have begun to appear in the capital, pawing through rubble with large digging machines. One crew spent two days removing debris from Caelle Jean-Baptiste's collapsed pharmacy as she watched from across the street.
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Asked why the government crew was tackling this particular mess, Jean-Baptiste explained that her brother knows someone at the public works department who dispatched the team and the equipment. She paid the crew for its time.
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U.S. Army Col. Rick Kaiser, who oversees the military's infrastructure strategy, said the earthquake created enough rubble to fill New Orleans's Superdome five times. It will be years before the rubble is gone and sufficient housing is built. In the meantime, beyond food, temporary shelter is looming as the next large-scale relief issue.
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"That is the issue we are focusing on right now and will need to focus on for the next three to five months," said Tim Callaghan, leader of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team. "This is critical, and we're working as hard as we can on it."
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Over at the university hospital, where foreign doctors are living their own daily MASH experience, emergency room physician Gene Gincherman from Potomac has been coping with what he describes as "Civil War-era diagnostics." The electrical generator is not strong enough to power the X-ray machine consistently. There are not enough blood-pressure sleeves. There is no oxygen and often not enough medicine.
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Gincherman fears that Haiti's national emergency could get worse as the crisis endures and the world's attention span ebbs. He said, "We're so afraid that once it gets unsexy, it will be forgotten."

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
2/9/2010
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PORT-AU-PRINCE — The WHO on Tuesday halted free drug deliveries to private hospitals and NGOs in quake-devastated Haiti following reports patients were being charged for treatment, a spokeswoman said. "Only public hospitals are going to continue to receive the drugs for free," WHO spokeswoman Marie-Agnes Heine told AFP. "All others will have to pay." Heine said the World Health Organization was concerned about reports that patients were now being charged for treatment.
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The move, which is initially to be in place for three months to allow for a review, also marks a return to the WHO's practice before the January 12 earthquake. In changing the rules, Heine said the WHO was moving to a "next phase, whereas the immediate response is over and we're going to a more sustained response that is going to be there for a much longer time."
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She stressed the rules would allow the WHO to keep a closer watch over its drug stocks, but Heine also said the organization did not want institutions that have begun charging taking advantage of the programme. "There were reports about hospitals charging patients for treatment," she said. "I think we have to avoid this kind of misuse of materials and supplies.

Reuters
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QUITO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - South American countries will create a $300 million fund to help quake-shattered Haiti, regional leaders said on Tuesday after Haitian President Rene Preval appealed to them at a regional meeting. The Unasur group of countries will ask the Inter-American Development Bank for a $200 million loan for the fund, and individual governments will raise another $100 million, according to a plan drawn up at a Unasur meeting in Quito.
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Preval, speaking at the conference, appealed for help in "refounding" his impoverished Caribbean nation after last month's earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people and devastated the capital Port-au-Prince. "This meeting is a gesture that shows the cooperation of South American countries with South America countries," Preval said, adding that Haiti's top priority was to rebuild roads and provide basic services.
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Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who hosted the meeting and is trying to increase Unasur's profile, called for a sustained response based on "South-South cooperation." "The massive and immediate aid provided by more industrialized countries is not always the most efficient," said Correa. "A lot of that is lost over the medium term, leaving the country weak and with serious distortions."
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Donor nations have poured tens of millions of dollars into Haiti but the distribution of aid has sometimes been slow, prompting accusations of corruption and mismanagement. Leftist President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, an Unasur member who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, has accused the United States of using the earthquake as a pretext for the military occupation of Haiti. Thousands of U.S. soldiers are helping relief efforts and providing security in Haiti.
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Peruvian President Alan Garcia offered $10 million for school reconstruction and water projects as part of the pact. Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe attended the Unasur meeting in Quito, marking his first visit to Ecuador since diplomatic relations broke in 2008 after he ordered the bombing of a rebel camp on Ecuador's side of the border.
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Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Xavier Briand

Reuters
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QUITO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - South American countries will create a $300 million fund to help quake-shattered Haiti, regional leaders said on Tuesday after Haitian President Rene Preval appealed to them at a regional meeting. The Unasur group of countries will ask the Inter-American Development Bank for a $200 million loan for the fund, and individual governments will raise another $100 million, according to a plan drawn up at a Unasur meeting in Quito.
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Preval, speaking at the conference, appealed for help in "refounding" his impoverished Caribbean nation after last month's earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people and devastated the capital Port-au-Prince. "This meeting is a gesture that shows the cooperation of South American countries with South America countries," Preval said, adding that Haiti's top priority was to rebuild roads and provide basic services.
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Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who hosted the meeting and is trying to increase Unasur's profile, called for a sustained response based on "South-South cooperation." "The massive and immediate aid provided by more industrialized countries is not always the most efficient," said Correa. "A lot of that is lost over the medium term, leaving the country weak and with serious distortions."
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Donor nations have poured tens of millions of dollars into Haiti but the distribution of aid has sometimes been slow, prompting accusations of corruption and mismanagement. Leftist President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, an Unasur member who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, has accused the United States of using the earthquake as a pretext for the military occupation of Haiti. Thousands of U.S. soldiers are helping relief efforts and providing security in Haiti.
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Peruvian President Alan Garcia offered $10 million for school reconstruction and water projects as part of the pact. Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe attended the Unasur meeting in Quito, marking his first visit to Ecuador since diplomatic relations broke in 2008 after he ordered the bombing of a rebel camp on Ecuador's side of the border.
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Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Xavier Briand

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is building washing facilities and latrines for thousands of displaced Haitians living in makeshift outdoor settlements in the capital city.
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Work on 20 latrines and 20 bathing stations has been completed at two settlements, including latrines designed for use by disabled people, and will soon be completed at two other sites. Altogether at the four locations, the IRC will build 66 latrines and 30 washing stations that will serve some 4,000 people. Each washing facility will include separate spaces for men and women, said Sam Gonzaga, the IRC Emergency Response Team's environmental health coordinator. Gonzaga says women's facilities are being constructed first and in places that are well-lit and relatively safe.
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This will be welcome news for people camped out in Place de Pigeon, one of the settlements where the IRC is working, located in the downtown city park, Champ de Mars. Since the earthquake struck on January 12, thousands of displaced families have been living in the park while washing and going to the bathroom in the open air, raising serious health and hygiene concerns. The IRC's construction of latrines is part of an effort to avert a sanitation crisis that could lead to outbreaks of cholera and other deadly diseases in overcrowded and unhygienic settlements packed with earthquake survivors.
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"We have identified 26 sites around Port-au-Prince that are in critical need of improved sanitation and where hundreds of latrines need to be built," Gonzaga said. "People are literally living amid their own waste and there is a growing danger of epidemics."
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In the four settlements where the IRC is currently working, community members play an active role in deciding their water, sanitation and other needs. Local sanitation committees select workers, for example who are then hired by the IRC to build the latrines and washing facilities for their own community.Ensuring access to clean water is also critical to prevent the spread of disease, especially in Port-au-Prince, where an estimated 700,000 people have been displaced by the earthquake

The Miami Herald
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's government has raised the death toll for the Jan. 12 earthquake to 230,000 from 212,000 and says more bodies remain uncounted. The government initially estimated 150,000 dead on Jan. 24, apparently from bodies being recovered in the rubble of collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince, the capital that was near the epicenter. Communications Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said Tuesday the government now counts 230,000 deaths. But she says the new figure is not definitive. She says it does not include bodies buried by private funeral homes in private cemeteries or the dead buried by their own families.
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The new figure gives the quake the same death toll as the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The Miami Herald
BY MARTHA BRANNIGAN
mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com
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The U.S. Agency for International Development has given two assignments for Haiti-related work to two beltway firms involved in international development: Washington, D.C.-based Chemonics International and Bethesda, Md.-based Development Alternatives Inc.
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The emergency work assignments, which are worth $50 million each, are likely the first of many the agency will hand out to private firms to help Haiti get on its feet after the devastating quake Jan. 12. The jobs cover restoring communications capacity for the Haitian government, providing basic infrastructure and supplies to help restore key functions of Haiti's government and a short-term jobs program to remove rubble, repair roads and rehabilitate infrastructure, a USAID official said.
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These noncompetitive ``task orders'' were given under an emergency provision that allows the agency to assign urgent work without the delay of an additional bidding process, a USAID official said.
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The companies were already pre-cleared to do USAID work and have ongoing contracts with the agency.
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``If we had to go through another bidding process, we'd all be here instead of helping the people of Haiti,'' said Steven O'Connor, a spokesman for Development Alternatives, or DAI. He said most of the funds for DAI's contract work are passed through to third parties to pay for projects and services.
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O'Connor said besides helping to get the Haitian government functioning, DAI is involved in a ``cash-for-work'' program that is paying Haitians daily wages to help clean up. ``Basically, the idea is to get cash into the local economy and get people focused on the future, to get people back into the rhythm of life,'' he said.
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An official at Chemonics declined to comment on its work, referring calls to USAID.

UN News Centre
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Sanitation has become a pressing need in Haiti and the lack of it could pose health problems for the nearly 1 million people living in temporary settlements ahead of the rainy season, United Nations officials warned today.
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“Some 18,000 latrines are needed in Port-au-Prince for 900,000 people. Less than 5 per cent of the need for latrines has been met,” Paul Garwood, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson in Geneva, told journalists. The need is calculated on the basis of one latrine per 50 people.
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There are more than 1.2 million people are living in spontaneous settlements, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced today, and nearly 480,000 have left Port-au-Prince for neighbouring areas, putting additional stress on the rural population in those towns to support the displaced persons.
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Despite the high numbers of people and the need for greater sanitation, Mr. Garwood noted that there has not been a notable increase in infectious diseases so far. He said that acute respiratory infections are the most commonly reported infectious disease, accounting for up to a quarter of consultations. Diarrhoeal diseases represent up to 12 per cent of cases. The next serious category is trauma injuries, such as broken bones sustained during the quake. While slowly decreasing, they still account for more than 10 per cent of cases.
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Clinics are in need of supplies. UN agencies and donor countries provide medicines to various health partners on a daily basis through a large-scale coordinated effort run out of Haiti’s pharmaceuticals hub in Port-au-Prince known by its acronym PROMESS (Program on Essential Medicine and Supplies). The warehouse was recently reorganized to make it more effective. Mr. Garwood said that more than 22 containers with some 200 types of medical supplies have now arrived. The containers also included 1,000 beds, more than 200 stretchers and other items such as wheelchairs, crutches, bed sheets, blankets and pillows.
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Outside of Port-au-Prince, more than 1.5 tons of essential drugs were delivered this month to Les Cayes, Jérémie, Port-de-Paix and Gonaïves. WHO is expected soon to send basic emergency medicines that can treat 705,000 people for the next month.
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UN officials are concerned about the rainy season that is due to start in April. Mr. Garwood warned that the rains could increase morbidity rates for childhood diseases, such as acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea.

By Jim Loney
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Four weeks after an earthquake shattered its capital, Haiti remains in a precarious situation with no clear idea of how to house 1 million people living in the streets, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said on Tuesday. Bellerive said it could take his impoverished Caribbean nation three or four years to return to its pre-quake state and up to 10 years to rebuild 250,000 houses destroyed by the magnitude 7 earthquake on January 12.
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Planning for shelters and new homes is not far along and the number of spontaneous tent encampments around the city -- where most Haitians are living under plastic tarps or cloth bedsheets -- has grown to nearly 500, Bellerive said.
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"We are still in a very difficult situation," Bellerive told Reuters. "We still don't have a clear vision of certain problems -- how we are going to relocate all those people." Bellerive, an economist who became prime minister only two months before the quake, said conditions are improving in some areas, with better food distribution and better health services.
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Foreign donors have poured millions of dollars worth of food, shelter and other aid into Haiti, where before the quake most people lived on less than $2 a day. Bellerive said shelter remained the biggest problem for the government to address. Residents whose homes were damaged, or who are afraid to sleep indoors, have set up camp on the edges of the capital's airport, the main city square downtown, a golf course, open fields, courtyards of businesses and sidewalks.
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During the next four to six months, he said, the government will have to move people to shelters or establish them in camps with better facilities. Haiti's rainy season could start in weeks, and the Caribbean hurricane season begins on June 1.
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"In some places they will stay where they are, (we will) just accommodate them. In other places, we just have to move them. And if we move them we have to give them all the services because they won't be in the condition to take care of themselves," Bellerive said. Sanitation in the camps, most of which have no toilets or running water, is a big concern with the rainy season coming, Bellerive said. The government hopes to have latrines in place before the rain starts and is sending health workers out to counsel residents about the hazards of sleeping, cooking and bathing in the same small spaces.
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Although health officials have seen rising cases of tetanus and other ailments, Bellerive said there had been no major outbreaks of disease. "We believe we are controlling any surge of any epidemics in Haiti," he said. "We don't have any epidemics in Haiti up until now."
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The government has said 250,000 homes were destroyed by the earthquake, most of them in the capital, and thousands more may be declared uninhabitable in the weeks to come. Asked how long it would take to rebuild those homes, Bellerive said: "A long time ... I've said 10 years. I say it will be at least three to four years to go back to the 11th of January."
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Editing by Will Dunham

The New Times
By Michael McElroy
2/9/2010
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Michael McElroy is a South Florida-based freelance photographer who spent seven days in Port-au-Prince after the January 12 earthquake. Click here for a slide show of images that he captured, and below is a dispatch he filed after his trip.
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The day after the earthquake in Haiti, I was on assignment for the New York Times, shooting the reactions of Haitian residents in Little Haiti. I knew I needed to get down there. I was able to book a flight to the Dominican Republic. Everything happened so fast. There wasn't any time to make plans, so I went into this blind. No ride, no place to stay.
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When I arrived at the D.R. airport, I saw an ABC cameraman I knew from covering the presidential elections in 2008. ABC had chartered a bus and agreed to give me a ride. The Hotel Villa Creole in Port-au-Prince had opened its doors to the media and aid workers, but when I finally made it, they were out of rooms. I slept by the pool in a chair. I had brought some water and food (Fruit Roll-Ups, jerky, sunflower seeds). But I hardly ate anything. I just wasn't very hungry and gave most of my food away.
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I never expected to see what I saw. The amount of destruction was unimaginable. The whole scene was a sensory overload. There were thousands of people in the streets, some with open head wounds and broken limbs. People were hungry, thirsty. It looked like a war zone. Whole neighborhoods were gone, with rubble everywhere; bodies began to pile up and were left in the streets. And the smell was overwhelming. It was everywhere; you couldn't escape it.
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It is obviously very difficult for a person to be where death is all around you, where children have lost their parents and families have lost their homes and possessions. It's conflicting sometimes, because you're trying to be an observer, to tell a story, trying not to get involved, but then you see somebody who is clearly suffering and needs help, so you help because you're human.
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As far as dealing with what I saw, I haven't. Or at least, I haven't had to. I'm sure down the road, it will be something I will have to figure out. In situations like these, I try to detach myself from what's going on around me and just try to be as unobtrusive as one can be in an environment such as this. In the moment, if I thought about what had just happened to Haiti and its people, it would have become overwhelming.
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The only way I can justify my being there is that people will see my work and hopefully learn something from it, possibly causing a person to react and to help those who are suffering. I arrived two days after the earthquake, and things were chaotic. But as the days went by, there was a certain vibrancy in the streets that life would go on.
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At this point, Haiti's future holds promise to be brighter than it has ever been before. A million people are expected to leave the city of Port-au-Prince. There are an estimated 200,000 dead and rising. Countless people have had arms or legs amputated. Thousands of children lost their parents. In spite of all that, the Haitian people are not lying around waiting. They are rebuilding their homes. They are sharing the little they have with those around them.
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Since its independence, Haiti has carried a heavy burden of poverty, corruption, and one natural disaster after another. Fortunately, the spirit of the Haitian people hasn't been broken, despite the tremendous loss the Haitian people have just suffered. I believe a new day will dawn for Haiti.

Scientific Blogging
2/9/2010
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University of Miami geologists have analyzed images based on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observations taken before and after Haiti's devastating January 12 earthquake. The images reveal surprising new details that may help the island better mitigate future earthquakes. According to the new data, the earthquake rupture did not reach the surface--unusual for an earthquake this size. More importantly, the images confirm that only the western half of the fault segment that last ruptured in 1751 actually ruptured in the current earthquake.
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"We're still waiting for the other shoe to drop," said Tim Dixon, professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine&Atmospheric Science. The images reveal other startling facts, "Given the plate tectonic setting scientists expected mainly sideways motion, yet there was a large amount of vertical motion during the earthquake," said Falk Amelung, professor of geology and geophysics at RSMAS. "This explains how such a relatively small rupture was able to generate such a large earthquake."
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The data shows the earthquake occurred on or near the Enriquillo Fault, where most scientists suspected but until now did not have enough evidence to prove it. "This is a relief, because it shows that our current ideas about the tectonics of the area are correct," Amelung added.
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The researchers are looking at every bit of evidence to try to understand the possibility of another major quake hitting Port au Prince in the near future. "There's a reasonable probability of another large quake, similar to the January 12 event, striking Port au Prince within the next 20 to 30 years," Dixon said. "I'd like to see them relocate critical infrastructure such as government buildings, schools and hospitals, farther north out of the danger zone."
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In 1986, at the dawn of the GPS age, scientists began a set of geodetic measurements on the island of Hispaniola. A decade later, those measurements would reveal that the Enriquillo fault in southern Haiti was a significant earthquake hazard. "In a very real sense, those early measurements set the stage for our current understanding of this dangerous fault zone. Scientists have been studying this fault and others on the island, ever since," Dixon said.
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http://www.scientificblogging.com/news_articles/new_satellite_observatio...

Angelina Jolie visited earthquake victims in Haiti on Tuesday in her latest trip to help survivors of conflict and natural disaster as a goodwill envoy for a United Nations agency. Jolie, 34, who has been a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency UNHCR since early 2001, traveled to quake-shattered Port-au-Prince after visiting injured Haitian children in a hospital on Monday in neighboring Dominican Republic.
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Angelina Jolie greets members of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) during her visit to Haiti as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR. The actress, who has been on numerous UN humanitarian missions to help refugees from more than 20 countries, was due to visit a hospital and other relief sites treating hundreds of thousands of hurt and homeless Haitian quake survivors.
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The dark-haired Hollywood star, wearing a black jacket and aviator sunglasses, waved to reporters when she visited a U base near Port-au-Prince airport, before she was driven away in a white UN vehicle. UNHCR officials in Port-au-Prince told reporters her visit was "private."
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In Geneva, UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic declined to give specifics about Jolie's itinerary in Haiti, citing security reasons for its long-standing policy of not disclosing details of trips by its goodwill ambassadors. On Monday in the Dominican Republic, the actress visited a hospital in Santo Domingo where dozens of injured Haitians, mainly children, have been treated since the devastating January 12 quake in Haiti that killed more than 200,000 people.
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"She talked to several children and to a Haitian woman who recognized her and asked her for help," said Dario Manon, a doctor who accompanied Jolie on her tour of the Dario Contreras trauma hospital.
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Jolie met Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez on Monday evening to discuss Haiti's immediate aid needs, a government spokesman said. The president congratulated Jolie for her humanitarian work as a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, the spokesman said.
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Jolie, her actor partner Brad Pitt, and a host of other Hollywood and pop music stars have donated money to the relief efforts in Haiti, and in some cases also led charity collections for quake victims.
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Pitt and Jolie were among the first to reach out to Haiti by donating $1 million from their foundation to Doctors Without Borders, which also received $1 million from actress Sandra Bullock. Sean Penn visited Haiti soon after the quake, and Madonna donated $250,000 through Partners in Health.

Reuters
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Fuel shipments to Haiti's Varreux main tanker terminal have resumed after emergency repairs on the facility damaged in last month's earthquake, the operator and a US company that helped with the repairs said on Tuesday.
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Shipments to the privately owned Port-au-Prince terminal, which normally receives and stores more than 70 percent of Haiti's fuel, had been halted since the Jan. 12 quake damaged its piers and installations. The earthquake also badly damaged Port-au-Prince's main seaport.
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Varreux's Haitian operator WIN Group and equipment and service provider SEACOR Holdings Inc. said in a statement the first shipment of fuel to the restored berth was completed early on Sunday and the vessel had departed. "We are all taking a deep breath now that the fuel supply to Haiti has been restored," said Youri Mevs, managing partner of WIN Group.
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The bulk of Terminal Varreux's 18 storage tanks -- with a total capacity of approximately 45 million gallons (170 million litres) -- were undamaged. Mevs said the restoration of fuel shipments would give a major boost to recovery efforts in Haiti.
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The devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people, injured around 300,000 and left more than a million homeless, as well as wrecking public buildings and infrastructure in what was already the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.
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WIN and SEACOR said the repairs at Varreux had included the installation of an interim vessel mooring system, the repair and testing of critical piping systems and the revision of terminal operating procedures. Additional emergency construction at the facility was also providing the capability to receive containerized cargoes, which would give additional support to the international relief and recovery operation in Haiti.
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An international task force was also repairing Port-au-Prince's main seaport to restore its container handling capacity.

AFP
2/10/2010
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Haiti's quake battered and greatly diminished weather service urgently needs help ahead of the flood and storm prone country's impending rainy season, the UN's weather agency said on Tuesday.
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"We feel there is absolutely no time to waste and it's very important to help Haiti to be as ready as possible," said World Meteorological Organisation Secretary General Michel Jarraud, referring to the National Meteorological Centre of Haiti.
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While the quake last month left some 200,000 dead and about one million homeless, 90 percent of Haiti's disasters, including floods and drought, are triggered by extreme climatic conditions, according to the WMO. The rainy season is looming in April and hurricanes are normally due from June. In 2008 Haiti was exceptionally struck by four hurricanes in succession.
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The WMO said the Caribbean nation's geographical vulnerability was amplified by deforestation in recent years, increasing the risk of mudslides and flooding. "It is something which is a major hazard in a normal situation but now the hazards will be even more important, because most buildings considered as potential shelters or resistant were destroyed or severely damaged," Jarraud told journalists in Geneva.
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Thousands of poor people in makeshift shantytowns on flood plains and coastal areas were also vulnerable, and adequate weather and evacuation warnings were needed, WMO officials warned. The earthquake devastated the national weather service's office in the capital Port-au-Prince, relegating some 21 meteorological specialists to a tent on the airport tarmac and disrupting a nationwide network of volunteers.
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"When there are floods and when there is a hurricane, a clear voice is needed saying 'this is an emergency and these are the actions to take'," said WMO development director Robert Masters. Essential weather forecasts for the country have been provided by Canada, neighbouring Dominican Republic, France and the United States since the quake struck on January 12.
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The WMO has also called on countries due to meet in a regional hurricane committee next month, as well as UN agencies, for longer term help. It estimated that about one million dollars in emergency aid was needed to prop up basic weather services within months, as well as another 15 million dollars in longer term aid.

A quake-damaged Haitian supermarket collapsed in the capital with several people inside and rescue crews were working to pull them out, the supervisor at the site said.
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"There were looters inside the building," Meir Vaknin told AFP, referring to the Caribbean Market store. "I was trying to get rid of them and when the building fell there were some of them inside." He added there were signs those inside were alive.
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The building was badly damaged in Haiti's devastating January 12 earthquake, but partly remained standing. Vaknin said a storage space fell onto the building on Tuesday as he was working at the site with an excavator to remove bodies still there from the quake.
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"I was sitting in the excavator when it fell in," he said. "I'm so lucky to be alive."He said no one from his crew was hurt.

The Miami Herald
BY JIM WYSS AND FRANCES ROBLES
jwyss@miamiherald.com
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PORT-AU-PRINCE -- When the earthquake struck, Marie Yvelene Boisdefer was at the soccer stadium, teaching a group of young women a dance routine they were going to debut during Haiti's pre-Lenten carnival festivities. Her first reaction was to drop to her knees and pray. Her second was to take charge, as the roofless stadium filled with shellshocked neighbors who dragged the wounded and dying into its relative safety.
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Nobody from the government ever came to offer assistance or take responsibility. Boisdefer became one of the earthquake's accidental mayors. The Jan. 12 quake leveled this once-bustling port city, killing at least 230,000 people and leaving some 1.1 million homeless. It also left the government in shambles, destroying every major ministry, flattening Port-au-Prince's City Hall, and leaving President René Préval struggling to stay relevant.
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In the power vacuum, Haitians have had to fend, and lead, for themselves. Many of those who lost their homes are trying to remake their lives in one of more than 500 encampments that have sprouted up around the city. Some are home to a few dozen people; others to tens of thousands. Almost a month after the earthquake, 950 families have pitched tents on the artificial grass of Sylvio Cator stadium, and more are coming every day. Boisdefer finds doctors for the wounded, evicts troublemakers, prints ID badges and scrambles to find food.
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``Right now, everybody in the country has to do a little something to help,'' said Boisdefer, who lives in a red, one-person Coleman tent. Her husband, well-known disc jockey Ben Constant, sleeps in his car. ``People are doing everything on their own.''
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Those who live in the stadium are some of the lucky ones. Many of the encampments have weak leadership or are still adrift. At the St. Pierre Plaza, where a few hundred families have gathered, residents said the people who claimed to be their leaders were recently arrested over selling the food vouchers intended for them. ``This place is chaos, we have no idea who is really in charge,'' said Acceh Guerrier, 39, as he huddled beneath an outstretched bedsheet with his family. Although multiple people have registered his name and promised to issue him an identification card, they have never made good on their word.
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After facing similar problems at the sprawling tent city at the Champs de Mars in front of the demolished presidential palace, residents planned to elect leaders this week in order to coordinate the distribution of aid. The issue of who's in charge has become increasingly important as these informal communities compete for food, water and medical services that are flooding in from the international community.
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Giovanni Cassani is in charge of settlement issues with the International Organization on Migration, which distributes tents and other nonfood aid to the encampments. He said many of the camps have pre-earthquake leadership structures. That is, existing city commissioners and delegates assumed those roles in the camps. Other encampments have held elections. And then there are places where charismatic individuals have simply taken charge.
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``I don't know how to explain it,'' he said. ``But there are communities that simply have natural leadership coming out.'' At Sainte Therese in Petionville, the encampment elected 23 committee members, which picked a nine-member executive committee. They're the only ones allowed in the storage rooms where boxes of aid are kept.
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``It should be the governments responsibility to do everything,'' said Milord Noster, the vice president. ``Since they don't do anything, we need to take care of it ourselves. From what we know, nobody from the government came by ever, not even the mayor.''
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As a Realtor and pastor, Noster said the leadership role came naturally to him. He says he spends from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the committee, making decisions and taking votes. ``If you need stitches, we take you to the hospital or find you a bandage,'' said Michel Reginald Henry, a member of the executive committee. ``We are taking care of cleaning, education, health everything. This is not political: this is help for the community.''
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A few miles away, at the exclusive St. Louis de Gonzague boys school, Castille Moliere watched as a medical team from Utah tended to some of the 4,600 people who live at the tent city that sprouted up on the grounds of the damaged school. Wearing a blue T-shirt with the word Committee stenciled on it, Moliere looks like the stern principal he once was, albeit at a different school for poor children.
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Moliere said he found his way here because he was looking for his 11-year-old daughter, Florentina. He didn't find the girl, but he found others who needed his help. ``There were so many victims here, just like me,'' he said. ``They gave me the strength to work for them.'' Moliere's duties go from the vital to the mundane.
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``When people are making trouble, they come to me to deal with it. When people are defecating where they shouldn't be, they come to me to deal with it,'' he said. ``For everything they come to me.'' His priorities now are finding tarps to keep his people dry during the upcoming rainy season and finding his daughter.
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``Tell your readers that if we don't have tarps for the rain, it could be just as bad for us as the earthquake,'' he said. ``And if they know Florentina, let her know her father is looking for her.''
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Moliere and Boisdefer said they have no intention of pursuing politics. Moliere wants to return to his school and Boisdefer said, given a chance, she would travel to New Jersey to visit her children.
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But with the need so great, and the possibility of these temporary communities becoming permanent shanties, many of these new leaders are not sure how much longer they can keep up the role.
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``The government has to give us some help,'' said Boisdefer on a recent weekday, when she lost her way amid the maze of tents and tarps. ``This is getting too large for me. This is just too much.''

The Miami Herald
By PAISLEY DODDS
Associated Press Writer
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The tale seems dubious: that a rice vendor survived 27 days trapped under the rubble of a flea market following Haiti's devastating earthquake. Skeptical health workers said no one could live that long without water and the last confirmed survivor found was a 16-year-old girl removed from rubble 15 days after the Jan. 12 quake. The only sources for the story were the two Haitian men who showed up at a clinic carrying the vendor, dehydrated and malnourished with rail-thin legs.
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But then the patient became lucid enough to tell his tale Tuesday. And while his account has not been independently verified, doctors now say the 28-year-old man could have survived on water and possibly some fruit beneath the rubble.
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The man - identified as Evans Monsigrace - told doctors he had just finished selling rice for the day at a downtown Port-au-Prince flea market when the quake hit. He said he didn't suffer any major injuries and was trapped on his side in an area where food and drink vendors were selling their goods.
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"Based on that (his story), we believe him," said Dr. Dushyantha Jayaweera, a physician at the University of Miami Medishare field hospital where hundreds of patients have been treated since the quake.
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The story began when two men first took the vendor to a Salvation Army medical center in Port-au-Prince on Monday, saying he had been trapped since the earthquake. He was later moved to the University of Miami hospital because of his critical condition.
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"He came in delirious, asking to die," said Nery Ynclan, a University of Miami media officer in Haiti, noting that Creole translators were at the field hospital. Ynclan said the rice vendor was in stable condition Tuesday and being treated for dehydration and malnutrition. He was nibbling on chocolate, she said. "Someone could not survive 28 days without water," Ynclan said. "You can go nine weeks without food." Doctors have said that disaster survivors may be able to sustain themselves with a water supply and without medical attention for up to two weeks
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Jayaweera said the man originally claimed he had not had any water or food. The man, however, had normal kidney function with heart palpitations, suggesting he at least had drank something but not enough to avoid getting dehydrated, the doctor said. Still, doctors at the field hospital and at a Salvation Army medical center had no way to confirm the story.
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A videotape shot by Michael Andrew, an Arizona-based freelance photographer and a volunteer at the Salvation Army medical center, shows doctors on Monday trying without success to insert a needle into the man's arm to give him fluid. Doctors there then referred the man to the field hospital at the airport, Andrew told The Associated Press.
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The Salvation Army, in a brief posting on its Web site, said the two men, whom it didn't identify, found the man in the debris of the market Monday. But Andrew said Tuesday it wasn't clear whether others had provided food and water to the man and that many details of the case had yet to be learned.
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It also wasn't known why teams of international search and rescue workers were not alerted to the man's reported circumstances in the wrecked market. The man's mother, who was at the field hospital, told workers that people clearing rubble downtown discovered him and alerted his brothers. The Haiti quake killed 230,000 people, the Haitian government said Tuesday.

Donors have contributed just 6 percent of the funds sought for post-earthquake nutritional assistance to women and children in Haiti, according to the UN. A US$576.9-million flash appeal launched on 15 January is 92.9 percent funded overall, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). But “some sectors of the relief effort have received little funding so far,” OCHA said in a 8 February statement. Aside from nutrition, these include security (6 percent funded) and agriculture (8 percent).
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The flash appeal calls for $48 million for nutrition for women and children, the third-largest sum for a sector after food aid ($246 million) and water, sanitation and hygiene ($58 million). The priorities of the nutrition sector in Haiti include assessments and analyses, as well as delivery of high-energy biscuits, ready-to-use therapeutic foods and fortified meals. The target beneficiaries are 2.4 million women of child-bearing age, 240,000 pregnant women and 600,000 under-five children.
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Ensuring proper nutrition among the most vulnerable people, chiefly mothers and young children, helps prevent opportunistic sicknesses and permanent damage to physical or mental health, according to UNICEF.
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“If we do not have enough funds to ensure the nutrition of any vulnerable group, being young or old, we will run into a high level of acute malnutrition in Haiti,” said Mija Ververs, nutrition expert with UNICEF, lead agency in the nutrition sector. “This could create another disaster on top of the current one,” she told IRIN.
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The earthquake has increased the need for a specialized nutritional response, for example to provide counselling to breastfeeding women so as to counter the negative effect trauma has on lactation and to supply appropriate food sources to infants whose mothers have died or become separated from their children.
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The rainy season – during which the risk of disease is increased – is due to begin in March, making nutritional support all the more urgent. “Many children were chronically malnourished before the earthquake, but not acutely,” said Ververs. “This has now changed.”

By Ariel Schwartz
Fast Company
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Atmospheric water generators, or machines that extract water from humid air, have been around for awhile--we wrote about Atmospheric Water Systems' 11-stage filtration water generator last year, and Willie Nelson even sells his own atmospheric water generator. Now the pricey technology is being used where it can make a real difference--in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Aqua Sciences shipped over one of its atmospheric water extraction machines at the end of January, marking the first time the device has been used for relief efforts. And so far it has been wildly successful.
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People on the ground have supposedly dubbed the generator "the miracle machine." It's an accurate moniker--the device has produced thousands of gallons of clean water for drinking, wound cleansing and surgical scrubbing at the University Hospital Compound in Port-Au-Prince. According to Aqua Sciences CEO Abe Sher, the machine has actually succeeded in fulfilling fresh water needs at the compound.
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It wasn't easy to bring the 40-foot-long machine to Haiti. Aqua Sciences worked with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the U.S Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of Defense, the U.S State Department, and USAID to get the atmospheric water generator into Port-Au-Prince. But now that it has been proven to work well in emergency situations, expect that the device will pop up in other water-starved emergency locales.
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http://www.fastcompany.com/1545130/miracle-machine-brings-clean-water-to...

USA Today
By Irwin Redlener
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Given the extraordinary destruction wrought by last month's earthquake in Haiti, few will be surprised if this catastrophe is recorded as one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent history. But what is not well appreciated is that this disaster could disproportionately impact children, not only those who perished in the initial shocks, but also those who will not survive what is likely to be a cruel aftermath.
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Before the quake, many of the 380,000 children living in shelters were placed there out of economic desperation; families could not afford to care for them. Now, many more children displaced by the earthquake will literally have no surviving family members, further swelling demand on social service agencies throughout the country.
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As the U.S. and other countries make plans to help Haiti get back on its feet, emphasis should be on enhancing that nation's resiliency — and that will mean dealing with the needs of its children. The unusual extent of child casualties will be driven by several factors:
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• About 50% of the Haitian population of 9 million is younger than 18. Even more striking is the fact that children 14 years of age and less make up more than 38%.
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• Everything about a natural disaster puts children at greater risk. A comparatively small chunk of dislodged ceiling would injure an adult, but it might well kill an infant or small child. Water deprivation will lead far more rapidly to dehydration and shock in an infant than it would in an adult.
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• Some seriously injured children have survived the initial trauma because they were among the few to get surgical attention provided by international medical teams. But access to follow-up care could be an overwhelming challenge. Compounding concerns, the Ministry of Health at one point asked physicians not to provide medical care that can't be sustained in Haiti.
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Long-term needs
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Between 1 million to 2 million Haitians will be "displaced" for the foreseeable future. This means a minimum of 400,000 to 800,000 children will be in temporary shelter for months or years. But the rainy season is coming in May, followed by hurricane season in June. Families in tents or other flimsy shelters will be at grave risk.
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• What about the psychological impact? Grieving over loss and trauma carries the potential of long-term consequences for every Haitian, especially the countless children.
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Then there are Haiti's chronic problems that must be addressed head-on. For decades, Haitians have experienced a seemingly intractable state of poverty, accompanied by malnutrition and high rates of acute and chronic illness. More than 50% of Haitians live on less than a dollar a day, and more than 60% of its young children have nutritional anemia.
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Despite the efforts of international agencies and non-governmental organizations, chronic illness abounds and access to clean water, medical care and sanitation remains a significant challenge for Haitians, particularly children. This is why the recovery and rebuilding of this fragile nation must begin and end with a central focus on the immediate and long-term needs of children. If there is to be a glimmer of hope for Haiti, it will be because the international community understands that the capacity to rise from the ashes of catastrophe is directly related to the health, well-being and potential of its youngest generation.
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Irwin Redlener is the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and president of the Children's Health Fund.

By Laurence J. Ronan and Lisa I. Iezzoni
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IN THE aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, one group requires special attention: Those permanently disabled by devastating injuries. The exact number of newly disabled Haitians is unknown, but the wounds are obvious: amputations of arms, legs, hands, and feet; paralyzing brain and spinal cord injuries; extensive burns.
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In the short term, Haiti’s injury victims need urgent medical attention just to survive. On the US Navy’s huge hospital ship Comfort, anchored off Port-au-Prince, we treated critically injured children, men, and women, many with horrendous injuries. Some arrived on Comfort already paralyzed from head and spine wounds. Others had fractures of the pelvis, vertebra and arms and legs.Skin gaped open over many wounds, leaving the bones exposed and causing infections. Bacteria had entered the blood stream, causing a life-threatening condition called sepsis. Gangrene - tissue death and decay caused by lack of blood flow - had sometimes set in.
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Gangrene and wound infections can kill people. The only thing doctors can do to save lives is amputate limbs or the affected body parts. Some Comfort patients refused these amputations. They said that without arms and legs their lives would be over anyway, so they might as well die. Some people who refused treatment died shortly thereafter. For those with amputations or paralysis who survive, the question is what happens next.
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These survivors have few options. Even before the earthquake, Haiti offered little assistance to those with disabilities. Steep mountainous terrain and treacherous unpaved streets made it difficult for people with walking problems - even those few who owned wheelchairs - to get around.
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Haiti has no rehabilitation hospitals to help people learn how to function again after major injuries, strokes, or other disabling health problems. Few health care professionals specializing in rehabilitation, including physiatrists and physical therapists, are available to teach patients how to walk again, perform basic activities of daily life, or work despite their disabilities.
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Since the earthquake, prospects look even bleaker for Haitians with disabilities. Major cities and the surrounding countryside are in rubble, making access and mobility impossible. We could not find enough wheelchairs for the patients we discharged from the Comfort. We heard of situations where people could not find canes or crutches to help them get around. The country has no one making prostheses and in a country where the average person earns $1 a day, buying such items from abroad is beyond the reach of most.
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People with paralysis or amputations need long-term rehabilitation treatments to maximize their physical functioning. For example, after amputation wounds heal, people must keep their muscles around the amputation as strong as possible so that the prosthesis will work its best. A few mobile health teams have arrived to provide rehabilitation services and plans are underway to begin producing prostheses for amputees. While these are good starts, the massive need of thousands of newly disabled Haitians is simply overwhelming.
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Haiti’s minister of health has identified support for newly disabled Haitians as a priority. The United States must join this effort. The top priority must be to ensure that no further deaths or other disabilities occur because of infected wounds or other acute medical problems. These patients also need shelter that is accessible and can accommodate their disabilities. They need basic equipment like canes, crutches, and wheelchairs with adequate strength and cushioning. They need rehabilitation therapy to maximize their long-term physical abilities.
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The earthquake leaves Haiti with thousands with significant disabilities. Some of the victims are young children, so this legacy will stretch for decades ahead. Over the long-term, Haiti must build a medical system that includes rehabilitation services and trains rehabilitation professionals. As Haiti rebuilds its towns, every aspect of that new physical environment must accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. This will ultimately improve quality of life for all Haitians with disabilities and allow them to contribute to their own and their country’s future.
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Dr. Lawrence Ronan is director of the Mass General Hospital Durant Fellowship. Dr. Lisa I. Iezzoni is professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, and director of the Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Mass General.

By Nina Shen Rastogi
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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The human toll of the earthquake in Haiti has been devastating, but what, if anything, does the disaster mean for the environment? It's a small solace, but the terrifying 7.0-magnitude earthquake seems not to have caused any major, immediate damage to Haiti's ecosystem. According to Asif Zaidi, operations manager of the U.N. Environmental Program's Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, there has been one small spill near a coastal oil terminal, some minor warehouse fires and a few small landslides close to Port-au-Prince, but nothing that requires a significant emergency response.
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As the situation stabilizes, clearing away the waste and debris will become an urgent priority. It's too early to estimate just how much rubble must be moved, but considering that 80 to 100 percent of the structures in some areas were destroyed, Zaidi says it's likely to be "a staggering amount." Some of the demolition material, such as steel and iron bars, can be salvaged and recycled; the rest can be crushed and used for rebuilding roads. (Ideally, debris management will also provide employment for many local workers.) The growing amount of medical waste, particularly from makeshift tent hospitals, is also a concern: At the moment, it's unclear whether there are any safe disposal options for this hazardous material. Public-health experts are also worried about all the human waste generated in survivor camps.
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However, the earthquake is only the latest wrinkle in a much longer environmental saga. Even before this most recent disaster, Haiti was being described as a nation on the brink of ecological collapse. The country's most pressing and visible problem is rampant deforestation. In 1923, forests covered 60 percent of the country; by 2006, they covered less than 2 percent. Although logging in the area dates to the late 17th century, when the French cleared vast swathes of virgin forest to plant sugar cane, cotton and coffee, most of Haiti's remaining trees are now being chopped down for fuel: Firewood and charcoal supply 75 percent of the country's energy demands. Poverty exacerbates the problem, since wood-derived charcoal is often the most profitable commodity that can be eked out of the land. (Dwindling supplies and a high demand for charcoal have led to a rash of cross-border smuggling out of the Dominican Republic.) Satellite images of Hispaniola, the island Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic, provide a stark illustration of the contrast in deforestation between the two, and just how bad the situation in Haiti is.
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Those ripped-out trees and vegetation are not only an environmental concern but also a safety hazard: Loss of forest cover can make some natural disasters such as hurricanes even more dangerous than they would be otherwise. Trees help buffer high-velocity winds, and their root systems stabilize topsoil, increasing the ground's ability to absorb precipitation. Loose topsoil and lots of rain make for dangerous mudslides and flash floods, as witnessed during the four devastating storms that battered Haiti in 2008. Chronic erosion, coupled with unsustainable, intensive agricultural practices, also make Haiti's mountainous landscape less arable than it was -- and that contributes to food scarcity, which worsens poverty, which in turns speeds up the rate at which trees get cleared.
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So far, it's unclear whether the Jan. 12 earthquake and its aftershocks have shaken loose more soil, but further damage to the land remains a distinct possibility. The one saving grace is that the rainy season is still several months away, so landslides and flooding aren't an immediate danger. However, as residents of urban Port-au-Prince stream out into the countryside, some experts fear that logging there will intensify.
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Something good might come of all this. Now that Haiti has the world's attention -- and some of its money -- this could be the opportunity the country needs to make long-term capital investments in such things as safer, sturdier buildings and the introduction of new, non-wood-based fuel technologies. In any event, Haiti won't be starting from scratch when it shifts from short-term crisis management to long-term environmental planning. Although the 2008 storms were undoubtedly catastrophic, the quadruple-punch of Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike energized attempts to revive the country's ecology and economy. In the wake of those storms, the Haiti Regeneration Initiative -- a coalition of U.N. agencies, government entities, NGOs and technical institutes -- came together with a 20-year mission to develop natural resource management programs aimed at reducing poverty and restoring the ecosystem, including Haiti's degraded coastlines and coral reefs. The challenge now is figuring out how to incorporate earthquake-related reconstruction into Haiti's overall rehabilitation plan, but at least there's an infrastructure in place to help guide the process, which would not have been the case just a few years ago.
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Is there an environmental quandary that's been keeping you up at night? Send it to ask.the.lantern@gmail.com, and check this space every Tuesday. Read previous Green Lantern columns here.

Reuters
By Jim Loney
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The top U.N. official in Haiti urged Haitians on Tuesday to turn in thousands of escaped criminals before they start trouble, but said the security situation in the quake-struck Caribbean nation is stable. Haitian authorities say some 5,000 prisoners fled the National Penitentiary and other jails when a massive earthquake on Jan. 12 triggered the collapse of hundreds of buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
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Most of the escapees are still believed to be on the loose and many retreated to Cite Soleil, the seaside slum they once ruled like warlords, toting weapons they likely took from prison guards during their flight. "I can say the security situation in Port-au-Prince and all over the country is globally stable," Edmond Mulet, acting head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, said at a news conference.
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"I'd like to make a call to the people to denounce the criminals who left the prisons," Mulet said. "They're on the street. We know they are reorganizing secretly. We have to look for them before they act."
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Thousands of U.N. peacekeeping troops have been in Haiti since 2004 to aid Haiti's national police force with security. Thousands of U.S. troops have joined them since the quake. Mulet called on Haitians to report escaped felons to police or peacekeepers.
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Of the 3,000 inmates who escaped the National Penitentiary, many were gang members who ran drug- and weapons-trafficking operations in Cite Soleil, Haiti's largest slum where cinder-block homes still bear the bullet scars of battles between gangs and peacekeepers. The restoration of peace to Cite Soleil had been one of President Rene Preval's undisputed achievements since taking office in 2006 and unrest there could undermine efforts to maintain security in the aftermath of the quake.
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In the chaos that followed the temblor, which government officials say killed about 212,000 people, many judicial records may have been destroyed. There were few traces of remaining records in the National Penitentiary a few days after the quake, and evidence of fires in a cell. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said on Tuesday that security is an area of concern with more than 1 million people living in the streets following the quake, but he believed it was under control despite the escapees. "So far, Haiti is a secure country," Bellerive said.
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(Editing by Vicki Allen)

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