The past month has been important for Haiti. The World Bank, IMF, and the IDB forgave $1.2 billion of Haiti’s debt. Deals were reached with members of the Paris Club to cancel an additional $152 million in debt. Bill Clinton made his first trip to Haiti as UN Special Envoy. Plus, discussions at the G8 Summit indicated we may be on the verge of a historic shift in how food assistance is delivered, to the benefit of Haiti and other food insecure countries.
Hurricane season has begun. Flooding will be inevitable each year until environmental degradation is reversed. Still, leadership, preparation, and coordination can mitigate the human and economic costs. Jacqueline Charles describes, in the Miami Herald, the last minute efforts of the Haitian government to bolster infrastructure in Haiti's most vulnerable cities, yet to recover from the consequences of last year's storms. Haiti is more ready than it was last year, but still has a long way to go.
Patrick Farrell won a Pulitzer Prize for his photos of the devastation caused by a series of tropical storms that devastated several cities throughout Haiti, though none so much as Gonaives and Cabaret. His stark photography captures the heart-ache of the many families who lost loved ones. As is usually the case in Haiti, children pay the heaviest price for inaction.
Below is a reader blog by Daniel Schnitzer, the Director of InterIntel. InterIntel is a small organization that specializes in innovative environmental management and alternative energy projects. Presently, InterIntel is building a clean energy store in Les Anglais and establishing both an educational management course and a Jatropha project in Coteaux. You can support InterIntel by donating, volunteering, or spreading the word about their work.
Haiti recently celebrated Fet Gede, the Day of the Dead. As Matt notes, it is a time for honoring those who have come before and a reminder to love those who are still here. November 18th marks the anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres, the historic battle which ensured Haiti’s place as the first free black republic and the only country to have led a successful slave rebellion. The juxtaposition of these two holidays reminds us that life is both a gift and a struggle. In Haiti, the struggle against hunger, poverty, and instability continues.