Gang violence in Haiti's largest city continues to have a pervasive negative impact that reverberates throughout the country, affecting security, the economy, food security, education, and health care. According to Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald, dozens of people have been killed and more than a hundred injured in a new round of deadly violence "aggravating fuel shortages, raising transportation costs and making an already troubling humanitarian crisis even worse." Further, 20,000 residents of the densely populated slums have been displaced by gang violence since May. A July 8 article about gang violence in Port au Prince is copied below and linked is an update by Charles.
According to Trenton Daniel and Martha Mendoza, a ten year $2.2 billion dollar plan to eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic will be released shortly. The plan will be government-led with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the WHO/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). It is yet to be determined who will fund the plan and to what extent although the World Bank has indicated it will contribute. Although it will take years, eliminating cholera is neccesary both for protecting public health and promoting investment.
Today marks one year since the earthquake. There has been a great deal of commentary, dialogue, and debate over what is going well, what is not, what should be improved and how. Much of Port au Prince is still in ruins, a cholera epidemic has yet to peak, and the most recent elections were a debacle. The anniversary provides an opportunity for us to consider what will get Haiti out of survival mode and on the path to development. Doing so will depend in large part upon the Haitian government, its willingness to change, and ability to lead.
Without a doubt, post earthquake Haiti was a complex and difficult humanitarian situation. However, the response could have been much better. Below is a blog by Simon Levine which asks why we have not learned from past emergencies and why it is that we may not learn from this one as well. Immediately after is a special issue of Humanitarian Exchange, published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), which explores the experiences of humanitarian actors involved in the earthquake response.
Immediately after the earthquake, the main source of information was Twitter, which I have a new respect for. Journalists and aid workers are arriving in Haiti and we are gaining a better sense of just how extensive the damage to Port au Prince is. We also know that Jacmel was seriously affected as well. Aid from the United States, other governments, and humanitarian responders both big and small is picking up. This is a summary of the current situation, who is doing what where, and how you can help. Additional updates will be posted as comments.
Scott Schachter sent in the following blog about Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) - an independent, international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid in more than 60 countries including Haiti, where it has operated since 1991. Doctors Without Borders is actively involved in recovery operations in Gonaives. The organization is competing for one million dollars in the Trip Advisor Challenge. You can cast your vote by clicking here. Read on or visit the Doctors Without Borders Website to learn more.
Last week, there was an announcement on Corbett's List that Lambi Fund had been awarded a grant by the Blue Print Creative Group. This grant will help them to cultivate brand awareness, increase volunteerism, and stimulate corporate and private donations. Americans are a generous people who make possible the work of scores of local and international organizations in Haiti. However, support is often more forthcoming for natural disasters than the heavy lifting (capacity building, civil society strengthening, livelihoods) that is needed to help people feed themselves, manage their own emergencies, and become active leaders, instead of just aid recipients, who can address social problems. We hope that this grant will help them get the word about what they do and why it is important.