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Refugees International: Haiti Still Trapped in an Emergency

  • Posted on: 7 October 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Refugees International (RI) researchers Melanie Teff and Emilie Parry traveled to Haiti in September to assess the needs of Haitians displaced by the earthquake.  Attached and below are their findings.  For the displaced, this is still clearly an emergency.  Less than 30% of camps have managers, a serious problem given insecurity and the fact that the majority of the displaced are not going anywhere until the Haitian government develops a systematic approach for determining land ownership and resolving property disputes.  Most agree that the response of UN agencies could have been improved with better surge capacity, clarity over who is responsible for protection and a concerted effort to include Haitians in coordination efforts instead of shutting them out. 

 

USIP Webcast: Building a Better Haitian State (10/13/2010)

  • Posted on: 4 October 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Since 2006, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) has organized monthly, public gatherings in Washington DC to discuss developmental challenges in Haiti.  On October 13, 2010 from 10:00 – 12:00, USIP will host a public forum on “Building a Better Haitian State” with several expert speakers involved in different aspects of the reconstruction.  The event, webcast live, will be moderated by long time friend of Haiti Robert Maguire.  After registering, viewers can participate in online discussion and submit questions.  Event details are below.  Click here to learn more about USIP's Haiti related activities and resources. 

Haitian Government Taps External Support to Reconstruct Port au Prince

  • Posted on: 3 October 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

A lack of clarity concerning land tenure, limited enforcement of architectural standards, and haphazard urban planning made Port au Prince a city that was both difficult to manage and highly vulnerable to natural disasters.  The Haitian government has reached out to an architectural planning charity, the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, founded by Britain's Prince Charles, for assistance in reconstructing the historic center of Port au Prince.  The Reuters article below provides further details about this new partnership.   

Recovery and Agriculture in Haiti

  • Posted on: 11 September 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections, one hopes that promoting agriculture and rehabilitating the environment will be high priorities for the next administration.  Countries that import the majority of their food staples, as Haiti does, are vulnerable to price shocks when international food prices increase.  Rural development depends in large part upon making agriculture viable again.  This will require tackling environmental degradation, improving disaster preparedness, upgrading infrastructure and resolving long simmering land tenure issues. These challenges are difficult but not insurmountable.

Are We Reconstructing Yet?

  • Posted on: 15 July 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

This week marked six months since the earthquake.  According to President Preval, it also marked the week that the emergency phase ended and reconstruction began.  Yet at the same time residents of the Corrail Cesselesse camp were struggling with the consequences of a rain storm that destroyed up to 300 tents and caused 1,700 to seek emergency shelter.  With the rainy season underway, the situation is precarious for the displaced.  Security, especially for women and children, is still a major concern.  Is this an emergency operation, a reconstruction effort, or both?

ALNAP Launches Haiti Learning and Accountability Portal

  • Posted on: 14 July 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) has recently launched a Haiti Portal.  The portal will include evaluations of the Haiti response and other online resources.  In addition, it will provide participants an opportunity to discuss what is going well and what needs to be improved.  Haiti is still teetering between emergency response and reconstruction.  There are many issues that require further attention and action, first so we can improve efforts underway in Haiti and second to do a better job the next time a major urban disaster occurs.  Below is a summary of just a few of these issues. 

Ten Critical Issues for Rebuilding Haiti

  • Posted on: 22 June 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

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

U.S. State Department Releases 2010 Human Trafficking Report

  • Posted on: 14 June 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The U.S. State Department released its 2010 Annual Report on Human Trafficking today.  Haiti remains a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking.  The most significant trafficking issue concerns restaveks – forced domestic servitude of young children given to (mostly) urban families by parents (mostly) from rural areas with larger families.  An estimated 225,000 children were enslaved as restaveks prior to the 2010 earthquake.  Even more children are vulnerable to exploitation in the earthquake’s aftermath.  Below is the Haiti section of the report, which includes recommendations for the Haitian government and the international community.

Haiti Earthquake Update (6/13/2010)

  • Posted on: 13 June 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

John Holmes, the UN Humanitarian Chief, yesterday expressed frustration with the humanitarian response in Haiti.  Holmes stated finding available land for transitional shelters, slow decision-making by the government and new waves of Haitians moving into the settlements (often for services not available in their own neighborhoods) have made responding to the crisis particularly difficult.  The Haitian government, responsible for setting priorities and developing plans, lacks staffing and expertise.  It is being pulled in many directions at once on issues relating to shelter, hurricane contingency planning, governance reforms, elections, law enforcement, food security, and decentralization. 

Fund Set Up to Spur Mobile Banking in Haiti

  • Posted on: 9 June 2010
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is an article by Jacqueline Charles on a joint USAID/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Grant established to promote mobile phone banking in Haiti.  In Haiti, use of mobile phones has become widespread.  For far too many, the only options for saving money have been to: (1) travel to urban centers; (2) utilize the services of a close by but questionable cooperative or Caisse Populaire (Popular Bank), or (3) to keep hard earned funds under the mattress.  This grant could create quick and convenient access to financial services from reputable institutions.  You can read more about this welcome initiative at the BMGF website.    

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