"I Have Never Seen Anything as Painful" : Paul Farmer on Flooding in Haiti

  • Posted on: 10 September 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Below is an email Paul Farmer wrote to Partners in Health (PIH) HQ concerning the recent flooding in Haiti.  The country is dealing with a true catastrophe, described by President Preval as a "nationwide Katrina."  In addition to their responsibilities on the Central Plateau, PIH is stepping up by helping the Ministry of Health provide life saving services throughout the Artibonite. If you have been asking yourself how you can help Haiti, a donation to PIH to fund their emergency operations is an excellent way to do so.  You can make a donation directly through their website.  For additional information, read the transcript of an interview of Paul by Democracy Now here.

Widespread Flooding as Haiti Awaits Ike (9/6/2008)

  • Posted on: 6 September 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The damage caused by Gustav and Hannah have set Haiti back years.  Many have lost their homes and livelihoods.  Food security, already precarious, is worse as crops have been destroyed, fruit trees knocked over, and livestock killed.  Gonaives, ever prone to flooding, bore the brunt but many other cities and towns were damaged and need assistance.  The implications are being felt nationwide.  Haiti needs its friends during the long recovery process. 

Gustav Moves On - Can Haiti Weather the Next Storm?

  • Posted on: 29 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Natural disasters are a fact of life in Haiti, both in terms of the inevitable tropical storms/hurricanes and the floods/ mudslides left in their wake, largely as a result of the unabated deforestation.  Gustav resulted in 22 deaths, but certainly could have been worse.  While Haiti can't stop the storms, it is possible to mitigate the damage that they cause.  Preparedness is key. Topix carried a Scoop Media World article on the efforts of the international community to help Haiti better prepare for and respond to natural disasters. 

Blogging Haiti

  • Posted on: 25 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Haitians say that their country has teeth. Once it has bitten you, it may not let you go.  There are a large number of bloggers who write about Haiti for many different reasons - the one thing they have in common is that blogging allows them to stay connected to a country they care about.  Blogging is inherently democratic in that anyone with interest, motivation, and access to the internet can visit Blogspot, Wordpress, or any number of other free websites and, with a few keystrokes, start writing almost immediately.  Haiti Innovation decided to take a look at who else was blogging Haiti - here is what we found.

Haitian Agribusiness Helping Families Produce Food in Cap Haitian

  • Posted on: 22 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

In 2004, a group of farmers from Cap Haitian put their ideas into motion to create a cooperative which connects rural communities with markets. Four years later, Makouti Agro Enterprise is a bustling agribusiness in a country severely hit by the rising costs of food and fuel. The demand for Makouti’s services outweighs its newfound ability to supply them. Recognizing the critical need for timely support to these communities, Partners of the Americas and Global Giving teamed up to enable individuals around the world to support Makouti projects in vegetable gardening, animal production, and fruit tree cultivation. These projects teach rural families how to improve production of food for consumption and income.

Haiti Food Security Update (8/21/2008)

  • Posted on: 21 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Disagreements among parliamentarians and political parties over who will serve in the new government have prevented Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis from presenting a new Cabinet and policy priorities (one of which is food security) on Tuesday as scheduled.  As politicians bicker, the people struggle.  The Miami Herald notes that school starts on September 1st and the fees will be out of reach for many.  According to the USAID Famine Early Warning System (FEWS-NET),  food security conditions are likely to deteroriate beginning in October due to the high prices of staple food crops, hurricanes, civil unrest, and high transportation costs.  Having been four months without a functional government, it is long past time to make a deal and get to work.    

Trash or Treasure? Turning Waste to Energy in Haiti

  • Posted on: 19 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Haiti is a beautiful country but it would certainly be more so if there were a functional waste management system. What if waste, rather than winding up in the street, ocean, or a landfill could be converted into energy?  Port au Prince would become a very clean city in short order.  The New York Times carried an article stating that virtually any material containing hydrogen, carbon and oxygen could potentially be converted into fuel.  This include plastics, construction debris, forest and lawn trimmings, wood chips, wheat straw, and agricultural waste. This approach could someday help Haiti meet its energy needs without being at the mercy of oil.

Solar Energy for Haiti Revisited

  • Posted on: 17 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

Denise Green, a Haitian friend and colleague, wrote a blog in November 2007 urging Haiti to go solar.  Over the past year, there has been a tremendous increase in coverage of solar energy.  With new interest, developments, and possibilities solar energy could make a real difference in countries such as Haiti where oil fluctuations are felt acutely.   Haiti is predictably hot and sunny but apart from traffic lights and a handful of schools and homes, it is not widespread.  This could change.  Perhaps Haiti can learn from the experiences of other countries.

Haiti Micah Project Update (8/9/2008)

  • Posted on: 9 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

The Haiti Micah Project (HMP) was established in 2005 by Father Joseph Constant, a Haitian Priest who was born in Mirebalais and is now living and working in Virginia.  Like many in the Haitian Diaspora, Father Constant wanted to give back to his hometown and his country.  He established a feeding program for street kids and other vulnerable children as a first step toward meeting their basic needs which include shelter, water, health care, education, vocational training and spiritual/emotional support.  HMP is growing and this blog provides an update of their activities.

Human Rights, Water and Politics in Haiti

  • Posted on: 7 August 2008
  • By: Bryan Schaaf

In taking a human rights-based approach to development, the final outcome of humanitarian aid should be to build the capacity of the Haitian government so -at some point- they can fulfill the basic rights of the Haitian people. Having said that, the efforts of international aid are reversed when policies (illegally) deny the Haitian government loans they intended to use in fulfilling Haitian's right to clean water. After filing a Freedom of Information Act, the RFK Memorial and Zanmi Lasante have released internal documents outlining US actions to block life-saving funds to Haiti. Hopefully some of their energy and work will improve the accountability of the international aid system. You can access the press release below...