Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Some good news for Haiti! Hurricane season is over! Today was officially the last day of hurricane season. Even though Haiti suffered some damage from Hurricane Tomas it was still a quiet hurricane season; which was good because the country is dealing with a lot this year.

(Jamaica Observer) - CMC

20 deaths recorded in the Caribbean

MIAMI, USA — The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends today with the Caribbean recording nearly 20 deaths from storms during the six-month period that the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) described as one of the busiest on record since the satellite era began.

Most of the deaths in the Caribbean were recorded in St Lucia, Jamaica and Haiti and were caused by Hurricane Tomas and Tropical Storm Nicole during the later part of the hurricane season.

In addition, these storms caused millions of dollars in damage both St Lucia and Jamaica putting their combined total at over one billion (US) dollars.

The NOAA said that there 19 named storms in 2010, the same as in the years 1887 and 1985. It said of the 19 storms, the third highest on record, 12 became hurricanes with five of them reaching Category Three or higher status.

“Large-scale climate features strongly influenced this year’s hurricane activity, as they often do. This year, record warm Atlantic waters, combined with the favourable winds coming off Africa and weak wind shear aided by La Niña energised developing storms. The 2010 season continues the string of active hurricane seasons that began in 1995,” the NOAA said in a statement.

NOAA said that its forecasters had accurately predicted that the Atlantic hurricane season would have been one of the most active on record and according to Dr Jack Hayes, the director of NOAA’s National Weather Service “though fortunately most storms avoided the US, you could say the season was a gentle giant”.

However, for the Caribbean and other areas, Hurricane Tomas brought heavy rain to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and several storms, including Alex, battered eastern Mexico and Central America with heavy rain, mudslides and deadly flooding.

“Though La Niña helped to enhance the Atlantic hurricane season, it also suppressed storms from forming and strengthening in the eastern North Pacific. Of that region’s seven named storms this year, three grew into hurricanes and two of those became major hurricanes,” the NOAA said.


(Reuters) - By Pascal Fletcher

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Haiti's elections at the weekend were "fairly good" and were not derailed by the call for annulment made by a group of presidential candidates, two of whom later recanted, the top United Nations official in the country said on Tuesday.

"I'm more confident right now than I was two days ago," Edmond Mulet, the head of the U.N. mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) told Reuters in his office near Port-au-Prince airport.

During voting on Sunday, 12 of the 18 presidential candidates, including several known frontrunners, shocked the U.N. and international observers by jointly denouncing "massive fraud" and calling for the cancellation of the polls.

The call, made amid protests in the capital against voting problems, created a credibility problem for the troubled elections in Haiti, which is in the grip of a deadly cholera epidemic and recovering from a devastating January 12 earthquake.

This surprise move by a majority of candidates seemed to threaten the international community's hopes that the elections, which may well go to a second round in January, could produce a stable, legitimate new government to lead the poor Caribbean nation's recovery from the earthquake.

But in 24 hours, and facing heavy diplomatic pressure as their supporters took to the streets, Michel Martelly and Mirlande Manigat, both election frontrunners in the group of candidates rejecting the vote, changed their position and said they wanted the process to go ahead and counting to proceed.

"I think that the concerns and problems we were facing last Sunday are behind us and we'll see what will happen in the next days," Mulet said, adding he believed the situation had "stabilized" after the street protests and fears of violence.

U.N. peacekeepers were still escorting ballot papers and voting tallies in from around the country, an operation that would be completed late on Wednesday, Mulet said. Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) was due to announce preliminary official results on December 7.

Mulet said that from a logistical and security point of view, the contribution of the more than 12,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force in the country had been effective.

Despite protests and some clashes, there had been far less violence than initially feared.

"We had two or three people killed and some frictions and problems but if you compare this to previous elections in Haiti, or even if you compare this to other elections in the region, I would say that this was a fairly good election in many ways," Mulet said.

But he added: "It's not finished, it's not completed, it's ongoing"

Manigat, a 70-year-old opposition matriarch and former First Lady, "Sweet Micky" Martelly, a popular musician and star of Haiti's Kompa dance rhythms, and government technocrat Jude Celestin, a protégé of outgoing President Rene Preval, had led the field of the 18 presidential candidates, according to opinion polls.

The multiple contenders increased the likelihood of the contest going to a deciding run-off, provisionally on January 16.

Port-au-Prince was generally calm on Tuesday and blue-helmeted U.N. peacekeepers patrolled the streets of the earthquake-ravaged capital, still littered with electoral posters, and, in some areas, unused ballot papers.

On Sunday, voting delays and problems and frustration among voters unable to find the polling stations where they were registered, boiled over into street protests, in which several thousand people took part. One voting center was trashed.

An elections observer mission from the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community reported on Monday that while "irregularities", some of them serious, were detected, these did not necessarily invalidate the elections.

The visible confusion, coupled with the initially united denunciation of fraud and call for annulment by the majority of candidates, raised the possibility of the polls failing, which could plunge the volatile country into political crisis.

Some analysts feared skepticism among Haitians over the elections, and perception that the international community might back a flawed vote, could still threaten the credibility of the process and of the new government it produced.

"It's hard to see that this will be a formula for stability if there are lots of questions and doubts ... this is not a very comforting election," Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue told Reuters.

Mulet said he had personally spoken to the candidates, including Manigat and Martelly, who had denounced fraud on Sunday and had sought the annulment of the elections.

He told them that by discrediting the voting process they could be affecting their own chances of winning.

"I think that in the 3,000 years of history of democracy, it's probably the first time that we see candidates who could be among the winners claim there was fraud and ask for the cancellation of the elections," Mulet said.

"I think what we need now in Haiti is patience," he added.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva and Allyn Gaestel; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)


(Miami Herald) - By Jacqueline Charles and Trenton Daniel

Musician Michel `Sweet Micky' Martelly and former first lady Mirlande Manigat believe they may have emerged as the top contenders in the race.

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- The show of solidarity among opposition candidates who denounced Sunday's presidential and legislative elections in Haiti began to unravel Monday, underscoring the chaos that has mired the election process.

The group of 12 presidential candidates who alleged ``massive fraud'' and called for the elections to be voided shrank to 10 after musician Michel ``Sweet Micky'' Martelly and former first lady Mirlande Manigat decided that they were likely headed to a runoff. Martelly and Manigat now say that all votes should be counted.

Meanwhile, Haiti-born Hip Hop artist Wyclef Jean called for an independent investigation into the allegations and monitoring of the vote count, saying he feared violence could erupt in the next 24 hours.

``The population is stating they are tired. They are tired of the old regime and they are not going to let the system steal their vote,'' Jean said. ``I do not want this country to go up in flames.''

On Monday, Haitians continued protest in several cities, including Port-au-Prince, Gonaives, St. Marc and Jacmel. Rocks and bottles were thrown, tear gas was used to disperse crowds and police attempted to extinguish flaming tires serving as barricades.

``The people want change. They are tired of dying of hunger,'' said Martelly, speaking at a Petionville hotel an hour after Jean. ``They have made their choice. The [Provisional Electoral Council] respect the choice of the population.''

On Sunday, Martelly sided with 11 other candidates in calling for the vote to be canceled and a transitional government to be put in place to organize new elections.

Manigat said she was not changing her position but being patient.

``There are rumors in the streets that I will be in a runoff with either Jude Célestin or Martelly,'' Manigat told The Miami Herald at her home. But she also added that there is talk that Célestin, President Rene Preval's pick, may not even make it. "We have to wait to see what the results give,'' she said.

The first to call for a cancellation of the vote, Manigat said she only appeared on the podium in a show of solidarity against what she now calls an ``operation'' aimed at either stealing the elections or destroying them.

``Those people hate me,'' she said of the group of 12. ``They would coalesce against me.''

But she said even as radio reports indicate that she and Martelly were the top two vote getters at some of the 11,181 polling sites, she doesn't yet have any concrete evidence to ``change my opinion.''

Both Manigat and Martelly's move immediately triggered criticism from opponents who felt they had been duped into joining Martelly amid allegations that supporters of President René Préval were trying to steal the vote in favor of his hand-picked successor, Célestin.

``These people are flip-flopping back and forth,'' presidential candidate Charles-Henri Baker said of Martelly and Manigat. ``It either has a lot of fraud in it or it doesn't. A lot of people were not able to vote, and we asked for the elections to be annulled. And today you are saying something else? You've just lost credibility.''

Baker and the nine other remaining opposition candidates held firm to their position Monday that there was ``massive fraud'' and the elections should be voided. Joining them were also a number of legislative candidates from the opposition.

Baker said his lawyers have provided documented proof of fraud at a handful of voting centers in the capital and he's gathering more evidence from his 15,000 monitors.

In one case, he said, a lawyer for his Respè political party had a man arrested at a polling site after he was seen stuffing ballots in favor of Célestin.

``The guy is still in jail. We had people who could not vote, people blocked from voting and monitors who couldn't get in,'' Baker said. ``If the Haitian people do not go out in the streets, I'd be wrong.''

About 1,500 protesters gathered in St. Marc, while in Gonaives, hundreds gathered to protest the CEP's decision to move ahead with election results despite the fraud allegations. Led by Sen. Youri Latortue, a powerful lawmaker who is supporting Manigat, the protesters marched through the city's dusty streets.

``We voted without incident yesterday and look what's happening,'' said Charline Wilson, 26. ``We want Mirlande Manigat. We're voting for an alternative.''

As protesters walked through the streets, some snatched tires and set them aflame at major intersections. Young men threw rocks -- a few hurling them over the United Nations base.

Latortue told The Herald he believes the fraud was widespread and denied allegations that he also orchestrated fraud at polling stations in the city to help Manigat.

``The CEP showed bad organization when a citizen couldn't find a place to vote,'' he said.

The U.S. and others continued to appeal for calm and dialogue.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, expected to become chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress is likely to ``allow the Haitian electoral constitutional process to run its course.''

The Organization of American States acknowledges problems with the vote but stopped short of calling for the elections to be invalidated.

Albert Ramdin, the OAS assistant secretary general, said Haiti could not afford a meltdown.
``It's a very bad signal to the international community who is willing to help and not just from the opposition, but from the candidates of the ruling party,'' he said.

McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Lesley Clark contributed to this report.


(Miami Herald) - By Jacqueline Charles and Trenton Daniel

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- As the final vote tally from 11,000-plus polling stations continue to trickle into a vote tabulation center in the quake-battered capital, an official says there are ways to detect fraud.

``We always do,'' Alain Gauthier, a technical advisor to the center, said.

But whether the falsified reports -- a common trick is an extra ``1'' added to the final number, which usually is more than the registered voters for a particular polling station -- would be enough to deem the elections invalid remains an exercise in progress.

As of late Monday, only 50 percent of the final reports from polling stations in the West department, which includes Port-au-Prince, were at the voting tabulation centers. Meanwhile, political camps continued doing their own numbers crunching. The Organization of American states, which led an international electoral observation mission team here along with the Caribbean community, acknowledges there were irregularities but not enough the head of its mission said to ``invalidate'' Sunday's presidential and legislative elections.

Still at least 10 presidential candidates and opposition leaders are calling for the vote to be canceled.

It has called on opposition presidential candidates to work through the electoral commission.

Candidates have said their lawyers have begun sending documentation to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), and they are gathering information from their monitors who were supposed to be observing the vote inside the 11,181 polling stations.

A common complaint from all candidates, including those running on President René Préval's INITE (UNITY) platform, is that monitors were not allowed into polling stations and therefore could not protect their candidates' interests. Another is that many voters could not find their names on the electoral lists, and unless they had access to the Internet couldn't find out where to go vote because phone numbers provided by the CEP did not work.

``Once you have problems with the electoral lists you have problems throughout the entire system,'' said Jean-Claude Bajeux, an democracy activist who also struggled to find out where he was supposed to vote on Sunday.

But there were also more blatant allegations of voter intimidation in the southeast, burned ballots in the north and places where the vote just couldn't take place.

The CEP has said only 3.56 percent or 56 out of 1,500 voting centers around had problems. They were either set ablaze or shut down in the middle of the vote, armed thugs came in to intimidate voters or ballots were found to be pre-stuffed, or destroyed in the middle of voting.

``I don't call it fraud. Fraud is when you do something and you are trying to hide what you are doing,'' former first lady and presidential contender Mirlande Manigat said in an interview at her home. ``This was blatant. It was an operation.''

Manigat was the first among a dozen candidates asking for the vote to be canceled, accusing Préval and his coalition of trying to steal the election to benefit his pick, Célestin, the former head of the government road-building agency. She is still maintaining her position, she said, though she now wants the votes to be counted. Michel Martelly, a popular singer known as Sweet Micky, is also calling for the votes to be counted -- a switch from Sunday when he supported the call for cancellation.

``We have to wait to see what the results give,'' said Manigat who said there are rumors circulating that not only will she be in a runoff but her competitor may not even be Célestin but Michel Martelly, a popular musician known as Sweet Micky.

``Will they eliminate Jude Célestin, or would he naturally not make it?''

But supporters of Célestin, who has remained quiet throughout the crisis but has asked supporters to not take the streets, believe he will emerge a winner.

On Monday, in the northwest city of Gonaives, a group of INITE supporters showed up at polling sites to jot down election results taped to the precinct walls. They did so under the order of the local INITE coordinator to verify the results against the CEP's, a monitor said.

``That's in case we have a problem,'' Gaudhy Desir, 25, said.

Under electoral rules, a copy of the final election results for each polling station is left at the voting centers, and the top two vote getters in each race also receive a copy of the final report.

As a result the presidential camps have been doing their own numbers crunching.

Gauthier, the advisor at the voting tabulation center in Port-au-Prince, said while about 1,000 vote reports are being treated each hour, the results won't even get an official analysis before Dec. 6. The provisional results, are expected to be released the following day.

For now, the reports are carefully being inspected for tampering and irregularities by both workers and electoral council lawyers.


(Mountain Xpress) - By Lorin Mallorie

As an American, I’ve experienced heated emotions during election time.

But, I have never experienced fear. Certainly not fear.

This week, however, Port-au-Prince did — as I have never seen. All the gas stations closed at 8 p.m. the night before Election Day, and a citywide vehicle ban remained in effect until the day after, Monday morning.

All for fear of tire- and building-burning, drive-by shootings, ballot tampering and general electoral corruption.

All of which happened, nonetheless, and I found myself once again fleeing Petionville, just ahead of angry protestors.

Protests broke out just hours into voting, with accusations of ballot tampering by the current government and their favored candidate, Jude Celestine and his party.

Deceased earthquake victims remained on registration lists, and voters who had lost their voter cards in the quake were not permitted to vote, despite being listed.

Twelve of the 18 presidential candidates renounced the elections as corrupt, requesting their annulment (Jude Celestine was not one of them), and accused the current government of tampering with the vote to favor Celestine.

Fifty-six polling stations reported corruption. The BBC reported that Mark Weisbrot — co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, which sent observers to Haiti’s election — called it “a farce.”

In Haiti, of this there is no doubt.

Despite all this, Haiti’s electoral council and current government have held that Sunday’s votes will stand. However, a run-off election will be held between the top two presidential candidates if no one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

As we await the results, the country is “hot.” If Celestine is proclaimed victor, it will surely explode.

People are afraid. Genuinely afraid – of each other.

The short democratic history of Haiti is marred with violence, fraud, government overthrows and often-unwelcome international intervention. This year, just having elections so quickly after the earthquake caused uproar from those living under tarps, the jobless and the sick — who are in no condition to follow politics.

People are afraid because “the mass” is angry.

All month, it’s seemed, “the mass” — the boiling underbelly of the social structure — has threatened to rise at any moment, likely creating a schism by the majority of the country’s poorest.

The days wear on, the “etrangers” (foreigners) remain, and nothing changes. The cholera creeps in – no work, no home, no hope. For most, nothing changes.

It’s humiliating, dehumanizing and quite honestly, sickening to witness.

“The mass.” There is no other name for it when the people of Haiti come together: One great, breathing body of struggle, resistance and strength.

At an election rally Thursday for Jude Celestine, “the mass” came to bear witness. The previous weeks were marked with cholera protests and election shootings, yet Carrefour Airport road was absolutely alive with the crowd.

“Are you American?” said the guy next to me in English, as I filmed from atop a cement barricade.


“Aren’t you scared?”

Every few minutes someone would start running, a break in the crowd and tens of others would follow. There was an edge of fear and excitement, like at any moment a shot could sound and panic would envelop the streets.

But as the live music came to a close and Celestine finally spoke, his support seemed lacking. People left, or just watched without response — far less than half the crowd seemed to rally at his words.

It’s inconceivable that the people of Haiti will accept Jude Celestine as democratically elected.

But whoever it is, the next president will need a lot more than the most votes to run this broken nation.

As we wait for news of the victor, perhaps more than ever in this moment in Haiti, only tomorrow knows what it will bring.



Haiti is facing a "political crisis" after Sunday's election that could hurt efforts to control the spreading cholera epidemic, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Monday.

The vote was marred by reports of fraud and calls for new balloting.

Ban said worsening security could hurt efforts to fight the cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 1,600 people and infected 50,000 since it began in October.

Haiti must solve its polical crisis so it can fight an ongoing cholera epidemic, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says.

"The secretary general looks forward to a solution to the political crisis in the country … since any deterioration in the security situation will have an immediate impact on the efforts to contain the ongoing cholera epidemic," Ban said in a statement.

In the UN's worst-case scenario, 400,000 people could become ill, with half the cases in the next three months.

Meanwhile, the country remained tense on Monday even though the current government insisted the election was fair.

The chaotic way in which Sunday's voting unfolded has united most of the top presidential candidates against current President René Préval's preferred successor — Jude Celestin, head of a state-run construction company and beneficiary of a well-financed campaign.

Nicole Phillips, an attorney with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, experienced voters' frustration first-hand.

She said she witnessed a lot of ballot-box stuffing and the intimidation of voters, who were dissuaded from casting their ballots. Others voted many, many times for a single candidate.

Certain opposition candidates' ballots were removed from ballot boxes and thrown into sewage canals. Many people waited four or five hours to cast their vote only to be turned away because their names were not on the electors list.

"We saw countless individuals at many of the polling stations looking for their names on the electoral list and not seeing them and going to three, four, five electoral places and not seeing their names anywhere on the lists," Phillips told CBC News in an interview Monday.

"Haitians were very, very frustrated, and I heard a lot of people saying, 'I must vote' or 'I have to vote today; otherwise, I'm going to take it to the streets'."

The tension did spill over to Monday, which saw several, mostly peaceful, demonstrations take place in Port-au-Prince, as well as outside the capital.

Twelve of the 18 presidential candidates — including nearly every major contender — gathered in a hotel ballroom to denounce Preval and call for a new election.

P.O.V.: Should Haiti's election be annulled? Take our survey.

Others don't believe a new vote is necessary but are calling for at least an investigation into the election that did take place. Many international monitors have said it's clear there were serious irregularities in Sunday's vote and that perhaps a new election should be held.

The irregularities "make these elections, unfortunately, not up to muster by international law and Haitian electoral law," Phillips said.

She said Canada, which spent $6 million funding the elections, has to take some blame for the outcome as it released the funding that enabled organizers to go ahead with the vote fully knowing there were flaws in the process. Phillips said Canada was likely under pressure from the international community to proceed with the vote.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said in a statement that, "Canada is very concerned by incidents of violence, and reported irregularities in the electoral process."

"Canada urges the government of Haiti to exhibit a steadfast commitment to democratic principles, including respect for the integrity of the electoral process," Cannon said. "It is critical that election irregularities be addressed in a timely, transparent and thorough manner."

The U.S. had roughly 1,000 observers on the ground in Haiti, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley said final assessments from the Organization of American States and the joint electoral observer mission sent by Caricom, the regional body representing 15 Caribbean states, are expected Monday afternoon.

"This is an election that will determine the government that will, you know, lead the reconstruction of Haiti," Crowley said. "It's vitally important that this process produce a government that the Haitian people can support and can lead them to a brighter future."

At a press conference in Port-au-Prince on Monday, U.S.-Haitian singer Wyclef Jean, whose attempted run for the Haitian presidency was denied because he did not meet the residency requirement, said the next 24 hours are crucial.

"In 24 hours, if a decision is not made and we procrastinate, the country will rise to a level of violence we have never seen before," Jean said.

Election results are expected to be announced Dec. 7 although run-off votes will likely have to be held for presidential race and nearly all Senate and parliamentary races.

Jean urged that the vote count be accelerated and that an independent body other than the United Nations — blamed by some Haitians for the country's ongoing cholera epidemic — oversee it.

Jean said he was making his comments as an individual citizen and not as a supporter of any one candidate. He said he did cast a ballot in Sunday's vote, with some difficulty after being turned away at one polling station, and will reveal who he voted for once the new president is named.

Haiti's electoral council held a news conference to say there had been irregularities at only 56 of nearly 1,500 voting centres but did not explain how it arrived at that figure.

The chaotic election is just the latest of Haiti's woes, which include a catastrophic earthquake last January; one of the world's poorest economies; storms; a deadly cholera epidemic; and unrest over the actions of UN peacekeepers.

With so much anger and frustration acting as fuel, observers say that a declaration of victory by Celestin could be enough to plunge the country into full-on political turmoil.


(thebahamasweekly.com) - By OAS

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, said, regarding the presidential and legislative elections in Haiti that took place Sunday, that “the OAS notes the efforts of the Haitian authorities, supported by various members of the international community, in holding presidential and legislative elections on November 28, 2010." Secretary General Insulza added that “these efforts are more remarkable if we consider that the elections took place under difficult conditions that further hindered the process in a country with significant weaknesses, and one that recently suffered a devastating earthquake and a similarly painful epidemic.

”The head of the hemispheric Organization recalled that “the OAS joined forces with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in mounting a long-term electoral observation mission, and this joint electoral observation mission (JEOM), led by CARICOM’s Assistant Secretary General for Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson, has been in Haiti since August 2010 and has been able to observe several facets/phases of that country’s electoral process, leading up to Sunday’s vote."

In this context, the OAS Secretary General called “for peace and calm during the coming days and beyond," and said, “I have taken careful note of the initial report that noted difficulties and challenges on election day and I look forward to receiving the full report by the Chief of the JEOM, to be presented to the Permanent Council."

The JEOM will continue to monitor the remaining phases of the electoral process.For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.


(Washington Post) - By Nick Miroff

PORT-AU-PRINCE - The streets of Haiti's capital were mostly quiet Monday, as the international observers who monitored Sunday's tumultuous elections called for the vote-counting to continue and results to be respected, saying they had witnessed irregularities but not the "massive fraud" alleged by most of the country's presidential candidates.

Those findings challenged a statement made Sunday - before the voting had even concluded - by 12 of the 19 presidential candidates that called for the election to be invalidated. They said the government of outgoing President Rene Preval had rigged the process to install his protege, Jude Celestin.

Ambassador Colin Granderson, the head of a joint monitoring team from the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community, said Monday that the candidates' statement was "precipitous, hasty and regrettable."

Granderson said that the international group, which had 120 observers stationed around the country, reported multiple problems at the polls but that they weren't extensive enough to warrant a complete annulment of the vote.

"We're aware of the perceptions that things went badly, but we've looked very carefully at what took place in voting centers and tried to be as objective as we could," he said. Granderson added that his teams found the voting process disrupted at only 4 percent of the polling stations.

Jon Piechowski, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, urged the country's political parties to remain calm.

"It's important to underscore that the assessment given by Ambassador Granderson is part of a process," he said. "We are consulting with our partners in the international community to better understand the details of what the observers saw."

The observer findings set up a new potential conflict pitting Haiti's unpredictable political personalities against international groups trying to help the shattered nation establish a legitimate government capable of managing billions in still-undelivered reconstruction funds.

Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council, which organized the election with $14 million in U.S. support, said the country had successfully completed the process at the vast majority of its voting centers. Officials acknowledged "some problems" and said they would be investigated.

The council's assessment didn't fit with scenes observed Sunday at multiple polling centers, where many Haitians couldn't find their names on government voter rolls and were turned away. Other precincts reported scenes of violence and voter intimidation, as crowds of young men ransacked ballot boxes at several locations.

Still, the problems seemed to some observers more like symptoms of a country ravaged by an earthquake and cholera trying to conduct an election under difficult circumstances, rather than a nefarious government plot.

Final tallies aren't expected until Dec. 7 at the earliest, but it's possible, if not likely, that at least one of the two leading voter-getters - who would face each other in a Jan. 16 runoff - is among those who called for the results to be tossed out, including presumed front-runner and former first lady Mirlande Manigat.

Would candidates reject those results, even if they finish in the top two slots?

A day after leading street protests and calling for the vote to be annulled, pop star-turned-politician Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly seemed to signal he would accept results if they came out in his favor. "I want everyone to respect the vote of the people," he said, while also calling for Preval and candidate Celestin to "leave the country."

The already chaotic situation took a turn toward the absurd Monday morning when Haitian rap star Wyclef Jean summoned reporters to a hotel ballroom and issued a rambling statement calling for an unspecified "international investigation" of what occurred Sunday. He warned that the country could "go up in flames" if that didn't occur in 24 hours.

Jean had attempted to run for president himself, but was ruled ineligible because he didn't meet residency requirements and has lived most of his life in the United States.


(Miami Herald) - By Jacqueline Charles

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Even as the international community continues to appeal for calm, Haitians gathered in the streets of Gonaives and elsewhere Monday to protest a decision to move ahead with election results despite allegations of voter fraud.

Thousands took to the streets to rally against what they believed was widespread wrongdoing in the day's presidential race, including pre-stuffed ballots and thousands missing from voter rolls.

Voting bureaus were trashed and set on fire, international elections monitors withdrew in the middle of the voting, and some precincts closed due to sporadic violence.

At least a dozen of the 19 presidential candidates on the ballot have asked for the results to be voided, and a transitional government be charged with organizing new elections. They are accusing President René Préval and his INITE political party of ``massive fraud'' to advance his chosen presidential successor, Jude Célestin, former head of the government road building agency.

``It's a very bad signal to the international community who is willing to help and not just from the opposition, but from the candidates of the ruling party,'' Albert Ramdin, the assistant secretary general of the Organization of American States, said of Haiti's current crisis.

Ramdin, who is in Port-au-Prince, said Haiti cannot afford a violent meltdown.

``Violence will not solve Haiti's problems. Divisions will not solve Haiti's problems. What Haiti needs is an understanding from all of the minds that they need to work together and the only way to do that is with proper dialogue,'' he said.

The OAS and Caribbean Community led an international electoral observer mission. He said the international community knows things went wrong.

``We are not saying that was not the case. I strongly condemn the case of the death. I strongly condemn political leaders who are intimidating their supporters to become violent. Those things should not happen. The preparations should have been much more timely,'' Ramdin said.

``It's a very bad signal to the international community who is willing to help and not just from the opposition, but from the candidates of the ruling party.''

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking Florida Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also expressed her regret regarding the allegations of irregularities the elections and called for ``immediate action to correct the situation. ''

``They must be investigated immediately and steps taken to correct this wrong perpetrated against the democratic aspirations of the Haitian people,'' she said.

She too also called for calm going forward.

``Violence must be avoided,'' she said. ``All parties and officials must work together to ensure that all necessary steps are taken so that the Haitian people can be confident in a fair and accurate result which reflects their will.

On Sunday night the president of the Provisional Electoral Council Gaillot Dorsinvil said the day was realized and ``successful.''

The CEP said only 3.56 percent or 56 of the 1,500 voting centers had problems and that the results would, for now, be recognized.

Others disagreed.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. called on the elections to be rejected by the international community.

``The international community should reject these elections and affirm support for democratic institutions in Haiti,'' Mark Weisbrot, co-director of The Center for Economic and Policy Research said. ``Otherwise, Haiti could be left with a government that is widely seen as illegitimate.''

Weisbrot called the elections a ``farce from start to finish.''

He noted that Fanmi Lavalas, the political party founded by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was not allowed to participate and that the CEP had been plagued by credibility issues throughout the process.

In Haiti, as protesters walked through the streets, some snatched tires and set them aflame at major intersections. Young men threw rocks - a few hurling them over the base for the United Nations.

Meanwhile, there were reports that 1,500 protesters gathered in Saint Marc, a seaport between Gonaives and Port-au-Prince.

Herald Staff Writer Trenton Daniel contributed to this report.

Monday, November 29, 2010

photos - elections - part 1

The children enjoyed seeing the "ra-ra bands" of candidates passing by the house. One of these campaign manifestations was for Jean-Henry Ceant, a candidate for president. Manu got one of his fliers and posed proudly with it!

A friend of one of the guys came to the house with a t-shirt for the Inite candidate, Jude Celestin. His campaign budget had deep pockets! He used airplanes with banners and helicopter to drop leaflets to people below. He also advertised heavily on the radio stations. He is the leader of the Inite party that the president Rene Preval formed.

Wilson Jeudy is the mayor of Delmas. On of the mayors' bureaus is right here on Delmas 31. He ran for president in the elections.

Michel Martelly, known by his entertainer name as "Sweet Mickey" had the support of the youth and a lot of other people too! He had a large following at the polls!

Posters of candidates are everywhere around the city. The Fraternite (translated as brotherhood) statue at Gerard Bataille on Delmas 33 was plastered with posters of different candidates. It wasn't a "brotherly" or an election of fraternity come election day! You'll see why. I took lots of photos on election day in our running around the city and will publish them in groups of 30. Unfortunately lots of events happened on election day and the election results may be tarnished because of the events that happened on Sunday November 28th.

photos - elections - part 2

Yves Cristalin is the leader of the Lavni political party. One day his representatives came through the neighborhood plastering posters everywhere. Several were plastered onto our wall. I knew it was best to wait until the elections are over before repairing the street side of our front wall!

Yves Cristalin has also what I think is the best poster of all the candidates. His campaign slogan was " Kris can; let's reconstruct Haiti; meet under the flag of "papa" Dessaline"

The outside of Lavni's party headquarters had several painted designs. The artist made some neat designs. Lavni headquarters is located on Delmas 31.

Another of the paintings on the wall says "together, together, let's lift high the flag of our country".

This is a scary looking picture. The man is screaming "Lavni is for everybody with Kristalen"

photos - elections - part 3

The "Neg Mawon" is a national symbol for the freedom fighters who were slaves. Unfortunately somebody came by and spray painted graffiti on the mural. "Aba demon" means "down with the demon". I don't know if this was done by someone who doesn't like Yves Cristalin. Maybe it was meant for the scary looking picture on the mural of the gate a few photos back!

This portrait represents the heroes of Independance; when Haiti finally became free from slavery to the plantation owners.

These portraits are copies of statues located on the Champ Mars downtown.

The last mural picture I took at Lavni headquarters was the Haitian emblem and beside that the symbol for the handicapped. Pray that the future holds full inclusion into Haitian society.

Saturday was the last opportunity for people to pick up their electoral id cards at the mayor's office on Delmas 31. On Friday there was a lot of pushing and shoving on the grounds as people wanted to get to the front of the line. Police were called and they stayed until things were under control. With Saturday being the last day the gates were closed and nobody was getting in! People passed in their id receipt to an attendant inside and he in turn handed it to someone else to search for the voting card. Several hundred people were there that day as were there every day for the last couple of weeks. Everyone wanted their card.

photos - elections - part 4

People waited for hours with the hopes of getting a voters' id card.

A man inside the compound with a megaphone announced names of people calling them to come forward to retrieve their card.

One banner that we saw hanging over one of the streets in Port-au-Prince translated into english is "CNO wants an election without force, without corruption" Sadly, the hopes of this banner didn't occur on election day. Notice the Canadian and European symbol in the bottom right corner. The international governments were hoping too for a good election day. The only people who were happy with election day were those who were up to "no-good".

The "Election 2010 on the Haitian flag poster was attached to the screen fence in front of the Palais Nationale. The election was an important one. The rebuilding process will occur under the newly elected president. Much is at stake and much damage needs to be repaired before development and improvement for the lives of the haitian people can take place. The election day ended as a "broken" electoral process" also.

Sunday morning we visited several voting bureaus throughout the city. Traffic was light, so it was easy to drive around and no motorcycles were allowed on the street. The first voting bureau we visited was near us on the hill of Delmas 31. People were voting but there were also people who had a voting card and who couldn't vote; either they were at the wrong polling station and didn't know which one to go to or that their names didn't appear on the voting list at the polling station. This situation happened to many people; probably thousands of people who wanted to vote couldn't. There were several angry young guys who were complaining at the gate while we were at the polling station.

photos - elections - part 5

Police showed up ready to handle problems at the site. The young men left but frustrated voters were everywhere. I felt sorry for the haitian people who wanted to vote and couldn't. They wanted to vote for change.

We went near the CEP (Conseil Electorale Provisoire) located on main Delmas (near Delmas 43). All things were quiet there early in the morning!

A few police and UN soldiers were in place to keep an eye on things.

We drove up to Petionville and stopped at the public park called Place Pierre. There were 3 polling stations set up in building around the ring of the park. The park itself has been a refuge camp since the earthquake. One of the polling stations was at the "Freres de l'Instruction Chretienne" (Brothers of Christian Instruction) school. Things were quiet at this location.

A large polling station was set up at the Lycee de Petionville. This large building was the voting station for a lot of people and there were lineups to vote! It was a good thing to see a busy voting station!

photos - elections - part 6

The people were met. This young guy wanted his picture taken with the guys Bertrand, Amos and Claudin. You might notice that this young guy is holding a "joint" (marijuana cigarette). This is what happens to you when you smoke "wacky tobaccy!" There were lots of police, UN, international observers and what should have been there was the DEA!

The Lycee area had lots of people!

People were shouting support for their favorite candidate. They were also shouting that they couldn't vote because their names weren't on the voting list!

The guy with the black t-shirt has "Ann al vote" on the back of it. Translated into english it is "Lets go vote!" Lot of people sure tried that day.... but for some they didn't end up voting.

People searched in vain to see if their name was included on the voting lists posted outside on the front wall of the Lycee. You can see a lot of people were looking for their names! I took lots of photos of the day's events. I'll post them in groups of 30 every couple of days. Pray for all the troubles here in Haiti.


(Epoch Times) - By Jack Phillips

The cholera outbreak death toll in Haiti has increased to 1,721 as the epidemic has become more dire, according to a report by AFP on Monday.

The outbreak has infected nearly 76,000 while nearly 34,000 have been hospitalized since mid-October, the report notes.

Artibonite has been the hardest-hit region in the earthquake-devastated island nation, where 750 people have died so far. Another 162 have died in the capital of Port-au-Prince, AFP reported.

Six cases have been confirmed in the Dominican Republic and another lone case has been confirmed in Miami.

"The medical specialists all say that this cholera epidemic will continue through months and maybe a year at least, that we will see literally hundreds of thousands of cases," U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Haiti Nigel Fisher told Reuters.

Fisher added that the disease may infect as many as 200,000 people within a few months.

As for the origin of the epidemic, it probably came from outside the country, cholera specialist Professor Renaud Piarroux told AFP.

"It started in the center of the country, not by the sea, nor in the refugee camps. The epidemic can't be of local origin. That's to say, it was imported," he told the news agency.

In the past two weeks there have been violent protests in parts of Haiti aimed at U.N. peacekeepers whom locals blame bringing cholera into the country.

The country conducted national elections on Sunday despite calls to postpone it due to the outbreak. The election should be halted due to the “epidemic that threatens the lives of all Haitians,” four presidential candidates said in a statement.


Source: Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); World Health Organization (WHO)
Date: 27 Nov 2010

Full_Report (pdf* format - 288.4 Kbytes)


As the election day approaches ( Sunday, November 28) , the health sector is working with a degree of uncertainty. Several health sector organizations were unable to send participants to the Health Cluster meeting on 25 November, because demonstrations limited movement in the capital, Port-au-Prince. More importantly, access is still difficult in Cap Haitien, although PAHO/WHO managed to resupply health partners with one ton of materials on Friday.

Haiti President René Préval chaired both Health Cluster meetings this week. He indicated he will play an active role in the cluster, coordinating the mechanism for the foreseeable future.

Working closely with PAHO/WHO, OCHA has assembled a list of the infrastructure, institutional and personnel needs to respond to the epidemic. The estimates were based on PAHO/WHO and CDC calculations that as many as 400,000 people could become ill, with half of the cases occurring in the first three months. These figures were shared with the government, which accepted the assessment. This scenario, however, can be avoided if all sectors of society and health partners are able to step up their actions.

Full_Report (pdf* format - 288.4 Kbytes)

** the downloaded detailed full report text follows below **

The Ministère de la Sante Publique et de la Population (MSPP) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) coordinate the Health Cluster.

MSPP Cluster Contacts: Dr. Claude Surena; Dr. Jean Hugues Henrys

PAHO/WHO Contacts: Dr. Dana van Alphen, Mr. Sam Vigersky, Saran Koly

Health Cluster partners are asked to contribute to this bulletin with information on needs and activities as well as corrections to content, by emailing: haiclsan@paho.org (subject heading: Health Cluster Bulletin).

For useful information on meetings, guidelines, and health facility locations, visit:


As the election day approaches ( Sunday,November 28) , the health sector is working with a degree of uncertainty. Several health sector organizations were unable to send participants to the Health Cluster meeting on 25 November, because demonstrations limited movement inthe capital, Port-au-Prince. More importantly, access is still difficult in Cap Haitien, although PAHO/WHO managed to resupply health partners with one ton of materials on Friday.

Haiti President René Préval chaired both Health Cluster meetings this week. He indicated he will play an active role in the cluster,coordinating the mechanism for the foreseeable future.

Working closely with PAHO/WHO, OCHA has assembled a list of the infrastructure, institutional and personnel needs to respond to the epidemic. The estimates were based on PAHO/WHO and CDC calculations that as many as 400,000 people could become ill, with half of the cases occurring in the first three months. These figures were shared with the government, which accepted the assessment. This scenario, however, can be avoided if all sectors of society and health partners are able to step up their actions.

Partners who are not part of the Health Cluster continue to play an important role. The Cuban Cooperation has reported that its briagdes are active in all 10 departments, with 400 doctors responding to the cholera crisis.


The estimates developed by PAHO/WHO reflect current information. They may change with the particular situation ina region and as the epidemic evolves.The government will provide their official revision of the figures in the next few days. The calculation for the current needs are as follows:

- There are now 40 CTCs, with an average bed capacity of 100 to 200 beds. The total needed is 50, so there is a gap of 10 CTCs over the next three months. (The government has indicated that for the West, the need will be for 29 CTC, requiring an increase of 13 from the current 16.)

- There are now 61 CTUs with an average bed capacity of 20 beds. The total needed is 100, so there is a gap of 39 CTUs over the next three months.

- Based on the population demography there is a gap for 15,000 oral rehydration centers.

- PAHO/WHO estimates that the following additional resources are needed, mainly to run CTCs and CTUs: 350 doctors; 2,000 nurses; 2,200 support staff and 30,000 local community health workers who will need to be trained.

CARE Haiti, in guiding their response, is putting the emphasis on the community level, especially on prevention, sensitization, and early case management. The organization is particularly active in the Northwest and Artibonite Departments; in 56 IDP camps in Carrefour and Léogâne (West Department); and with some activities in Grande Anse and Nippes.

In partnership with community leaders, the German Red Cross will increase health promotion,education and epidemiological surveillance in the following locations: Carrefour, Leogane, and the department of Grand Anse and department of Nippes. The organization will also work with Red Cross volunteers in setting up rehydration post in those areas.


A survey among 37 health partners (including the 24 NGOs in the health cluster) conducted by the Ministere de la Sante Publique et de la Population (MSPP) identified key challenges in the response. These included the management of dead bodies, the disposal of medical waste, receiving a site assignment to set up health centers, registration processes, and the lack of trained personnel.

During the Health Cluster meeting on November 25, President René Préval called the
relevant authorities at Customs and enlisted their support.


On Friday, November 26, 2010, the MSPP reported cumulative figures to November 24, 2010. A total of 72,017 cases have been seen with 1,648 deaths. The community deaths represent a smaller proportion of overall deaths than they did earlier in the epidemic. The case fatality rate is 2.3%.


North West

In the North West Department, CARE is using volunteers to conduct cholera sensitization activities. Over 80,000 people have been reached so far. CARE continues to provide support to health structures in four communes. It distributed water purification tablets, IV fluid, antibiotics, gloves and other supplies to health centers in Bassin Bleu, Saint-Louis du Nord, Chansolme and Anse-à-Foleur.


Reports of an increase in cases and deaths in Le Borgne prompted investigation by PAHO/WHO.

An organization active in the area confirmed that there was a need for additional personnel as the local resources were already overstretched. PAHO/WHO contacted the Material, Mangement Relief Corps who headed to the area with four health personnel and 1 ton of supplies provided by PROMESS. The personnel and supplies reached Le Borgne by helicopter on Friday.

North East

In the North East, health partners are putting in place structures to ensure the situation does not escalate, or that there are contingencies in place if it does. There is a concentration of cases in Ouinaminthe. MERLIN UK will run the CTC in Ouanaminthe and the CTU in Fort Liberte. Four CTUs have already been established. PAHO/WHO has ensured the supply of materials. UNICEF will respond to a request to check the quality of the water supply.

In Fort Liberte, the cluster coordinator met with Dr Jean Denis Pierre, Director of Sanitation for the department, who would like to see one CTU established for each of the 13 communes in the department. There is a shortage of staff for these facilities. The health director is enthusiastic to work with all partners to prepare to control the disease. He identified training for staff and case management materials in French as key needs.


Health partners working in Saint Marc updated the situation at a Health Cluster meeting of November 25. All partners report fewer cases and deaths than previously in Bas Artibonite, but agreed that this might not mean the peak is passed in the region. The community health unit (which represents the community heads) noted that the improved recovery rate could be attributed to the community’s improved understanding of how to respond to cholera.

Meanwhile, training is continuing for those providing health care to the community. PAHO/WHO is supporting the expansion of the community surveillance system, training health agents and heads of dispensaries, and also providing training on dead body management, in coordination with the community health unit. There is an effort to decentralise care from the CTCs to dispensaries within the communties. PAHO/WHO received a list of the needs over the next three months from the community health unit and is responding the request.

The IFRC continues to support activities in Artibonite and two IFRC staff are permanently based there in support of Haitian Red Cross, French Red Cross and the Spanish Red Cross.

In Gonaives, the other main town in this area, the situation seems to have stabilised, although there are still cases in rural areas.

In Upper Artibonite, CARE is working in the communes of Saint Michel, Marmelade, Ennery, Gonaives, Gros Morne and Anse Rouge. So far, 126 volunteers have been trained on cholera prevention in the area. CARE has distributed hygiene kits (composed of 2 bars soap, 3 packs of ORS and aquatab for 50 gallons water) to households in Sources Chaudes and in Savancarre.


In cooperation with the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, IOM has
developed a list of camps where IOM will focus on cholera interventions. These sites have been identified as those most at risk due to size, density, environmental hazards and lack of coverage by WASH partners. IOM plans on setting up oral rehydration posts/cholera information kiosks in each of these sites and the infrastructure is beginning this week. Training of community health agents according to MSPP guidelines will begin next week. UNICEF will support with the installation of latrines.

Samaritan’s Purse's Nazarene Rehydration Center in Cite Soleil is also serving as a training center for medical staff. At least 110 Haitian doctors and nurses have been trained in cholera treatment at the center. Construction of a new 200-bed CTC in Cite Soleil has been completed. Medical and administrative staff are preparing to begin receiving patients early next week.

The German Red Cross will support the Carrefour municipal health authorities in setting up a coordination centre and will provide all logistic support including transportation and a mobile health clinic.

Between October 29 and November 23, hygiene promotion activities took place in Port-au-Prince camps for 29,766 families. This included training provided in coordination with World Vision and Oxfam. Seventy-nine householders were trained to handle water in their camps and 127 people were trained as cholera community workers. They have visited around 25,000 tents in 32 camps. In addition, the Red Cross provided hygiene promotion talks to 5,846 families and visited 831 houses.

The British Red Cross, the French Red Cross and HAVEN reached 23,841 families (120,705 people) with health promotion activities, including 491 collective talks and 482 home visits.

The Japanese Red Cross is working with the National Prison in Port-au-Prince to support the health response to the outbreak.

In the La Piste camp, in Port-au-Prince, the British Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross and Partners in Health are supporting a CTU with 30 beds, with plans to expand to a 90 bed capacity. It has seen a rise in cases from 20-25 per day to 35 - 50 per day, with 80% of cases coming from areas outside the camp.

Brazilian forces and social moblisation experts in PAHO/WHO have outlined a strategy to provide training to the community leaders in the 200 camps where Brazillian forces are providing security.

The comprehensive training covers all aspects of managing outbreaks in the community.

In the town of Maissade, the government is leading the response with the health ministry conducting assessments, training and coordination.

On Ile de la Gonave, World Vision has been coordinating the response. Three patients with cholera were treated and no deaths were reported so far.


In Leogane, PAHO/WHO and the health ministry are investigating reports of cholera deaths and a rapid increase in cases.


Jeremie has begun to see cases. Medecins du Monde is running a CTC in the area.


The Samaritan’s Purse's health and hygiene teams provided cholera prevention information to more than 1,000 families in Cabaret and Arcahaie. A group of 40 teachers received cholera prevention and hygiene education training and are sharing the information with children in local schools. More than 200 people have received cholera health and hygiene instruction and are training others to share the information in local communities.

UNICEF launched a blog aimed at young people. The “wajen blog” includes radio pieces, photo, video and print including several articles on cholera prevention. The materials were created by young people who participated in consultations and trainings in Cap Haitien, Jacmel and Port-au-Prince.

In preparation for the elections and after consultation with the Provisional Electoral Council,PAHO/WHO provided MINUSTAH with 22,000 posters for distribution in each of the voting booths around the country. The posters explain what to do when a person is ill, and how to prevent transmission. MINUSTAH plans to provide all voting booth attendants a leaflet explaining hand washing techniques.

The government has approved a set of training materials developed by PAHO/WHO for
community leaders. The training touches on a wide aspect of managing an outbreak within a community, from identifying patients to the management of dead bodies.

Other materials that received approval this week include the contents for the WASH kit, health kit (for CTCs and CTUs), and the kit for the management of dead bodies.

MSPP and PAHO/WHO along with US CDC have developed a national plan for training health personnel in case management.


(Toronto Star) - By Craig and Marc Kielburger, Global Voices

Angeleno wears rubber boots, thick gloves and a blue medical gown as he piles rubbish under the hot, Haitian sun.

Beads of sweat appear around his facemask, but he’s thinking of Jamanese.

Jamanese is unlike the other 60 cholera victims Angeleno cleans up after at the Zanmi Lasante hospital in Hinche.

She is his wife.

“I rushed home immediately and the woman I saw was so close to death,” he says, recalling the day he learned Jamanese was ill. “It almost seemed pointless to take her to the hospital.”

Angeleno saw how quickly cholera works. In the morning, Jamanese was fine. Smiling and bright, Jamanese was about to go into town to sell fruit just like she has for the 20 years they’ve been together. During that time, they raised two children ages 18 and 14.

Hours later, Jamanese was severely dehydrated and lifeless.

After four days, she is still alive, but motionless with an IV attached to her wrist. Her cot is under a tent that’s cordoned off from the rest of the hospital grounds. Yellow caution tape and a crude fence separate the cholera victims. Among them are children who lie motionless and an elderly man whose ribs are visible through his back as he sits up to be changed.

The makeshift “ward” looks like a field hospital. It’s not stigma keeping doctors from moving victims inside. They just can’t afford an outbreak in the HIV/AIDS ward or among the malnourished infants.

Treatment is just half what the doctors do. They’re also in the business of prevention.
Unfortunately, a lack of progress on reconstruction across Haiti has made the hospitals the only place where prevention is possible.

“We need more blues!” yells Dr. Prince, the hospital director. He’s running short on the medical gowns his staff wear to prevent contamination.

They change frequently and the “blues” are discarded. Angeleno adds them to his pile before setting it on fire just metres from his wife’s bed. Meanwhile, a mother admits her limp toddler.

“The evolution isn’t good. We’re seeing many more cases,” says Dr. Prince. Since Oct. 23, when the hospital saw its first case of cholera, they’ve treated more than 1,850 patients. “They just keep coming and coming and coming.”

This hospital has contained the infection to its rudimentary ward. But, the community simply doesn’t have that luxury.

Before the earthquake, only half of Haiti’s population had access to sanitation and one-third had clean drinking water.

In the 11-month-old refugee camps like the one just down the road from Zanmi Lasante, no one does.

About 90 people live in this small grouping of tents, set up like a suburban block. From the tent’s awning at Iman’s which constitutes her front porch, you can see bright plastic flowers she decorates with. She shares a clothesline with her neighbour, Ophelia, who lives with her husband and four children.

The family sleeps side-by-side on the ground each evening amid cooking pots and a bag of USAID rice. Although crowded, Ophelia says they took in neighbours during Hurricane Tomas when the strong wind uprooted tent pegs and the heavy rain crushed the shelter.

It’s a community. It just doesn’t have the infrastructure.

“There is no water, no bathrooms,” says Ophelia, as she sits outside her tent. “We are here, but we don’t have anything.”

Miraculously, Zanmi Lasante has only seen 21 deaths of the nearly 2,000 cholera cases. But treatment isn’t as effective as prevention. With patients constantly entering the hospital gates, it will soon be oral rehydration salts, IV needles and antibiotics in short supply along with the “blues.”

Angeleno knows these limits. That’s why he takes care putting on his gloves, boots and medical dress before beginning work. Jamanese is attached to an IV, but after four days is still vomiting, experiencing diarrhea and barely opening her eyes.

“Only God knows if she will be okay,” says Angeleno. “But even when we have someone who dies, we have no way of bringing them to the cemetery.

“I’ll just keep working and taking care of her at the same time.”

Marc and Craig Kielburger are children’s rights activists and co-founded Free The Children, which is active in the developing world. Their column appears Mondays online at thestar.com/globalvoices.



LONDON — The government said on Saturday it is paying for more than 1,000 medical staff to work in Haiti as part of an aid package worth more than 5.6 million pounds to help combat a deadly cholera outbreak there.

Two million pounds will go to the Pan American Health Organisation to fund 115 doctors, 920 nurses and 740 support staff, the Department for International Development said.

They will set up 12 major cholera treatment centres and 60 other treatment units for the disease, which has killed 1,648 people and is yet to peak.

A further 1.9 million pounds will be given to Oxfam to supply 340,000 people with clean water and toilets in northern Haiti, while one million pounds will go to Plan International to improve water supplies in the northeast.

Another 765,000 pounds will go towards efforts to monitor the spread of the disease in the region.

"Analysis from the UN and our own field team reveals that the response needs to be significantly increased if we are to save thousands from the disease," International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said in a statement.

"We must stop the disease spreading further and trained medical teams and equipment funded by the British taxpayer will bring crucial relief to the devastated country."


(CTV.ca) - By Angela Mulholland

Haiti is in desperate need of more doctors and nurses to help it manage a cholera crisis that refuses to loosen its grip. But finding the medical staff who can answer that call for help is no simple task.

Already, close to 60,000 Haitians have been treated for cholera and as many as 200,000 more could descend on the country's makeshift medical clinics in the next three months. Few expect the crisis to abate quickly, given the gaps in the country's sanitation and basic infrastructure that allowed the infectious disease to spread as quickly as it has.

But while finding young, eager volunteers to dig drainage ditches and build clinics is, if not altogether easy, at least straightforward, the medical workers needed to help in health emergencies such as this one are unique.

Marilyn McHarg, general director and co-founder of the Canadian section of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders says the medical staff needed for this crisis need to have flexiblity in their work schedules and flexibility in their personal lives.

They also have to be ready to transition quickly into the demands of the work, because the training and orientation in health emergencies like the one in Haiti are "really short and mostly on the job."

"When they get there, they have to function on a pretty intense level, so the more experience they have the better," McHarg said in an interview.

MSF, which now has an impressive 27 cholera treatment centres in Haiti, is recruiting all kinds of personnel: doctors, anesthetists, nurses -- anyone who can devote a few weeks or preferably, a few months to help.

The organization has been working in Haiti for 19 years and had already established a number of long-term projects and health centres before the country was hit by an earthquake in January and the cholera disaster. The staff in those long-term projects typically commit for stays of as long as a year. But McHarg says the cholera crisis is different.

"In a real emergency, you have a higher turnover because of the stress that goes with working in those circumstances," McHarg said.

That's why her group will turn first to the experienced personnel who have worked with them before, to ask them whether then can commit more time to help with the disease fight.

"After that, we then put out a call more generally, and start creating a pool of personnel who meet our qualifications and who have some flexibility in their scheduling. And then as positions open, we start to pull from our pool," she said.

Dr. Tanya Zakrison has seen the stress of post-earthquake Haiti. She says it profoundly changed her.

Zakrison, currently a trauma surgeon at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, says she knew pretty much nothing about Haiti before she spent two weeks there following the January earthquake.
Like many, she admits she saw Haiti as "the Africa of the Americas," a country that seemed hopeless. But after speaking with the Haitians she was treating, and after learning about the country's history, her view has shifted.

"I now feel pretty strongly about it: the earthquake was indeed a natural disaster but all it did was serve to unmask the manmade disaster that created Haiti's state of poverty," she told CTV.ca.

Zakrison was completing a trauma surgery fellowship at the University of Miami when January's earthquake toppled the Haitian capital. She quickly signed up for the university's Project Medishare program to help tend to survivors.

For her, taking time off from her surgery duties was fairly easy.

"They were very understanding. They would say, ‘Yes, you go; we'll cover your shifts. And then next week you'll cover someone else's shift'. There was a lot of support to relieve people of their clinical duties," she said.

But it isn't always that way for other personnel. It's often a challenge to find a doctor or nurse who can leave his or her practice or hospital responsibilites to help with a health crisis thousands of miles away.

"You need a very supportive practice. Your colleagues around you have to be able to cover your call, cover your clinical duties. So they have to be very understanding. And of course, you need a hospital administration that is accommodating," she said.

Zakrison encountered many medical workers who make it a point to regularly take time off from their work at home to do international relief work. Some go on their vacation time; others use up the time they've been allotted for research or academic pursuits.

"Many feel compelled to help in a catastrophe that really, shouldn't be happening anywhere," she says.

Some do it simply because it's a unique kind of medicine they may never experience at home, said Zakrison. Many of the American physicians she met, for example, told her that the work they were doing in Haiti was the first time they could actually practise medicine as physicians without concerns for whether the patient had health insurance, or without dealing with hospital bureaucracy or HMO's or case managers.

"They could just be doctors. I'm sure for many physicians, it's the most rewarding medicine they've every done," she says.


(The Times) - By Martin Fletcher

Port-au-Prince - From the hilltop tent that houses his clinic a young doctor named Jackson Fleuranvil solemnly surveys a sea of rudimentary shelters in which 12,500 Haitians made homeless by January’s earthquake have somehow survived for the past 11 months.

“Whatever we do we will have cholera here, and it will be catastrophic because of the way people are living,” he says of Acra camp, which covers several acres of former wasteland overhung by pylons and power lines near the centre of Port-au-Prince.

Dr Fleuranvil, 33, leads a team of two doctors, five nurses and a midwife, all of them Haitian, which works for Merlin, a British charity that provides health care in disaster zones, and runs daily clinics in the camp.

They are doing all in their power to prevent the cholera epidemic that is rapidly spreading across Haiti from ravaging their camp. If it does arrive here, they will be out there battling to save the lives of every camp dweller.

Staff hold almost continual sessions with Acra’s 2,700 struggling families to emphasise the paramount need for hygiene. They have six paid community health workers, recruited mainly from within the camp, going from tarpaulin shelter to shelter with megaphones and cartoon leaflets and giving hand-washing demonstrations to the children. They are frantically distributing soap and aquatabs to people far too poor to afford their own.

The odds are stacked against them. The shelters are so densely packed that there is scarcely room to walk between them. Streams of filthy water trickle down the hillsides to stagnant pools that are breeding grounds for flies and mosquitoes.

Clean water has to be trucked in, but there is not enough of it, and the few latrines are a “nightmare”, says Dr Fleuranvil. They are rarely cleaned. The floors are covered in piles of excrement, making a mockery of the hygiene notices on the doors. The stench is overpowering. Most inhabitants prefer to defecate into plastic bags which they then throw on to the piles of rotting refuse scattered around the camp.

In short, Merlin’s staff here, and in a dozen other urban and rural locations in Haiti where they run clinics, find themselves on the front line, battling another impending crisis.

But there is nothing new about that.

Merlin was formed in London in 1993 by three friends — a doctor, a manager and a logistician — who wanted to send medical teams into disaster zones, and its first mission was to truck £1 million worth of food and medicines into war-torn Bosnia.

From this modest beginning it has grown into Britain’s foremost overseas emergency medical relief charity, still small and agile and first on the front line where there is conflict or natural disaster.

It sent teams to Rwanda as soon as news of the genocide emerged, to Iraq after the US invasion, to Burma after Cyclone Nargis, and to South-East Asia after the tsunami. It works in Afghanistan, Darfur, the Swat Valley in Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Danger is no deterrent.

A Merlin team reached Haiti four days after the earthquake in January that killed 230,000 people and left 1.3 million homeless — the worst urban disaster in modern times. Within nine days it had set up a fully operational medical centre in tents pitched on a couple of old tennis courts, earning it the nickname “Wimbledon”, and staffed it with a plastic surgeon, two accident and emergency consulants, two theatre operators and an anaesthetist, all from Britain.

It was “Wimbledon” that caught the attention of this reporter in March when I went out to cover the aftermath of the earthquake. Literally thousands of aid groups, big and small, had poured in to Haiti’s ruined capital in the weeks after the disaster.

They were a mixed blessing. Many duplicated each other’s work. A few saw the catastrophe as a fundraising or promotional opportunity. Others simply got in the way, or appeared to have come simply to make themselves feel good. I remember hesitating when my wife called me in Port-au-Prince and asked who to give money to, because so little of the vast sums being donated seemed to be reaching the victims.

Merlin, by contrast, stood out. It offered direct, practical and eminently measurable help to Haitians who had been brought in off the streets and were in desperate need, and often the charity found itself repairing the carelessness of others.

Its surgeons, some of them retired consultants from the UK, amputated gangrenous limbs, relieved the suffering of people who had, amazingly, lived for weeks with broken legs or dislocated joints, and helped to reset bones whose broken ends had crossed and fused. In a city of scarcely believable chaos and destruction it was a real haven of order and salvation for those fortunate enough to reach it.

A 14-year-old boy named Evans Veti, for example, was found wandering through the slums with a cumbersome metal scaffold called an external fixator on his shattered left leg.

It was held in place by six pins drilled into the bone, and the boy had been discharged by US naval surgeons without any idea of how or when to take it off. He might have worn it all his life, or until an infection set in that could have necessitated amputation. A Merlin surgeon removed it and ensured a full recovery for the teenager.

Unlike some of its counterparts Merlin was nimble. It did not have fleets of Land Cruisers clogging up the rubble-strewn streets of Port-au-Prince, or hordes of administrators with clipboards, or public relations people trumpeting its work. It prides itself on spending only about 4p of every donated pound on administration and promotion, and of having 98 per cent of its 3,870 staff out in the field.

Merlin’s “Wimbledon” clinic performed nearly 400 complex surgical operations in the three months after the earthquake, and treated more than 7,000 people in its outpatient department.
But another crucial part of Merlin’s approach is that it does not leave the moment an immediate humanitarian emergency is over and the television crews have left. It stays on to help to rebuild shattered health systems, and nowhere is that more important than in Haiti, the poorest and most wretched country in the western hemisphere.

Even before the earthquake 40 per cent of Haiti’s population lacked access to health care, barely a quarter of births were supervised by a trained medic, and the infant mortality rate of 86 per thousand was by far the highest in the Americas. Life expectancy was just 60. The quake then destroyed 73 of the country’s 373 hospitals, clinics and medical training facilities, and killed or injured countless doctors and nurses. The health ministry alone lost 200 staff when its headquarters collapsed.

Apart from Acra, Merlin now runs primary health care clinics in seven other camps in and around Port-au-Prince, in two more camps in the town of Petit Goave, which was also hit by the earthquake, and in seven remote mountain villages which previously had practically no access to health care at all.

It is now rushing to open half-a-dozen cholera treatment units. It treats roughly 13,000 patients a month, works closely with the health ministry, and is helping to train workers and rebuild health centres against the day it finally withdraws. Of its 160-odd employees in the country 140 are Haitian.

The nature of Merlin’s services may have changed from emergency surgery to primary health care, but they are no less valuable for that because the crisis in Haiti continues, albeit in a less obvious form. Some 1.3 million men, women and children who lost their homes are still living in a thousand overcrowded, desperately insanitary and downright dangerous camps like Acra, and remain intensely vulnerable.

In the past 11 months they and their flimsy shelters have been battered by torrential rain, floods, and Hurricane Tomas.

Dr Fleuranvil and his team routinely treat Acra’s inhabitants for ailments that result directly from their terrible living conditions — malnutrition, anaemia, diarrhoea, a lot of malaria, worms, scabies, fevers, respiratory diseases like bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia, intestinal infections and plenty of sexually transmitted diseases.

One week they are vaccinating children against diphtheria and tetanus, the next they are handing out mosquito nets. On the day The Times visited Acra they treated 104 patients.

That is just the start. Dr Fleuranvil said that rape cases were common in the early days after the earthquake, and still persist, and that the number of HIV cases was increasing. He also treats several victims of fights each week, some of them with knife wounds. “As a human being I’m sometimes shocked, but I must stay calm,” he said.

Rona Andre, 34, the Acra team’s midwife, said that sexual violence was common in the camp, though the victims were afraid to report it for fear of reprisals. Merlin gives out free contraceptives to try to address the soaring number of teenage pregnancies. Most of the women now giving birth in the camp are single. Indeed, a recent UN survey found that women in the camps were three times more likely to be pregnant.

Ms Andre said the number of dangerous “street” abortions had also increased, the preferred method being to swallow large quantities of a certain ulcer drug to try to kill the foetus. “Women are not secure enough here,” she said. “When there’s a lot of young men and women living right next to each other there is a high risk of rape.”

On top of all that, the camp now faces the scourge of cholera, and its inhabitants are understandably terrified. “It really stresses me. Every time they talk about it I shiver,” said Marie Lourdes Pikard as she sat in the clinic with her feverish three-year-old daughter.
“Everyone’s talking about cholera, cholera,” complained another woman, Samedi Rose Venite.

Dr Fleuranvil has a simple message for the outside world as his benighted country’s year of almost biblical disasters — earthquakes, floods and tempests — ends with a dreadful pestilence. “We thank you for your help, but we need more,” he pleads. “Please continue what you started because the situation here is still very, very difficult.”