Saturday, June 30, 2012

Aflac's Baby Ducks

We celebrated the hatching of our duck eggs this week! It is amazing what comes out of an egg.
These baby ducks have beautiful colorings.
And cute little wings too :)
Aflac is a proud mother. She looks after her baby ducks well. It is fun to watch them waddle behind her.
Here is Aflac "lining her ducks in a row" :)




- Outbreaks of cholera reach the Nord, Sud and Sud-Est departments, high probability of a major emergency in the coming months, according to IFRC

- CERF emergency allocation prevents further deterioration of sanitation conditions in IDP camps

- Return programs for IDPs bolster camps closure, urban planning in neighbourhoods begins

- The eighth simulation exercise for a natural disaster takes place in the Sud-Est department

- Rain in drought areas boosts agricultural production


Number of IDPs in camps = 390, 276

Cumulative cholera cases = 574,850

Fatality cholera cases = 7,398


- 230,5 million Requested (in US$).This amount is being revised as part of the CAP MYR

- 19.5% Funded


Cholera alerts continue, including in IDP camps

Cholera outbreaks occurred in the North, Sud and South-East departments in June, the
Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) reports. The Ouest and Artibonite departments continue to report a net increase in new cases of cholera, including in the IDP camp of Cinea in Delmas 33 in metropolitan Port-au-Prince. According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP), the average number of new cholera cases during the first three weeks of June 2012 was 227 compared with 61 during the same period in March, before the arrival of the first rains.

At Cinea camp, the health directorate for the Ouest department, as well as the National Directorate of Potable Water and Sanitation (DINEPA), supported by health partners, have administered oral rehydration salts to the sick, distributed water chlorination products and disinfected living areas. Preliminary assessments revealed that living conditions in the camp represented a high risk factor for the transmission of the disease. An analysis of water from water sources managed by the water management committee revealed the absence of residual chlorine. In addition, the maintenance of latrines entrusted by the DINEPA to the private enterprise JEDCO had not been carried out.

The health directorates of the Nord and Sud-Est departments and partners have also dispatched and restocked support structures with drugs and equipment. In Artibonite, however, discussions to defuse a potentially explosive situation related to the nonpayment of five months of salary arrears for medical staff employed by the Ministry of Health are on-going.

In a press release issued on 19 June, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported that the probability for cholera to turn into a major emergency in the next few months is high and resources for containing the situation considerably reduced. The Federation is concerned, among other things, about the slow pace of integrating cholera management within national health infrastructures and the weakness of the national alert and surveillance system. According to PAHO statistics, eight departments out of 10 in the country, provide either partial epidemiological reports or none at all.

Camp management

Significant improvement of sanitation in IDP camps

According to the latest report from the DINEPA/WASH Cluster, sanitation conditions in the camps have considerably improved since March 2012, which marked the beginning of desludging, maintenance and closure of latrines financed by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) of the United Nations at $3.5 million.

From April to May, the number of sites that have received desludging services has risen from 66 to 122, translating into an increase of 100 per cent. In addition, 87 per cent of the latrines, needing either to be repaired or to be put out of service, were taken care of between March and May, thanks to the involvement of IOM funded by CERF. As a result, the percentage of camps where open air defection is common has seen a 50 per cent to 30 per cent decrease.

The arrival of CERF's emergency funding occurred in the midst of a suspension of operations of the DINEPA/UNOPS desludging fleet in January due to lack of funds. Last March, 378 sites needed desludging services, of which 86 were of an urgent nature.

Despite this improvement, several camp committees and NGOs have complained to DINEPA about the poor execution of certain desludging operations carried out by the private company JEDCO that do not follow the standards of cleanliness and does not target priority camps. These complaints are subject to close monitoring of DINEPA and UNICEF to improve the quality of services provided by JEDCO.

Return and relocation programs for displaced persons continue

IOM states in its April and June Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) that programmes to support the return and relocation of people displaced by the earthquake have contributed significantly to the decline of the camp population. Apart from voluntary departures and evictions, the reports state that the 14 per cent and 7 per cent decrease of the population in the camps observed respectively in April and June is equally the result of multiple initiatives of return, be they from subsidized rental housing, the provision of temporary shelters, the repair or construction of houses.

Since the earthquake, 14,000 families have benefited from subsidized rental housing programs established mainly by IOM, IFRC, World Vision and JP/HRO. Over 100,000 families have received a transitional shelter, 13,000 households have received assistance to repair their homes while 5,000 families have benefited from housing construction programmes, according to the statistics of the Housing and Public Buildings Construction Unit (UCLBP) of Haiti.

Created in November 2011, the UCLBP has a division devoted to the problem of rehabilitation of neighborhoods and relocation, and, particularly, the establishment in September 2011 of the pilot program 16 neighborhoods/6 camps. This project aims not only to facilitate the rehabilitation of 16 neighborhoods spread in the communes of Port-au-Prince, Pétion-Ville and Delmas but also to allow the return of displaced persons living in six priority camps by providing them with rent subsidies.

Urban planning starts in earthquak-affected neighborhoods

Urban planning activities, including mitigation programs are underway in eight of the 16 neighbourhoods. The six camps targeted - Place Boyer, Place St Pierre, Canapé Vert, Stade Sylvio Cator, Mais Gaté, Primature - have been closed as well as 15 other smaller camps. More than 5,100 families were thus able to return to their neighbourhoods of origin thanks to a subsidy of US$500 enabling them to rent a house of their choice for a year. These families were not landowners before the earthquake and were therefore not eligible for a transitional shelter or benefit from construction and repair programmes. This is also the case of 97 per cent of the displaced persons still living in the existing 575 camps.

Other initiatives in line with the 16/6 project have also borne fruit. This is the case of Champs de Mars, the most important public space in the capital, which housed 4,600 families in the aftermath of the earthquake. The relocation project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) at 20 million dollars has enabled the relocation of a majority of displaced households. It is expected to be completed in August with the departure of the last families and the renovation of the space.

A survey conducted by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) showed that, contrary to some claims, the awarding of these subsidies had not led to a proliferation of disorganized construction on the mountainous terrain of the metropolitan area. This financial assistance has not encouraged either the expansion of slums, such as that of Canaan which was established in the aftermath of the earthquake on the outskirts of the capital. In fact, the investigation shows that a year after their relocation due to the rental subsidies, only 15 per cent of the families had left their new accommodation.

Camp population falls below the 400, 000 mark

According to IOM June Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are 390,276individuals living in IDP camps. This is a 7 per cent decrease compared to April and the first time that the overall population is less than 100,000 households. The number of camps decreased by 4 per cent. When compared to the peak of displacement in July 2010, this reflects a 75 per cent decline in camp population. Similar to the previous period, the largest drop has been observed in the commune of Port-au-Prince where the overall IDP population decreased by 17 per cent.

Displaced persons from Champs de Mars receive identification documents

Over 700 displaced persons from Champs de Mars have recently received birth certificates thanks to the protection programme implemented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its implementing partners ACAT and GARR. This activity goes hand in hand with the process of relocating displaced persons from Champs de Mars (see article above) and aims at giving a legal existence to people who lost their identification documents during the earthquake or those who have never had any. In 2011, UNHCR enabled over 5,500 people to obtain birth certificates. The goal for 2012 is to provide 5,000 additional birth certificates to particularly vulnerable persons such as undeclared newborns, unaccompanied and separated children, households headed by single mothers, young mothers, pregnant women, people with disabilities and those with chronic diseases, as well as the elderly with special needs.

UNHCR scales up support to displaced women victims of violence

One year after its inauguration, the UNHCR safe house in Port-au-Prince is beefing up its support to the most vulnerable displaced women survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and their families.

In addition to providing assistance to some 200 women and their family members, i.e. secure living space, psycho-social support, trainings, education for the children and medical assistance, new challenges are being taken on with the support of implementing partners. The priorities are now to improve child-friendly spaces in the safe house, to strengthen the durable solutions available to the survivors in particular with additional professional inductions such as literacy classes.

Ensuring that the women's reintegration into society is sustainable is a crucial element of the project. A community warehouse was recently inaugurated where the survivors will benefit from a micro-grant scheme in order to start their own small business. In connection to the community warehouse a training center is being established where women will be able to develop and strengthen skills such as cooking and sewing.

Emergency preparedness

The South-East is preparing for a natural disaster

The eighth natural disaster simulation exercise (SIMEX) was held on 8 June in the Sud-Est department, one of the most vulnerable departments in the country, due to its geographical location on the path of cyclones and in close proximity to a seismic fault.

Organized by the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) with the support of OCHA, UNDP, WFP and MINUSTAH, the SIMEX has highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the response capacity of the department where continuous deforestation of watersheds has increased the risks of flooding, landslides and rockfall. An estimated 430,000people are at risk of flooding in the department.

Over two dozen containers of first aid stock (DIPS) are available in 10 communes, and 250 volunteers have been trained in their operation. Some 550 volunteer rescuers, eight ambulances, three boats and a boat ambulance are also available in the event of a major disaster. In addition, the coordination capacity of the departmental technical team as well as cooperation between the Departmental Emergency Operation Centre (COUD) and the Regional Centre for Joint Operations (RJOC) of the MINUSTAH were considered excellent.

However, a major concern issue of concern is the lack of clarity regarding pre-positioned contingency stocks of food and non-food items in the department, as well as the number of temporary shelters in case of evacuation.

A national SIMEX will be held in the communes of Arcahaie and Cabaret in the Ouest department on 5 and 6 July, and will test maritime deployment capacities. Evacuation drills in camps for the displaced will also take place.

Training on DRM in schools of West department

A training of trainers on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) for schools was organised from 10 to 16 June in the Ouest department with 37 participants from the Ministry of Education, the DPC and 13 NGOs working in schools. It was the first training of trainers organized by the Government of Haiti, financed by UNICEF. Detailed knowledge on DRM and child-centred DRM methodologies were introduced. Expected outcomes of this training will be to replicate teacher training and student sensitization on DRM, to consolidate a training module, and to work with the Ministry of Education towards integrating DRM into school curriculum.

Seismic hazard in Haiti comparable to that of California

During a presentation on 20 June in Port-au-Prince, Eric Calais, scientific adviser to UNDP in Haiti and professor of geophysics at Perdue University, United States, stated that the history of the Island Hispaniola shows a persistent danger of seismic activity. The country’s seismic hazard is comparable to that of California and affects the entire territory even though the major faults are located in the north and the south. Calais also pointed out that scientific reality predicts other earthquakes in the future.

He also stated that the density of the population, disorganized construction with no respect for earthquake-resistance standards and the inability of the municipalities to control urban planning are all factors that have contributed to raise the vulnerability of the country.

Following the 2010 earthquake, a seismic risk reduction roadmap was developed by UNDP at the request of the National System for the Management and Reduction of Risks and Disasters (SNGRD). Since then, 15 of 19 seismological stations have been installed, a seismology technical unit has been created, macro zoning maps have been developed and engineers and builders have been trained in the techniques of earthquake-resistant construction. The development of a seismic plan for the greater north close to the northern fault line is in progress and benefits from a funding of $10 million from the Fund for the reconstruction of Haiti (FRH).

Nevertheless, adds Eric Calais, it is necessary to incorporate seismic zoning in the urban planning of the country, to assess the set of strategic buildings and reinforce the principal hospitals as well as the schools, continue to train engineers and other professionals in the construction industry and include earthquake-resistant engineering in civil engineering programs.

Food security

Good crop prospects in July

After experiencing a long period of drought, there has been rainfall for over two months in the upper Artibonite and the extreme Northwest departments enabling the growth of crops, according to the latest report from FEWS Net in May. There is plenty of seasonal rainfall throughout the entire country, which should translate into good harvests in July, probably higher than the average. Since May, a decrease in the price of imported products has also been reported in most of the departmental markets.

After a period of food shortages due to crop losses in February, promising harvesting of maize, beans and tubers in July will mitigate household food insecurity in the upper Artibonite. Presently, the mango season employs many people for harvesting, handling, transport and sale of the fruit. This form of seasonal employment is a frequent survival strategy used by households in these areas throughout the month of May, as stated by the report.

For over a month, rains in the western tip of the Northwest have made for a return to agricultural activities, thus providing a source of employment to the poorest. These precipitations have also encouraged the growth of livestock whose physical condition had deteriorated in recent months due to the drought.

The situation of food-insecure households in shanty towns and IDP camps will also improve as from July due to a greater availability of local products on the markets.


Education Cluster closes

As of 30 June, the Education Cluster is officially ending its current form of coordination led by UNICEF and Save the Children after two and half years of endeavours. The Cluster co-lead and its partners will continue to work with the Ministry of Education and the DPC for sector coordination of emergency preparedness and response in order to transfer and develop national capacity and resilience. A document on lessons learned from the Education Cluster experiences is being finalized.

Other issues

First recycled cobblestones from earthquake rubble pave Carrefour-Feuille

As part of the “Débris I” and “Débris II” projects, the first recycled cobblestones made from earthquake-generated debris were used to pave sidewalks and stairs at the beginning of June in the Carrefour-Feuilles commune. With the assistance provided by the ILO to the Truman MTPTC-UN site, production has been greatly boosted. The current production stands at 120,000 cobblestones bricks, 4,204 roofing tiles and1,515 slabs.

These initiatives contribute to improving living conditions in the neighbourhoods, in addition to creating jobs. As at now, 2,635 working days have been created on the MTPTC-UN site. In order to achieve productivity goals, the ILO has trained 124 Haitian workers in debris recycling and transformation techniques.

The ILO’s management capacity building programme for local entrepreneurs led to the training of 33 young Haitians, five of them women. This initiative has led to the further training 300 local entrepreneurs, 42 of them women, in business management. Through the «Débris I and II» projects the ILO has enabled the direct creation of six businesses and supported 47 others in the building sector.

The goal of the «Débris I and II» projects is to rehabilitate several neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince that were destroyed by the 12 January 2010 earthquake, through the introduction of a clearance, treatment and recycling earthquake rubble system.

Some 300,000 children in domestic servitude

On the occasion of the World Day against Child Labour commemorated on June 12, the ILO, UNICEF, UNESCO, IOM and the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, Nigel Fisher, renewed the determination of the United Nations system to support Haiti to win the fight of a world free of child labour. The number of children as domestic servants "restavek" in Haiti is estimated at 300,000. On its part, IOM has set up a series of multimedia tools to increase public awareness of abuses related to this practice through SMS messages, a Facebook page ( ), Twitter ( @frennenrestavek), Youtube, a comic strip Chimen Lakay, and the humanitarian call centre NOU (NOU THE 177). Anyone with information on this practice in his/ her community is invited to share by calling the centre.

Following the earthquake, UNICEF has also intensified its support for the development of a Minors' Protection Brigade (BPM) and supported a vast programme of prevention of trafficking and serious violations of children's rights at the main border crossings with the Dominican Republic as well as in the camps for displaced persons. Of the 12,000 children monitored, 2,800 of them were in an irregular situation. Among these, 285 were subjected to practices similar to trafficking. Haiti ratified on 11 June 2012 the Hague Convention on International Adoption.

For further information, please contact:
George Ngwa Anuongong, Chief, Communication Section,

Emmanuelle Schneider, spokesperson/Information officer,

Rachelle Elien, information officer,

Widlyn Dornevil, reporting officer,

OCHA humanitarian bulletins are available at


(AP) - By Seth Borenstein

WASHINGTON (AP) — Since world leaders last gathered in Rio de Janeiro to talk about the state of the Earth, temperatures have climbed and disasters have mounted. As diplomats discuss climate, sustainability and biodiversity, here is Earth by the numbers since 1992:

TEMPERATURES: The average annual global temperature has increased 0.58 degrees Fahrenheit (0.32 degrees Celsius) since 1992 based on 10-year running averages, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Every year since 1992 has been warmer than the year of the original Rio conference.

POLLUTION: Global levels of the chief heat-trapping gas, carbon dioxide, climbed 10 percent from nearly 358 parts per million in April 1992 to 394 ppm this past April, NOAA said.

DISASTERS: Since 1992, natural disasters have affected 4.4 billion people worldwide, killed 1.3 million people, and cost $2 trillion in damages, according to the United Nations. Earthquakes, storms, extreme temperatures and floods were the biggest killers.

FORESTS: Since 1990, the world's primary forest areas have decreased about 740 million acres (300 million hectares), according to the United Nations. That's an area larger than Argentina.


(AllAfrica) - By Nigel Sizer

When it comes to the fate of forests, Rio+20 and the official negotiations risk becoming a side event. Instead, the main show is playing out in countless boardrooms, communities, parliaments, and villages around the world. From Brazil to Bangladesh, Canada to Cambodia, these organizations have made dramatic progress with efforts to reverse forest decline.

Of course, much remains to be done: globally, forests continue to decline at the rate of about 13 million hectares each year, according to the United Nations. But many successes help illuminate a path forward.

Brazil achieved what some have called the greatest contribution to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, more than halving the rates of forest loss in the Amazon over the past decade. Brazilian institutions, such as IBAMA and the Federal Police, working with local NGOs like Imazon, have made dramatic improvements on monitoring forest crime and targeting enforcement efforts. This despite recent concerns, which WRI shares, about revisions to Brazil's Forest Code that could lead to increased forest clearing.

Canadian forest products companies, environmental campaigners, first nations, and provincial government agencies worked together over a similar time period to commit to the Canadian Boreal Forests Agreement, which helps conserve and manage more than 70 million hectares of forest. The agreement has enabled companies to get back to the business of managing forest land rather than fighting with environmentalists. It's also helped safeguard one of the world's greatest mammal migration routes for the majestic woodland caribou.

IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, took advantage of detailed satellite data on the location of large, intact natural forests in Russia and elsewhere. It overhauled its procurement policies and supply chain management system to ensure that furniture sold in all of its stores comes from responsibly managed forests. Many other global firms are now working on implementing similar systems.

In Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and many other countries, local communities have shown that they can be the most effective forest stewards as long as they have the authority to do so, as well as support from markets. The community-managed ejido system in Mexico, for example, now covers hundreds of thousands of hectares, and management has been certified to the highest international standards.

In Niger, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and across sub-Saharan Africa, villagers - often with far-sighted encouragement from government agencies - have regreened millions of hectares of semi-desert. As a result, they have more food to eat, more water to drink, and higher incomes, ensuring that their families are healthier and better educated.

And last year, Indonesia announced a moratorium on new forest-clearing licenses in much of the country's remaining forests. Officials also committed to shift much future oil-palm development onto already cleared or degraded land rather than clearing more forests to develop the plantations.


The question for Rio is: How can international agreements and actions help advance these local efforts?

Advances are possible at Rio on three critical issues:

Governments can promote improved access to information and decision-making through a Rio-mandated, global convention to strengthen the public's rights of access to information, participation, and justice. These essential rights would greatly increase citizens' abilities to protect the environment and their livelihoods. Greater access to quality information about proposed development and investments is so important to improving forest management and governance that WRI is developing Global Forest Watch 2.0, an interactive web-based system that will track that state of forests globally in near-real-time. WRI will offer a sneak peek of this powerful new tool in four presentations at Rio with partners Google, Imazon, Center for Global Development, and the University of Maryland.

The gathering can help build awareness of the benefits of transitioning to a "green economy" in terms of finance, policy changes, technologies, and land use practices. The striking example of re-greening success in Niger and beyond (mentioned above), with dramatic economic and human well-being benefits like increased food security and rural incomes, stands out as one that should be better understood and replicated.

"Energy for all" has emerged as one of the most concrete areas for partnership galvanized by the Rio meetings. What is often forgotten is that the majority of the poor get most of their energy from wood fuel. In doing so, they must often endure hard labor to gather the wood and are exposed to chronic lung disease from wood smoke inhalation, leading to thousands of deaths a year. Women and children bear the brunt of these burdens. Access to clean energy would greatly improve the quality of lives of millions, as well as reduce pressure on threatened forest resources.

Advances on transparency, how we define economic progress, and energy access would help move the U.N.-sponsored Rio process closer to center stage and boost efforts to better manage forests globally.

Nigel Sizer is director of the Global Forest Initiative at the World Resources Institute (WRI).


(BBC) - By Richard Black

The UN sustainable development summit in Brazil has ended with world leaders adopting a political declaration hammered out a few days previously.
Environment and development charities say the Rio+20 agreement is too weak to tackle social and environmental crises.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, author of a major UN sustainable development report 25 years ago, said corporate power was one reason for lack of progress.

Nations will spend three years drawing up sustainable development goals.

They will also work towards better protection for marine life on the high seas.

But moves to eliminate subsidies on fossil fuels - recommended in a number of authoritative reports as likely to boost economies and curb CO2 emissions - came to naught.

Plans to enshrine the right of poor people to have clean water, adequate food and modern forms of energy also foundered or were seriously weakened during the six days of preparatory talks.

And many governments were bitter that text enshrining women's reproductive rights was removed from the declaration over opposition from the Vatican backed by Russia and nations from the Middle East and Latin America.

'No leadership'

The UN had billed the summit as a "once in a generation chance" to turn the global economy onto a sustainable track.

"It absolutely did not do that," said Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam GB.

"We had the leaders of the world here, but they really did not take decisions that will take us forward," she told the BBC.

"It was a real lack of action that is very worrying, because we know how difficult the situation is in much of the world in terms of environment and poverty, and they did not show the leadership we needed them to bring."

The president of the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere, Haiti's President Michel Martelly, said the summit could have delivered more.

"I feel like these poor countries, these countries that are always being hit by catastrophe - things have not changed much," he told the BBC.

"So on this summit I will say that much more effort needs to be done so we can correctly and precisely come out with resolutions that will have an impact on the lives of people being affected."

Cash concern

Developing countries had argued that they needed financial assistance in order to meet the costs of switching onto a green development path.

But with the US in an election year and the EU deep in eurozone mire, any mention of specific sums was blocked.

As a consequence, developing countries refused to let the declaration endorse green economics as the definitive sustainable development path.

Prof Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist and special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said support was needed.

"Those of us who look at this day in, day out know that many poor countries need that kind of help," he said.

"And it does not do any good to cite large ambitious promises many years out, and then behind the scenes to say 'we're not going to talk about how they're going to be fulfilled."

But Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and deputy head of the US delegation here, said the US was fully behind the "green economy" - and that the summit could help deliver the vision.

"The negotiated document, which is really the first time we have a multilateral document that talks about the green economy that has broad-based support - that is a big push," she said.

"But probably more important are the connections that are being made between businesses large and small, civil society, academia and of course governments at the national and sub-national level - all those things are pushing the green economy forwards."

Norwegian would

The need to put the world on a sustainable track, and the perils of not doing so, were outlined most influentially in a 1987 commission chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, then prime minister of Norway.

Speaking to BBC News in Rio, she reflected on the lack of real progress since then.

"Obviously when you look back 25 years now, less than one would have expected has happened - that's clear - but you can't think you can turn the world round in 25 years," she said.

She said there were "complex reasons" why governments had been unable to take the vision further - including the power of corporations.

"I think [the allegation] is justified - it's not the whole truth but it certainly is a big part of it," she said.

"In our political system, corporations, businesses and people who have economic power influence political decision-makers - that's a fact, and so it's part of the analysis."

The next key date on the sustainable development journey is 2015.

The sustainable development goals should be decided and declared by then; also, the UN climate convention will have what some, with trepidation, are calling its "next Copenhagen" - the summit that should in theory usher in a new global agreement with some legal force to tackle global warming.


(Haiti Libre) -

At the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), Sophia Martelly, the First Lady of Haiti, accompanied by Jean Robert Brutus, the Executive Director of the National Unity of "Aba grangou" (UNAG), met Friday, June 22, in Rio de Janeiro Ms. Maya Takagi, the Brazilian national Secretary of the Program of Food Security and Nutrition and Mr. Milton Rondo Filho, Minister Coordinator General of International Affairs of Combat against Hunger, of Combat against Hunger, conducted in Haiti, in the fight against hunger and malnutrition through the program "Aba grangou", based on the program of the fight against hunger, "Fome Zero", established by the Brazilian government.

During this meeting, the First Lady highlighted the social living conditions of the Haitian family and the necessity of the implementation of strategies for this program, which not only wants to reduce by half the proportion of the Haitian population suffering from hunger by the end of 2016, but also to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by the horizon of 2020-2025.

Ms. Takagi, convinced of the Mission in which the First Lady of Haiti is committed, and convinced that the Brazilian experience is relevant in the fight against hunger, has pledged to Haiti, the strengthening of the Brazilian technical cooperation in this field. It was also agreed that a dozen Haitian technicians will take part at the end of August, in a training about the Brazilian experience in social development, and the fight against hunger.

In the late afternoon, the First Lady met with Mr. Graziano da Silva, Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and his Special Advisor, Mr. Carlos Den Hartog, about the organization of a round table (of concertation) "Aba Grangou-MARNDR-FAO-PAM", in order to define strategies and medium term programs, for the population for which they will be created.

Informed of the strategy of Aba Grangou, Mr. Graziano da Silva, who was also Director of Fome Zero, has decided to send soon to Haiti, a technical mission to assist the program of the First Lady, in the establishment of a Commission composed of members of civil society and the peasantry (especially local producers).


(Haiti Libre) -

At the invitation of the Deputy of the Constituency of Petit-Goâve, Stevenson Jacques Thimoléon, the office of the First Lady has sent this Thursday, June 21, 2012, a delegation composed of Gonzague Day, the Departmental Delegate of the West, a physician, and Ms. Mona Adam who led this mission, in order to make a diagnosis of the situation and problems of the Notre-Dame Hospital of Petit-Goâve...

The delegation, accompanied by Deputy Thimoléon, visited for more than three hours the different hospital departments. Mona Adam questioned Dr. Lesly Pierre, Director of the hospital, Joël Charles the administrator of this institution, as well as several patients.

Following this visit, Ms. Mona Adam deplored the state of the hospital. "[...] I can not even describe what I have just found, this hospital is dysfonctionel [...] gaps are evident; lack of technical staff, shortage of nurses, lack of equipment, lack of services [...] the rooms do not meet [health] standards. I will recommend in my report that urgent measures are taken in favor of Notre-Dame Hospital."

For his part, the Departmental Delegate of the West, has promised that the Government would soon improve the situation of health services for the population of Petit-Goâve.


(Haiti Libre) -

The Minustah proceeded to the handover of the renovated premises of the former base for the Senegalese Formed Police Unit (FPU) at Faugasse (South). This handover of the premises, to the Haitian authorities, was made ​​in the presence of the Government Commissioner of Les Cayes, departmental Directors, decentralized ministries of the South and the Head of the Regional Office of the Minustah.

Roosevelt Guerrier, the Secretary General of the Delegation of the South thanked the Minustah for "its willingness to assist the Haitian authorities to move forward," emphasizing that these renovated premises will offset the lack of space experienced by some decentralized ministries, such as the Departmental Directorates of Tourism and, soon, the Departmental Office of Culture.

Stating that the disengagement of some troops or police officers from certain regions of Haiti, comes in accordance with the Security Council resolution adopted in October 2011, the Head of Civil Affairs of the MINUSTAH indicated that after the bases of Port-Salut and Labordes, like that of Faugasse, should be delivered soon to the Haitian authorities.


(Eurasia Review) - By W. Alex Sanchez

Haitian President Michel Martelly finds himself in an increasingly difficult position on the military question. In mid-May, several former army officers met with Martelly and urged him to uphold his presidential campaign promise that, if elected, he would reintroduce the army. But this is one pledge the Haitian president should renege on. The Haitian military is notorious for its history of corruption, violence, and disrespect for human rights. If the army is reconstituted — which would be a worst-case scenario for Haiti — Washington should sharply restrict the security assistance it provides Port-au-Prince in the future.

A Brief History of Violence

Any analysis of the historical instability, corruption, and violence in Haiti must touch on the country’s infamous dictator, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who came to power in a 1956 military coup. The Duvalier family depended on the armed forces to remain in power for decades. “Baby Doc” Jean-Claude Duvalier, Francois’ son, became president in 1971 and ruled until 1986, when he fled the country amid protests and under U.S. pressure. A National Council of Government was formed, comprised of military officers, including General Henri Namphy and a number of civilians charged with facilitating the country’s return to democratic rule.

Haiti’s subsequent experiment with democracy was short-lived. In 1988 General Namphy overthrew the elected president, Leslie Manigat, and installed a civilian government under military control. Government control continued to switch between civilian and military leadership. In 1991, Brigadier General Raoul Cedras overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been elected the previous year. The country then witnessed a period of unrivaled brutality and the dire consequences of military rule. After several years of violence by the ruling junta, the military was pressured to relinquish control in 1994 amid fears of a U.S. military invasion (though the United States was criticized at the time for offering military leaders bribes, or “golden parachutes,” to resign). Ultimately, the Clinton administration deployed up to 20,000 Marines to oversee the return of pseudo-democracy, whereby Aristide was again nominally in control but hardly in a position to lead.

Nevertheless, even after the army was disbanded, former soldiers continued to sow instability, as exemplified by the 2004 violence that toppled President Aristide during his second presidential term. In March of that year, rebel leader Guy Philippe told journalists that he was the new head of Haiti’s military: “I am the chief…the military chief.” A former police chief from 1995 to 2000, Philippe had links to drug trafficking in the country and was allegedly among the masterminds of an attempted uprising in December 2001.

Why an Army?

Calls for the reconstitution of Haiti’s military have escalated considerably since the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake. The 7.2-magnitude quake struck the island just as Haiti was beginning to establish some kind of internal stability after Aristide’s 2004 overthrow and to prepare for congressional elections. Thousands died in the earthquake. The natural disaster exhausted the capabilities of the Haitian government as well as the capabilities of the UN Mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH). The challenges they faced immediately after the quake included dealing with internal security issues like looting, assembling security units to provide aid to civilians and to protect sensitive areas, and apprehending the 5,000 prisoners that had escaped from the national penitentiary, as well as neutralizing gangs and stemming the tide of street crime.

Even before the quake, Haiti suffered from a number of internal security issues, like drug trafficking and rampant corruption within the Haitian police force. It is unclear how widespread the consumption of cocaine and other illegal drugs is in Haiti, but the island of Hispaniola certainly serves as a major transit point for drugs coming from South America to the United States or Europe. In June 2005, Haiti’s former national police commander, Rudy Therassan, pleaded guilty to offering to protect Colombian cocaine shipments in the country. He was sentenced to almost 15 years in prison. Similarly, in early May 2007, the police in Port-de-Paix arrested nine individuals suspected of involvement in illicit drug trafficking, seizing more than 200 kilograms of cocaine.

The question remains: why should Haiti reinstitute a military force instead of investing in a better police force or a national constabulary? Countries like Panama and Costa Rica have achieved reasonable success in dealing with internal security issues despite their lack of militaries. Furthermore, considering the generally stable relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in recent years, where would an external security threat to Haiti originate? Interstate combat between the two countries remains highly implausible. In fact, after the earthquake struck, the Dominican Republic sent up to 150 troops to join MINUSTAH to help with rescue and relief operations. A February 2010 report in The Wall Street Journal noted that less than 48 hours after the earthquake struck, Dominican President Leonel Fernández met with then-Haitian President Rene Préval in the Haitian capital in a demonstration of solidarity.

To be fair, suggestions about reinstating the armed forces in Haiti have come not only from disgruntled former Haitian soldiers. Shortly after the 2010 earthquake struck, a former U.S. diplomat to Haiti, Ambassador William Jones, argued on CNN that disbanding the army “was a mistake because whenever you have a natural disaster such as this, the first thing we do is to call out the national guard. Well, there is no national guard in Haiti. There is no army. There is no force that can be deployed throughout Port-au-Prince to bring order. And without order it [will] be very, very difficult to coordinate the aid program.” Supporters of restoring the Haitian military also argue that it would help bolster the government’s internal control of the country, enforce the rule of law, provide security in the event of another disaster, and offer a source of employment and discipline to young Haitians.

The Need for Security

Reinstituting the military would be no easy task. Besides the political issues, there are basic logistical and financial components that must be overcome, something that the Canadian International Development Agency learned a decade ago. At the time, the Canadians were trying to train Haitian security forces at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) facilities in Regina, Saskatchewan. Speaking about the initiative in the mid-1990s, Timothy Donais, a Wilfrid Laurier University professor who has studied police reform in Haiti, explained to the Canadian National Post that you cannot simply provide six months of basic training to police officers, send them out into the street, and expect them to be police officers in the vein of the RCMP. He observed, “It’s easy to teach people the technical skills. It’s much harder to change the culture of a police organization.”

Moreover, if a Haitian military is reconstituted, the nation’s youth will be expected to make up its rank and file, but filling senior officer positions presents a greater challenge. One option may be to reinstate former officers who served until 1995 when the military was disbanded, but this would be an extremely risky move considering the former military’s propensity for coups.

In addition, Haiti remains a poor country, and unfortunately its economic situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. Hence, the government will have to focus its small budget on providing relief, reconstituting state services, and rebuilding infrastructure. A Haitian military — or a bigger police force, coast guard, or border patrol — could most likely come only from international aid, including the donation of equipment.

Haiti’s internal security issues and the possibility of future natural disasters make it a priority for the country to have well-trained and well-prepared security forces. But there is no logical reason to re-establish an army, as the training and weaponry soldiers require are simply not necessary for Haiti’s security needs. It would be much more advantageous for Haiti to devote its limited budget to improving the judiciary, the police, the coast guard, and special units, including border guards and prison security officials. There is reason to believe that the government is somewhat committed to this path. In late May, Reginald Delva, the secretary of state for public security and Mario Andresol, the director of the National Police, visited two specialized units of the National Police, CIMO and SWAT TEAM. The government officials promised new uniforms and vehicles, as well as the construction of new police stations, though it’s unclear when these promises can be fulfilled.

Armies are not trained for internal security, but rather for inter-state warfare. When they are deployed internally, human rights abuses usually occur. To patrol the streets of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, or Jeremie, Haiti does not need a soldier with a machine gun on every corner, but rather properly trained and equipped police that know the national laws, as well as a detective corps that can carry out investigative work. In addition, Haiti would greatly benefit from a larger coast guard to patrol the country’s territorial waters for drug traffickers and smugglers.

In addition, these specialized security forces would have the advantage of providing employment to thousands of Haitians, which is particularly important in a country where high unemployment has exacerbated crime levels.

The key challenge to developing an effective security force is not one of training and equipment, but of creating a chain of command that has integrity and is loyal to elected rulers. The last thing Haiti needs is an unreliable security force that could sow future instability and undermine Haiti’s already fragile democratic society.

The U.S. Role

American personnel deployed after the earthquake have long left Haiti and returned to the United States. The question that remains is how MINUSTAH and the Haitian police will work together to keep the country under control in coming years. Ongoing protests near the UN mission after an outbreak of cholera (apparently caused by UN peacekeepers), along with accusations of rape by Uruguayan peacekeepers, have further aggravated popular discontent with MINUSTAH.

It is unclear how long MINUSTAH will remain in Haiti, and there are signs that some donor countries, particularly Brazil, are losing interest in this operation. If MINUSTAH leaves Haiti, it will be up to the government in Port-au-Prince and its security forces to monitor the country, both internally and externally. It is unlikely that Haiti’s police alone can deal with these issues in the near future, which may encourage the Haitian government to yield to the pressure of former soldiers to reconstitute the army. Whatever the country decides, Port-au-Prince will have to rely on international aid.

Haiti is an independent nation and its government can carry out whatever security initiatives it sees fit, free from the intervention of foreign powers. Nevertheless, if the army is reconstituted, Washington should set strict limits on the kind of assistance it is willing to offer Port-au-Prince. For example, instead of military advisors, Washington could offer police advisors or decommissioned cutters and other vessels to improve the capabilities of Haiti’s coast guard. It would then be up to the Haitian government whether to accept or refuse this aid.

The United States has a controversial and problematic history with Haiti. But by limiting the amount of military-related aid it is prepared to give Port-au-Prince for internal stability, Washington would go a long way toward helping avoid future tensions in the troubled Caribbean state.

W. Alejandro Sánchez is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus and a research fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs where he focuses on international security and geopolitical issues. His personal blog can be found by clicking here.

About the author:

Foreign Policy in Focus (FPIF) is a “Think Tank Without Walls” connecting the research and action of more than 600 scholars, advocates, and activists seeking to make the United States a more responsible global partner. It is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.


(Montreal Gazette) - By Trenton Daniel, AP

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Haiti plans to relocate several hundred people from a flood-prone shantytown to an arid plain northwest of Port-au-Prince, a government official said Friday.

The architect of the move, Minister of Environment Joseph Ronald Toussaint, told a local radio station that up to 200 houses are readily available in the area of Morne Cabrit outside the capital. That isn't enough to move all the people who are at risk of major floods in the shanty above the capital but Toussaint said he was trying to figure out housing for the remaining people.

"This is a project that's meant to save lives," Toussaint told a reporter on the privately owned Radio Vision 2000.

The flood-protection effort to demolish about 450 homes to build channels and reforest the hillsides has angered some of the residents of two gigantic shantytowns who say they have no place to go.

The government plans sparked a demonstration on Monday as more than one thousand people criticized President Michel Martelly for falling short on his campaign promise to build homes following the 2010 earthquake. The protest was largely peaceful though some threw rocks at police, cars and bystanders.

An untold number of people in the hillside shanties of Morne L'Hopital and Jalousie, where many of the protesters lived, absorbed Haitians displaced by the powerful earthquake two years ago. Some moved into public plazas.

There were once as many as 1.5 million people living in displacement camps after the earthquake but that number has shrunk to under 400,000, the International Organization for Migration said this week. That number has decreased through a combination of rental subsidies to camp residents, forced removals by land owners and voluntary departures.

Martelly said he supports the idea of relocating people from the hillside shanties because their lives are at risk but added that he wasn't aware of the minister's plans, according to a local newspaper.

"Perhaps I was not aware of this decision," Martelly was quoted as saying in the Friday edition of Le Nouvelliste.

Despite the promise of housing, Donald Joseph of Morne L'Hopital said he had no interest in leaving the capital.

"This is not going to be good for me to pick up my families to move to Morne Cabrit," said Joseph, a 43-year-old carpenter. "Morne Desert is a desert, from I understand. I don't plan to move there, and I'm not moving there."


(Market Wire) - By Columbus Communications

FREEPORT, THE BAHAMAS - Columbus Communications Inc., a retail and wholesale telecommunications company, has partnered with Broken Earth, an assembly of health care practitioners from St. John's, Newfoundland, and Labrador, Canada, who responded with medical aid in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquakes, with a five-year commitment to continue their work of creating proper medical facilities, and also helping to train Haitian doctors to better deliver healthcare in their home country.

Brendan Paddick, chairman and CEO of Columbus Communications, said, "I have personally met with Broken Earth's senior leaders and have found them all to be of the utmost character. Their caring and giving spirit is infectious. This is a cause I've grown to believe in greatly, and Columbus is dedicating funds and services over an initial five-year period to ensure the programs and facilities established by Team Broken Earth are sustainable. Columbus will provide funding and support, among other things, to assist in the construction and equipping of a fully operational operating room in Haiti, In addition, funds will be directed towards the establishment of Chairs in Medicine at Memorial University's Faculty of Medicine to assist Haitian health care professionals to improve their skills so that they can transfer their new knowledge to the colleagues at home."

Team Broken Earth's mission is to provide ongoing direct medical care to those Haitians in need, to train Haitian doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to better provide care to their patients, to collect and supply needed medical supplies and equipment, and to establish and fund sustainable health care programs in rural areas of Haiti.

"We are excited to have Columbus Communications partner with Broken Earth in Haiti. We believe it is a strong step forward in the effort to create sustainable healthcare for the Haitian people. The devastation in Haiti has touched all our hearts and Team Broken Earth is proud to provide much needed medical relief while working to build a brighter future," said Dr. Andrew Furey one of Broken Earth's founders.

Broken Earth's task force has frequently traveled to Haiti since the disaster and has administered the much-needed health care to some 500+ patients a week. This task force includes doctors specializing in over 9 medical disciplines as well as a team of registered nurses who specialize in such areas as pediatrics, critical, acute and neonatal care.

Broken Earth also partnered with Project MediShare of the University of Miami's medical school, and is endeavoring to build a hospital in Haiti that will almost exclusively be managed and staffed by volunteer international health care professionals. With Columbus Communication's assistance the project will work on utilizing its newly commissioned Haiti to Florida subsea cable network to provide tele-medicine services, such as remote diagnostics, x-rays and CT scans.

About Columbus Communications:
Columbus Communications Inc. is a privately held diversified telecommunications company based in Barbados. The Company operates in Trinidad, Jamaica, Grenada and Curacao and provides digital cable television, broadband Internet, digital landline telephony under the brand name, FLOW and corporate data services under the brand Columbus Business Solutions. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Columbus Networks, the Company provides capacity and IP services, corporate data solutions and data center hosting throughout 23 countries in the greater Caribbean, Central American and Andean region. Through its fully protected, ringed submarine fiber optic network spanning close to 18,000 km and its 21,000 km terrestrial fibre and coaxial network, Columbus' 1,900 plus employees provide advanced telecom services to a diverse residential and corporate client base of close to 500,000 customers.

About Broken Earth:
Broken Earth is a team of physicians, nurses and physiotherapists from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada who have joined together to support relief efforts in Haiti. In January, 2010 a 7.0 earthquake, with more than 50 aftershocks, left Haiti in dire need of outside, volunteer medical assistance. Medical professionals from Newfoundland stepped in to help provide their expertise and help in the aftermath of one of the most devastating natural disasters in recent history. The team has become a tremendous force in Haiti, capable of caring for more than 500 patients per week.

Broken Earth provides direct, ongoing medical care to the people of Haiti with six medical relief efforts completed over the past two years. In addition to direct medical care, the organization works to train Haitian doctors, nurses and allied healthcare workers and collect and supply medication and medical supplies to this disaster-stricken area. The Broken Earth team is working to establish and fund sustainable programs throughout rural Haiti.


(Dominican Today) -

Santo Domingo - Haiti’s Tourism Minister sees her country becoming the Caribbean’s next major tourist destination but needs to forge an alliance with the neighboring Dominican Republic to learn from its vast experience.

Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin on Friday said, president Michel Martelly’s Administration regards tourism a cornerstone of its development policy, "because of its potential as an unrivalled source of new jobs, foreign currency, and overall progress for the country."

Speaking in the Caribbean Tourism Bourse (BTC) trade fair in Santo Domingo where Haiti is the guest of honor, the official said Port-au-Prince has laid the groundwork for a hospitality market which instils confidence in investors, and provide results in the short, medium and long term, which will create jobs, wealth and progress for Haiti.

To address this great task, Balmir said Haiti has to forge an alliance with its neighbor, who she calls “a mirror that we can see ourselves in."

She cited as an example, her government’s planned investments to expand the airports at Les Cayes, Cap Haitien and Jacmel, to receive direct international flights. “As written on our flag, union is strength, so by bridging the best of both countries, I'm sure we will have better opportunities to compete as a tourism destination in the Caribbean."


(Haiti Libre) -

The Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe, met Thursday, June 28, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives of the Economic Forum of the Private Sector of Affairs, around measures to be adopted in order to fighting against corruption, fraud and smuggling at the Haitian-Dominican border and to increase government revenue.

Other issues constituting a block to the smooth running of the Haitian economy were discussed. The Head of Government hopes for, in this perspective, an awakening citizen whose objective would be to accompany the State to address its primary mission: ensuring an efficient public service to the population. For this purpose, the involvement of the international community and of the Haitian private sector is crucial to carry out the struggle initiated by the Martelly-Lamothe government.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister convened, businessmen and businesswomen attending the meeting, to get more organized, in order to provide a joint and ordered response, against smuggling and tax fraud. This public-private partnership reflects a new era in the policy of change advocated by President Michel Martelly.

In conclusion, Laurent Lamothe said he will continue to raise awareness of the public national and international opinion on the necessity to support the efforts of the new implemented policies.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sewer Remodeling

We redesigned our septic tank covers. Notice the thick cement covers to the left of the picture. It took 4 of the older guys to manouever the lids off and they complained every time they had to do this. In order to make the process easier we built up the sewer base one block level and Ysmaille had his guys weld up a metal cover. Now we keep a padlock on it and check it periodically to monitor the level of the septic tank. It's fun to make improvements :)


(Dominican Today) -

Santo Domingo - A former Haiti diaspora minister on Thursday urged the Dominican and Haitian authorities to seek solutions to the border markets’ problems, and rebuked Haitian prime minister Laurent Lamothe’s announcement to shutter them as a measure to halt smuggling and generate more revenue for his country.

"Unilateral decisions on issues as sensitive and important to the island’s life have never been appropriate," said Edwin Paraison of the cross border markets, which according to NGOs move an estimated US$2.0 billion annually, but affirms also that it means US$500 million in losses for Port-au-Prince.

Nonetheless, the president of the Zile Foundation called Lamothe’s concerns over smuggling at the border as "legitimate", but warned it mustn’t ever be confused with goods in containers and from merchants at those markets.

In a statement to DT, Paraison noted that long before president Michael Martelly’s current administration, mayors of Haiti border towns have complained that the weekly markets only benefit the Dominican side, adding that their demand to stage them one day on each side is fair.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE – President Michel Martelly was on full damage control Thursday, distancing himself from plans to demolish 450 homes of a hillside slum in the capital. In an interview, the president said he may not have been aware of the decision, saying his government is there to build homes for people not destroy them.

President Martelly said he learned of Monday’s street protests while out of the country in Brazil for the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference. At this time, the Head of State says he suggested that the approach should be reviewed.

On Scoop FM Radio, (via Le Nouvelliste) Martelly said of the decision to demolish the homes:

”If the decision is correct, we cannot retreat. We have an Environment Minister who made the decision; maybe I was not aware. Maybe I should not have used the technique employed. We are a government that is here to build more houses for people.”

”The idea should not have been to mark houses for demolition. I think we should have first prohibited the uncontrolled construction.”

Indeed, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the area was restricted from construction. Lamothe said owners of the hundreds of homes on the hillside did not have proper documentation to build. But the homes were not built overnight. These shanties have been a part of Haiti’s landscape for nearly two decades.

President Martelly provided an approach he would have preferred. It is an approach that involves giving other homes to the hillside residents and giving them jobs, perhaps meaning in the Northern Industrial Park, 80 miles north in Caracol, expected to be open in November 2012.

”This is a state decision. Once these buildings are prohibited, there should have been a team that oversees that there are no homes under construction in the area. After, they should meet with the owners of the 100 homes involved – I was told about 100 homes – to tell them, first, we’ll give you another house.”

”Secondly, we will give you a job. If the husband is already working, it will be given to his wife, because there will be an industrial park where they will be relocated to.”

”Thirdly, accompaniments for children, playground, free schools…”

The Head of State said he has spoken with the Minister of the Environment on changing the approach:

”I told him to review the approach. However, we must work on the hill.”

”If necessary, I will enter into the dynamics of talking to people to raise awareness and reassure them. A government that came to construct can not demolish houses. The approach was perhaps bad."

"We cannot demolish the houses and put people on the street. We should never do that. President Martelly can talk to them, and it could happen any other way… "

On Monday, protests in the streets of upper Port-au-Prince were hostile to the Head of State. The crowds marched and chanted threats to burn down the home of President Martelly. Despite the pressure, Martelly is steadfast that work must be done on the hillside, and people must be moved who are in danger of flooding and mudslides, as well as residents at the bottom of the hill in the city.

The hillside residents were given 15 days to relocate, as their homes will be demolished. The space will be used to construct drainage channels aimed at curbing flooding in the city.

The residents were offered 25,000 HTG ($600 [US]) to be moved and another 100,000 HTG ($2,400 [US]) for the construction of new homes. Residents are requiring ten times that amount to relocate.


(Haiti Libre) -

Thursday, June 28, 2012, Gracia Junel, a detainee of the police station of Petit-Goâve, died from lack of health care. Many other prisoners, especially young people, are in poor health, and many are sick.

In the absence of a civil prison in Petit-Goâve, people are held in two cells at the police station. Several factors contribute to this deplorable situation:

- Lack of health care in the absence of a physician;

- Overcrowding: 160 prisoners are locked in rooms designed for 60 people;

- The lack of sanitary maintenance of premises;

- The poor physical condition of inmates, linked to serious nutritional deficiency.

It should be noted that the majority of prisoners come from Léogâne, Grand-Goâve and especially Trouin. Most are in prolonged pretrial detention, some for several months and were never heard by a judge.

For their part, the police officers of the police station are worried for their health, because of the deplorable sanitary condition of the premises, odors and the risk of contamination.

It is urgent that the authorities address this situation and that the construction of a civil prison be built with more room. The police station of Petit Goâve is unable to receive other inmates...

According to the latest information received by the editorial staff of HaitiLibre, on the insistence of the police commissioner of Petit-Goâve, Mr. Walman Cetoute, the government commissioner of the jurisdiction of Petit-Goâve, Me Jean Alix Civil, 6 detainees are seriously ill for several months, and who had been detained for theft (banana, cement, beef) have been released, 8 others have been rushed to the Hopital Notre-Dame of Petit-Goâve this Friday, June 29, 2012 around 7am.


(Haiti Libre) -

The 9 members of the Supreme Council of Judicial Power (CSPJ) will be installed Tuesday, July 3, informed President Michel Martelly, who stated that the invitations will be sent to members this weekend at the latest.

Me Carlos Hercules, barrister of the Bar Association welcomes this news. "This is great news that the Presidency has indicated that next week the CSPJ will take office. We say bravo, and we say 'hats off' to the presidency even if we do not agree on how this announcement was made [...] This is the first time that the Judiciary will be independent, and we hope that its 9 members, will have enough leadership to conduct themselves as a real power, which will not dependent of the legislative or executive power [...] to make the administration of justice, the way it should be done." The barrister does not hide a certain frustration, because of the fact that the Head of State does not respect the procedure by inviting only 5 of the 9 members to this announcement. Without being able to explain this behavior of the President of the Republic, he believes that it would have been more correct for the Head of State, to invite the 9 members to make this announcement, or just the President of the CSPJ.

For his part, President Martelly said he was proud "to be the first Haitian President that will establish the CSPJ, the Permanent Electoral Council (CEP) and the Constitutional Council, institutions that should allow the institutionalization of democracy in Haiti."

Concerning the formation of the new CEP, the Head of State indicated: "At the executive level, we are already discussing the choice of our 3 representatives. Once the CSPJ is installed, we will ask it to appoint its' representatives." About the potential difficulties, that could meet the parliamentarians in the appointment of 3 representatives [2 in the Lower House and one in the Senate], he invited the parliamentarians to have an awareness of the reality, and to appoint their representatives to the CEP, to promote the organization of elections. Insisting, that the 9 new members of the CEP, are credible personalities, free of any suspicion, who "will stand out from their personal interests, and will understand the necessity of working today for the country's future, and allow the Haitian people to have a better tomorrow."

The President took the opportunity to confirm that the executive will have candidates in the upcoming senatorial elections in order to achieve a majority in Parliament. "We will identify the candidates; those we will support are those who are able to win the election, and who will not let us down along the way after their election."


(PRNewswire) - By Ministere Interieur Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Solar streetlights are being installed throughout Haiti as part of an innovative program that aims to catalyze the decentralization of government services. The Minister of Interior and the Collectivities, Thierry Mayard Paul, has launched a program to mount lights in towns such as Leogane, St Marc, Miragoane, and Ft. Liberte that will soon expand throughout Haiti. Under the auspices of Katye Pam Poze (My Neighborhood is Calm), the installation has brought light for the first time to town squares, marketplaces and streets in a country where most citizens have no regular access to electricity.

Minister Mayard Paul says that the Katye Pam Poze program “aims to improve the living conditions of thousands of Haitians through simple, inexpensive measures. My intention is to continue until the town squares in at least one city in each of Haiti’s ten departments are lit at night.”

Haiti suffers from the lowest coverage in the Western Hemisphere where barely 12.5% of the population has regular access to electricity. The country has an installed capacity of only 270 watts and nearly all of it is generated by three large thermal plants. Alternative energy sources in Haiti have been contemplated for several years and more so following the January 12, 2010 earthquake.

Citizens in the towns where the lights were installed claim that they feel much safer at night. A man in Leogane whose motorcycle broke down on the very night the lamps were being installed said, “thanks to the lights the mechanics were able to work very late to fix my bike in a zone that was long considered very unsafe.”

Local officials are also pleased with the arrival of the lamps. According to Alexis Santos, the Mayor of Leogane, “the lights allow residents to frequent areas that they had rarely visited at night because they were so unsafe.”

Haiti is not alone, similar solar lighting projects are being tried the world over. In India the government has installed solar lamps in 54 villages throughout the country. More recently the Mexican government installed solar lamps just in time for a major international gathering. Solar lamps have proven to be an effective way to respond quickly to citizens who have both energy and safety issues affecting their quality of life.


(Alaska Dispatch) - By Jacob Kushner

LES CAYES — For years, the road from here to the coastal city of Jérémie has been paved with good intentions, but never with asphalt.

Well-meaning international organizations and donors built schools in the villages that dot the roadside, purchased goats for children to raise and sell and donated supplies for home repair. But those projects came and went, barely making a dent in the region's gripping poverty. All the while, the road itself deteriorated into a 62-mile stretch of rocks and mud, making travel difficult and sometimes deadly.

Last week 40 passengers were killed when their bus overturned trying to cross the flooded Riviére Glace — Ice River —that dissects the passage, according to government figures from the incident.

Now, the passage known as National Route 7 is in the middle of a $142 million development project that in many ways is a model of the successful, long-term development Haiti desperately needs.

GlobalPost set out to find what insight this road can offer the myriad of small reconstruction projects underway here and throughout Haiti that are largely failing to bring about lasting change despite billions of dollars in post-earthquake reconstruction aid.

The journey begins with the history of the road and the lives of its travelers.

Five years ago, the trek through the mountains that separate Jérémie from the city of Les Cayes and Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince would take a rural farmer seven hours to travel by public truck — on a good day.

During the rainy season though, the truck might get stuck in deep mud multiple times along the way, or break down altogether. If that happened, your vegetables might spoil while you slept in the shade of the vehicle, waiting for a replacement part to slowly make its way up from Les Cayes.

If you were fortunate enough to make it to your destination — a market in Port-au-Prince — with some of your products intact, chances are you would have spent most of your earnings to pay the cost of transport, leaving little with which to feed your family or pay your children’s school fees.

Now, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Canadian government are rapidly changing all that. National Route 7 is only two-thirds complete and yet already it's cut the travel time between the two cities in half. The cost of traveling the road by bus or truck has gone down because more drivers are willing to make the journey, which requires far less fuel than it used to because the road is smoother.

Subsistence farmers who used to stack their yams, bananas and carrots along the road and wait for passing customers instead journey to weekly markets in nearby towns, which are becoming crowded with new vendors.

“I’ve been selling here forever,” said Jane Bazil, a 30-year-old vegetable grower and mother of eight who depends upon the market in the town of Duchity to sell her crops. “More people come now — come to sell, to buy. With the road today you can make it here in three hours. It used to take five.”

But this road isn’t being built with any of the $10.2 billion in aid pledged to by donor countries to help Haiti rebuild from the earthquake. The project started in 2008, two years before the disaster that killed tens of thousands of people and sent many fleeing cities back to rural areas like this one. The road’s impact may last far longer than the short-term aid projects that are sometimes riddled with corruption and waste — pitfalls on Haiti’s own road to recovery.

Wrong Turns

The are many such failures: the US Agency for International Development (USAID) recently spent $2 million US taxpayer dollars to build a temporary home for Haiti’s Parliament, but the agency failed to furnish the building, which required legislators to draw three-quarters of a million dollars from the nation’s small public treasury to finish the job.

And in the year following the earthquake, USAID spent $140 million on a food aid program that helps American farmers but has been blamed for undercutting Haitian producers who can’t compete with foreign food imports. The amount spent on that program is nearly identical to the $142 million road project that most Haitians say is helping, not hurting, Haiti’s rural population.

“Haitians think the NGOs are like the government — they absorb the money and there is no service,” said Leslie Voltaire, an urban planner who advised the government’s post-earthquake reconstruction plan. “There aren’t many NGOs involved in big infrastructure like roads or ports — nobody’s doing that.”

The comprehensive reconstruction plan that Voltaire worked on promoted a strategy of decentralization, moving people out of overcrowded urban centers like Port-au-Prince that became death traps when the earthquake hit. Instead, the plan asks donors to encourage development in smaller urban centers and rural areas.

“We invested a lot in infrastructure outside of Port-au-Prince,” said Ronald Baudin, finance minister under René Préval — Haiti’s president at the time of the quake.

Funding from international institutions like the IDB, Pan American Health Organization and the United Nations routinely goes to long-term and often rural projects like this one.

The IDB is currently implementing $245 million worth of transportation projects in Haiti, including National Route 7. The World Bank is funding approximately $30 million in transportation development including road re-paving in fiscal year 2012 alone, and the European Union is funding a $53 million road from Haiti’s second largest city, Cap Haitien, down to Port-au-Prince.

But Haiti's Interim Recovery Commission, charged with approving all publicly funded reconstruction projects, allocated only 20 percent of the $2.38 billion it received from donor nations exclusively toward improving Haiti's transportation infrastructure.

USAID allocated only $113 million (7.5 percent) of its total $1.5 billion in post-earthquake funding to rehabilitate roads and ports, among other development projects.

And unlike institutional aid, spending by NGOs and individual donors continues to focus on either short-term projects like debris removal, temporary services for people living in camps, or house construction. Little of that aid reaches Haiti’s southwestern peninsula where National Route 7 is being built.

Of a sample 343 reconstruction aid projects nationwide totaling more than $408 million, only 16 projects worth $1.5 million (0.3 percent) were being spent exclusively in the two regions through which the road passes, despite them being home to 15 percent of the Haiti’s population, according to data mapped by Interaction, a coalition of American NGOs.

Road Trip

A trip along the road reveals that even some of these projects are failing to achieve long-term progress. Slowly, a motorcycle makes its way along a dirt path leading to the village of Saut-Matherine, home to several hundred rural Haitians who live in simple mud and clay homes. Last year the American NGO Heifer International donated cement and sand to dozens of families in the village to repair or rebuild their houses that had been damaged in the earthquake. Heifer’s masons decided how much cement and sand each family would need, and the organization oversaw delivery of the specified amounts.

But today, many of those homes remain half-built and unlivable. They have no roofs and often the cement block walls reach only four or five feet from the dirt ground. That's because many families ran out of materials before the work was finished.

“They said it would be enough to build the structure of the house, but it wasn’t,” said Elirese Clirgé, a 50-year-old who now lives with her husband and 10 children in a single, 12-foot by 12-foot room constructed using Heifer’s materials. Outside a few cinder blocks mark the base of a second room Clirgé began to construct before she ran out of cement.

“I don’t have any money to finish this,” she said.

Her neighbor, 70-year-old Regulus Tilus, built the walls of his home two-thirds of the way up before he ran out of materials to complete them and build a roof.

“They said it was supposed to help. It did help me get started, but I wish they would help finish it,” he said.

Like most short-term reconstruction projects taking place in the communities along this rural road, this one too began with the best of intentions. Wilbert Georges, Heifer’s coordinator for the region, said the organization hoped to quickly invest money there so residents could rapidly repair their homes before the coming rainy and hurricane seasons.

But he said some residents ran out of construction materials because they chose to reconstruct their home using cinder block rather than the mud and cement mix that was the norm for most homes in the area.

“The idea was to rebuild their house in the same way. But many started to build a different sort of house,” he said. “If a person’s house fell, if one person wanted block, then they all wanted a house like that.”

The residents of Saut-Matherine question why Heifer only set out to help them build back their homes in the same, unstable fashion that caused them to collapse in the first place instead of investing in standard, cinderblock homes.

The half-finished houses seem an apt symbol of the failure of patch-up aid projects that contrast with the visible progress of the new road being constructed nearby.

To date, IDB has completed 14 miles of National Route 7 with asphalt paving, drainage ditches and other civil works like small bridges. Haiti has only about 2,100 miles of roads according to the IDB, compared with more than 12,000 in the neighboring Dominican Republic.

“IDB investment projects are by definition long-term undertakings and they always include money for capacity building,” said Peter Bate, an IDB spokesman. “The project is connecting a potentially very productive region of Haiti with the rest of the country.”

The Brazilian construction company that’s building the road, OAS, employed 745 people last year, 90 percent of them Haitians. Unskilled laborers earn only minimum wage — $5 per day — but workers say they’re appreciative of any wage at all in a region that desperately lacks jobs.

Rough Patches

The work hasn’t always gone smoothly. In April 2011, residents who say their vegetable gardens were ruined by debris from the construction process barricaded the road with rocks to stop company vehicles in protest of a delay in being compensated for the damage, which was the responsibility of the Haitian Ministry of Public Works.

Near one of these roadblocks, 70-year-old Elimene De Bois sat in the cargo space of a large truck, sweating in the mid-day heat.

“We left Monday, but the truck broke down,” said De Bois. It was Wednesday. “My money is all gone, and I’m hungry.”

De Bois says she paid the driver $12.50 for the trip to Port-au-Prince plus $4 for each bag of charcoal and grapefruit she brings — an expensive trip considering charcoal sells for only $15 to $20 per bag at market, according to the World Food Program.

“We had a flat tire because the road isn’t good,” said the truck’s driver. “The road is still dangerous. There are accidents.”

Sometimes, those accidents are deadly. The Rivière Glace, which all vehicles must traverse, becomes perilous when the water rises after heavy rains and has claimed dozens of lives over the years. Just last week, it engulfed a passenger bus, killing approximately 40 people according to Haiti's Ministry of Civil Protection, although the bus driver says only eight died.

In August 2008, 14 people died at the same spot when their bus overturned in high waters during a tropical storm.

The river isn't the only peril on the road. In March 2011, a bus full of people crashed into a roadblock, killing nine and injuring 24 more.

To those who have lived in the region their entire lives and remember such tragedies, National Route 7 is a long time coming. They hope the new road and new bridge over the Rivière Glace will at last allow them to travel without risking their lives.

“People have been born and died wanting this,” says 90-year-old Deubemi Bazile, who sits at a small wooden table along the road in the town of Duchity, picking green beans from their pods. She says she used to sell four pounds of the beans for just 30 gourde, less than one dollar. Now she charges the equivalent of four or five dollars because merchants can sell them at faraway urban markets where they draw a better price.

A 40-minute hike south into the mountains from where Bazile sits de-podding beans, Resnel Pierre Louis weeds in his 300 square-foot garden of green onions and cabbage, which he rents from a landowner for $25 per year.

“In Haiti, everything depends on transport. When the hurricanes come, we can’t get to our fields and the crops flood,” he said.

Beyond its effects on local agriculture, the road is also connecting residents to basic healthcare and Haiti’s justice system for the first time. A police station finally opened last year in the town of Duchity halfway between the two cities, and a judicial office down the road now handles personal property, land tenure and other legal cases so residents don’t have to truck — or sometimes, walk — the 20 miles to Les Cayes, also home to the nearest full-service hospital.

Pierre Louis Jean Jacques, who works for the Brazilian construction company directing traffic on the road, hopes the new road will attract more foreign aid projects here by making the area more easily accessible.

“There will be more people traveling,” he said. “We’ll have a lot of visitors, whites, NGOs.”

But to many Haitians, NGOs remain decidedly focused on projects that are either short-term in scope or focused around Port-au-Prince, far from Haiti’s rural southwest.

“Those (regions) have been isolated for 200 years,” said Voltaire. “It’s a big change in their lives. I think we need more roads, more infrastructure, more energy — that’s what they should prioritize.”


(Haiti Libre) -

As part of its action plan, Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin, the Minister of Tourism is working to put in place 'welcoming facilities' for tourists.

"[...] When you arrive somewhere, in any country, you have what is called a tourist guide for the country, in which you have a summary that tells you if you go to one place, here's what you can visit, and what you will find. When you arrive at this place, it is necessary to have a management unit, that the place is clean, there are restrooms, catering facilities etc...

What have we decided? [...] The Ministry of Tourism has an action plan that it is implementing now. We have 113 million gourdes in the budget that was passed. An initial disbursement of 45 million gourdes was made. We are taking the majority of this amount for promotion. As you know, we launched the new campaign of promotion and image change for Haiti as a destination, and we participated in several fairs in North America, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. We have made great progress in promotion [...]

The other important aspect is training. You can not say that you are a tourist destination, if the reception staff is not trained. I must tell you that the biggest advantage for a destination, what makes it competitive and attractive compared to another, is the service. Therefore, we must also be able to offer good service to tourists [...] that's why right now we are implementing a program in Les Cayes, since this weekend, for a continuous training of 500 employees of the tourism sector [...]

Another important axis of the Ministry is to establish not only 'welcoming centers' in the region, but the first welcome of a tourist, is at the airport. The Ministry of Tourism will have a 'welcoming center' at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport, an information point so that each visitor who comes, can find information where he can go with a tourist map. In this regard, we had no map,... I placed the order and we will have them by late July [...]

The Ministry made a collaboration with agents who offer tours. You can see a nice picture of the Citadelle, but if you do not know how to get there... So, at the stand of the Ministry, each agent will have a place for the promotion of their tours and provide information on the excursions, sightseeing and activities.

Now, the role of the Ministry is to ensure that in these sites, there is a management unit and a 'welcoming unit'; toilet blocks, benches and tables so that people can eat and that the space is well equipped [...]"


(Defend Haiti) -

NEW YORK - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrived in Haiti on Thursday to participate in meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative. Clinton's organizations accumulated to bring a number of loans and a grant for development in Haiti.

Digicel CEO Denis O'Brien will also be in the country participating in the dialogue.

A communication from the New York, USA based Clinton Foundation said the former President would travel to Ile a Vache and will visit the Abaka Bay resort.

At the resort, representatives from the Kellogg Foundation and Habitat for Humanity will make a presentation.

On a visit to Jacmel, Clinton will meet with leaders of ISPAN.

On Friday, President Clinton will lead his delegation to the Sans Souci Palace, one of Haiti's historical landmarks and he will visit the airport under construction in Cap Haitien and end his tour in Labadee.

Clinton Bush Fund Puts $2.6 Million in Haiti

Clinton's visit comes ahead of an announcement that $2.6 million [US] would be put in Haiti for projects and loans.

In Jacmel, a hotel owned by SIMACT Tourism has received $350K for renovations. This hotel is reported to be looking to join Choice Hotels International.

A grant of $460K will go to Regis College nursing schools and $1 million in loans will be made available through the Haitian development bank. About a half million dollars will be loaned to a commercial construction firm.


(Haiti Libre) -

The Government of Haiti, in collaboration with the World Bank, has proceeded from 27 to 28 June 2012 to the Joint Review of portfolios of 16 projects and programs financed by the World Bank in Haiti.

More than a hundred representatives of the World Bank, the Haitian government, and development partners attended the meeting. Present on the government's side were present the ministers ensuring the supervision of projects and representatives of project management units. On the World Bank's side were sector managers, and a dozen specialists, and project managers in Haiti. Representatives of technical and financial partners of Haiti also participated in the discussions.

After two days of discussions between executives of the public administration and project teams, an action plan has been proposed to improve aid effectiveness, and increase the real impacts on people's lives. This plan must periodically be verified by the Government and the World Bank. The workshop was held under the theme "work fast and efficiently, a mutual responsibility".

The portfolio review is a very important step for the Government and the World Bank in the analysis of the performance of ongoing operations and in preparation, as well as for the identification of constraints faced by the implementation teams. This workshop is an excellent opportunity to go further in the effectiveness of aid, declared Ms. Jean Marie, Minister of Economy and Finance at the opening ceremony. "It aims to capitalize on the positive results achieved in the implementation of various projects and programs, to identify problems in the proper execution of projects, and propose solutions." The Minister was accompanied by Ms. Gauthier, Minister of Planning and External Cooperation, and the Special Envoy of the World Bank, Mr. Abrantes.

The review focused on a portfolio of 14 projects financed by IDA and two major trust funds, totaling 518 million U.S. dollars. Current performance of the portfolio is considered as largely satisfactory, but could be improved to maximize the perspectives of success of its development objectives.

The main recommendations are :

Strengthen the culture of results

Strengthen the capacity of financial management and procurement in project management units

Improve communication between ministries, project coordinators and the Bank

Create platforms for sharing knowledge

The World Bank fully supports the approach based on the results of the Government in order to quickly produce tangible results for the people of Haiti. "We hope this joint portfolio review will help us to operationalize the Government's objectives and maximize what can be achieved through the special allocation of IDA to Haiti," concluded Mr. Abrantes. "Accelerating the implementation of projects to achieve these objectives is a mutual responsibility."