UK Prioritises Killing Over Aid To Haiti

From SU

Michael Burke:- The donors conference in New York has now seen pledges of $5.3bn in aid to Haiti.

Unfortunately, there is a long history of broken promises arising from international donor conferences. Maybe that is why Britain promised absolutely nothing at all.

The Times justifies the decision here, arguing that money is going to Afghanistan and Pakistan

In fact the NGOs estimate that around $7bn in aid is requirid immediately, simply to return the country’s housing and infrastructure to pre-earthquake level, let alone provide any real development assistance.

In attempting to justify the decision to provide no new funds at the conference, Mike Foster, the Overseas Development Minister, said that Britain had pledged £20 million for initial emergency relief and had donated £33 million going through the European Commission, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Mr Foster also said that Britain’s £29 million funding this year for the UN mission in Haiti although Britain is obliged to pay for these ‘peacekeeping operations’, which existed long before the earthquake. The displeasure of the donors was marked by a refusal to grant British officials speaking rights at the press conference that followed.

Reports indicate that the British Treasury has blocked any payments, even though the international development budget is said to be one of those ‘ring-fenced’ from cuts. Ring-fenced it may be, but it appears that in boosting payments to both Pakistan and Afghanistan it is increasingly a tool of foreign policy aggression. This combination of reduced aid to the needy and increased militarisation of the Aid budget is clearly a co-ordinated foreign policy decision, presumably taken by the press’s favourite Labour Leader, David Milliband.

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200,000 Dead, But Haiti Is A Business Opportunity

Haiti’s misery: good news for big business
Raul Connolly

There has been much ink spilled in the corporate press about the number of dollars and soldiers being committed to Haiti by “the international community”, but as a January 20 US ABC News headline bluntly put it: “In rebuilding Haiti, opportunity knocks and companies profit.”

More than 200,000 Haitians may already be dead as a consequence of the January earthquake, but that hasn’t stopped corporate hyenas looking for a profit — both in rebuilding Haiti’s infrastructure and the long-term exploitation of the country.

‘Reforms’

In a January 16 New York Times op-ed, James Dobbins, a former special envoy to Haiti under President Bill Clinton, spied an “opportunity to accelerate oft-delayed reforms”. Examples of reforms, Dobbins wrote, include linking money for repairing the country’s telecommunications system “to breaking up or at least reorganizing the government-controlled telephone monopoly”.

“The same goes with the Education Ministry, the electric company, the Health Ministry and the courts. Repair or replace the buildings, by all means, but also insist on fundamental reforms in their management.”

The purpose of these steps is laid bare in Haiti: From Natural Catastrophe to Economic Security, a report prepared for the UN by Oxford University economist Paul Collier: “From the important perspective of market access Haiti is now the world’s safest production location for garments.

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Help Haiti- Drop The Debt

An international petition has been circulated for the dropping of Haiti’s foreign debt. For an explanation of why this is a crucial move at this time, and why the debt is illegitimate and part of the exploitation of Haiti for decades, read this article by Eric Toussaint and Sophie Perchellet entitled: Haiti’s odious debt

Petition:

Dear Finance Ministers, IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and bilateral creditors, As Haiti rebuilds from this disaster, please work to secure the immediate cancellation of Haiti’s $1 billion debt and ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the form of grants, not debt-incurring loans.

Add your name
here

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The Real News- Haiti: Guns or food?

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Need Or Nationality?

U.S. military rescuers searching through the rubble of Haiti’s earthquake-crushed buildings have found no American survivors in the last two days and are now contemplating moving their efforts from seeking the living to recovering the dead.

This raise the inevitable questions, if US survivors were prioritised, to what detriment was that to non US survivors? Was need or nationality prioritised?

PS. Also see Nelson Valdés on rescue priorities in Haiti @ Machetera

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Aid?

Photo BBC

When all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail

We Are Being Lied To About Haiti To Justify The Militarised Response

Both the US and UN have terrible histories in Haiti, they are approaching this, with the US leading as a security issue and corporate media are following, but even then when you read carefully they fail to substantiate the chaos/looting meme beyond violent police reactions, that is very familiar if you cast your mind back to post Katrina coverage. Real grassroots efforts by relief workers without an agenda paint a very different picture-

In today’s earliest hours, Dr. Evan Lyon recounted his reactions to PIH staff in Boston. He spent his first twelve hours in Port-au-Prince driving around the city identifying places in need so that PIH could pursue a more decentralized approach to emergency medical care delivery today. He and other PIH leadership forged important relationships with the hospital administration at the University Hospital (HUEH) where PIH has partnered with the Ministry of Health to pursue a fully coordinated approach to restoring of services for the thousands of patients awaiting care there. And together with the PIH logistics team and Dr. Joia Mukherjee, he helped evacuate four of the most in need patients and a guardian from Port-au-Prince to Philadelphia for urgent care. We hope his words will give you all who are supporting this relief effort a small window into what it is like to be in Port-au-Prince now.

Sent on January 17, 2010, 3:34AM by Dr. Evan Lyon of PIH

can’t get through much now but beyond the horror, one very striking reality is that things are totally peaceful. we circulated in PAP in the middle of everything until just now. everywhere. no UN. no police. no US marines and no violence or chaos or anything. just people helping each other. drove past the main central park in PAP where at least 50K people must be sleeping and it was almost silent.

people cooking, talking, some singing and crying. people are kind, calm, generous to us and others. even with hundreds lying on the ground, open fractures, massive injuries of all kinds.

there are few dead bodies on the street. stench is everywhere. the city is changed forever.

we had a late day opportunity to evacuate 4 patients to the US. these may be the first haitian nationals allowed to leave for the US. but martinique has taken over 200. the DR has taken many many more. so we circulated in PAP looking for urgent cases. found hundreds but picked up the 4 to get out, hopefully to philadelphia. open fractures, gangrene, one 4 year old boy with a leg broken in 3 places, a minor head wound, and now 4 days of sleeping outside with IV fluid and maybe some pain meds. probably none.

at the airport, we drove onto the tarmac to meet the air ambulance. surrounded by marines and UN, massive weapons. a humvee with a gunner turret at the top drove by. the noise from the large transport planes was deafening. us citizens and haitian american citizens leaving by the hundreds on US planes. and our small team of haitian and american docs evacuating a drop in the bucket. my ears are still ringing from the noise of it all.

in contrast, port au prince is silent. no current. no car traffic. people sleeping in the streets but little else. beside the impossible weight and tragedy of this city completely devastated, one lasting impression was the stillness of the city. in shock, tragically sad, but quiet. so good to get away from the airport.

sleeping tonight in the house of a dear PIH friend and doctor. attending to neighbors here and able to rest. safety and the work is with our sisters and brothers in this beautiful, proud, and strong nation.

the safest and best way to be here and help is with our colleagues and friends. wonderful to be in the city, away from the airplanes, and working shoulder to shoulder with people we know and love and will continue work with to mourn, assist, and rebuild this special country.


in the photo you see the first time operating of any kind possible at the main general and academic center.

for press / outreach strategy, we might highlight the generosity and getting it done kindness of the air ambulance team. they also left us all the supplies they had on board – water, meds, IV material, blankets, food.

goodnight everyone. love. evan.

Donate to PIH here.

(Ht2 Qlipoth & Jay)

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Donate To Haiti Relief

Lots of ways here or Disasters Emergency Committee Haiti Earthquake Appeal or more grassroots efforts- Partners in Health or Haiti Emergency Relief Fund or Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP).

Also demand your govts stop deportations of Haitians and release them from migrant jails, in the US case grant Temporary Protected Status, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano temporarily halted deportations but that is all so far (ht2 Nezua).

Update: Temporary Protected Status has now been granted.

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Haiti Links

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) donate here.

Or

SOA Watch is joining other Latin America and Caribbean Solidarity and human rights groups in raising funds for food and water, health and shelter relief for those affected by the earthquake and for community re-building efforts. To contribute to the Haiti earthquake relief, click here to donate online [Paypal], call us with your credit card information (202) 234 3440 or send a check or money order with “Haiti” in the memo field to SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017

In the UK:
British Red Cross

Christian Aid

Oxfam

Save the Children

Plan International

CAFOD

Mercy Corps

Tearfund

CARE

Disasters Emergency Committee Haiti Earthquake Appeal

Partners in Health

In the US:
American Red Cross

Unicef USA

These organisations also have ways to donate:
International Red Cross

International Medical Corps

Medecins Sans Frontieres

World Food Programme

Concern Worldwide

ActionAid

Avaaz

V-Day’s Haiti Rescue Fund

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Haiti Toll 793

Four major storms that pounded Haiti in August and September killed 793 people and left more than 300 others missing, authorities said Friday.

Haitian Civil Protection announced the new figures in a dramatic surge upward from their previous estimate of 326 dead on September 11 after the passing of Tropical Storm Fay and hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike.

According to the new data, “793 people were killed 466 of them in the city of Gonaives alone, the hardest hit by the storms, while there are 310 people unaccounted for and 548 injured,” said civil protection spokeswoman Alta Jean-Baptiste

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Haiti- More Than 600 Dead

(AFP) – Hurricane Ike took aim at Cuba Sunday after leaving 20 people dead in Haiti, where fatalities from a succession of powerful storms in the past few weeks now tops 600. Ike was downgraded Sunday from a Category Four hurricane to a still potentially devastating Category Three, as Cuba evacuated hundreds of thousands in a frantic bid to evade the storm’s fury.

But the immediate concern was its effect on Haiti, where a humanitarian crisis was unfolding after flooding from Ike and previous storms Hanna and Gustav left around 600 people dead and thousands in desperate need of food, clean water and shelter.

With winds near 215 kilometers (135 miles) per hour, the storm’s outer bands lashed Haiti’s vulnerable northwest coast with torrential rain. Hundreds of bodies were found in flood-prone Gonaives, a town of 350,000 in northwestern Haiti, after a five-meter (16-foot) wall of water and mud engulfed much of the town. The storm followed on the heels of Hanna, last week’s massive storm.

United Nations peacekeepers on Saturday evacuated several thousand residents from Gonaives, a local official said, but thousands more are still awaiting relief. Some 650,000 Haitians have been affected by the flooding, including 300,000 children, and the task of delivering crucial aid has been complicated by dismal transport conditions, according to UNICEF. Officials said 200,000 people have been without food and clean water, many for four days.

Haiti’s agricultural sector was ruined by the US, so the least America could do is pay back some of those profits in this time of need. And release the money promised for water projects-

A coalition of human rights groups has accused the US government of withholding money intended to provide clean drinking water to Haiti as leverage to push for regime change in the country. In 1998, the Inter-American Development Bank approved $54 million to help the Haitian government revamp the country’s water and sanitation systems. Ten years later, the water projects have yet to be started, because the US government aggressively attempted to block the disbursement of the loans. According to the report, the US government derailed the projects in 2001 at a time when it was pushing for the ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s democratically elected president. Aristide was eventually overthrown in 2004 in a US-backed coup.

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