2010 Haiti earthquake

Report Accuses Red Cross of Failed Haiti Relief Efforts

June 4, 2015

by AQ Online

A joint report by ProPublica and NPR released Wednesday alleges that the Red Cross “repeatedly failed” in its efforts to provide adequate support to Haiti after the country’s 2010 earthquake. Among other shortcomings, the report says the aid group only built six houses, despite announcing two high-profile housing projects and raising nearly $500 million in the earthquake’s aftermath.

The investigation—which includes field studies in Haiti, interviews with Haitian officials and former Red Cross employees, and transcripts of internal memos and emails—found the organization’s claims that it has housed 130,000 Haitians to be false. Among other allegations, the report says the Red Cross consistently used its earthquake recovery efforts to raise funds—which ultimately exceeded the amounts actually needed for the group’s efforts on the ground—and then failed to be sufficiently transparent in how those funds were used.

Responding to the investigation’s allegations, the Red Cross released a statement Wednesday, saying that it was “disappointed” by NPR and ProPublica’s reporting, citing a “lack of balance, context and accuracy” which it believes is characteristic of the multiple critical pieces about the group that ProPublica has published in recent months.

On its impact in Haiti, the group said it has helped more than 100,000 people move into “safe and improved housing” and “continues to meet the needs of the Haitian people” despite challenges arising from “changes in government, lack of land for housing and civil unrest.” In its statement, the Red Cross did not cite specific examples of its funding or projects, nor did it address the NPR/ProPublica claims that large amounts of funding were lost to overhead and management costs, accusations that conflict with claims from the Red Cross’ CEO that 91 percent of donations go to help Haitians.

In addition to its statement, the Red Cross released a fact sheet on their website listing what it calls “myths” about its recovery process in Haiti and referring readers to its Haiti Assistance Program.

Tags: 2010 Haiti earthquake, Red Cross, Natural Disasters

Book Review: Haiti Uncovered

January 16, 2015

by Johanna Mendelson Forman

When’s that last time you talked about Haitian cuisine? When people talk about Haiti, they often focus on the grim figures.  It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Three-quarters of Haitians live on less than US$2 per day, and half of the population earns less that US$1 per day.  The country ranks 161st out of 187 countries in the 2012 United Nations Human Development Index. And this week marked the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that leveled much of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Yet the country is home to rich culinary traditions, as varied as the Republic’s ten departments.  So why is hunger the only story we tell about Haiti?

In her recently published recipe book, Haiti Uncovered: A Regional Adventure into the Art of Haitian Cuisine, Nadege Fleurimond reframes this narrative. Fleurimond showcases Haiti’s strong culinary heritage through scores of colorful photos and wonderful, kitchen-tested recipes.

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Tags: Haitian cuisine, 2010 Haiti earthquake, Cookbook

Brazil’s Acre State Asks to Close Borders, Keep Haitians Out

January 17, 2014

by AQ Online

The Brazilian state of Acre has asked the government to temporarily close the Brazil-Peru border to control Haitian migration. Acre’s secretary of justice and human rights, Nilson Mourão, said the levels of Haitian migration into the region are unsustainable and have strained the capacity of social services in the area.

Since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, more than 15,000 Haitians have migrated into the Amazon region of Brazil through Brazil’s border with Peru in order to look for jobs.

Acre’s local government says it is not equipped to receive the new migrants, who have overcrowded shelters as they await documentation. This month alone, the arrivals have tripled to between 70 and 80 a day, prompting Mourão’s request to temporarily close the border between the Peruvian town of Iñapari and the town of Assis in Brazil.

This is not the first crackdown on Haitian immigrants in Brazil. In 2012, Brazil restricted Haitian immigration after 4,000 Haitians crossed into the country through the Amazon. After granting 1,600 visas to incoming Haitians fleeing the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, the Brazilian government declared it would only grant 100 temporary work visas and 2,400 humanitarian visas to recent migrants. Hundreds of Haitians were stranded in Peru after the changes were implemented.

Four years after the earthquake in Haiti—which killed 220,000 people and left more than 1.5 million homeless—817,000 Haitians are still in need of humanitarian assistance and 172,000 still live in displacement camps.

Tags: Brazil, 2010 Haiti earthquake, Haiti, Illegal immigration

Haití: Mañana Dios Dirá

January 12, 2011

by Tábata Peregrín

Si no supiera que murieron casi 300.000 personas y que todavía hoy en día hay 1.200 campamentos de refugiados con casi un millón de personas diría que hoy los haitianos celebran algo. El día en que se cumple un año del terremoto por las calles de Puerto Príncipe desfilan miles de personas vestidas de blanco, cantando y bailando. Cantan a Dios y no se sabe muy bien por qué bailan, pero bailan, incluso muchos sonríen. Hoy en Haití no lloran. Las iglesias están llenas de gente. Muchos cierran los ojos y rezan, otros simplemente agachan la cabeza y parecen meditar en lo que pasó y lo que vendrá.

Un año después del terremoto las calle de la capital parece una imagen congelada de hace un año. Apenas se ha recogido el 10% de los restos del terremoto y las tiendas frente al palacio presidencial están en el mismo sitio que la semana que se instalaron después del seísmo.

A treinta kilómetros al oeste de la capital en Camp Corail—el campamento de refugiados más grande montado por el gobierno haitiano—para Sherline sin embargo hoy es un día como otro cualquiera. Se ha levantado y no tiene nada que hacer, no hay trabajo ni dinero para comprar mercancía que revender. El campamento está situado en una zona totalmente seca, sin árboles, agua, ni mucho menos un pueblo o iglesia cercana donde ir a rezar. Junto a ella viven 10.000 personas. Atendidos por doce ONG´s internacionales y con patrulla de la ONU permanente, en Camp Corail se viven con mejores condiciones de salud y seguridad que en los campamentos espontáneos de la capital—pero sus habitantes pasan el mismo hambre que sus vecinos capitalinos.

Sherline tiene 32 años y está embarazada de su cuarto hijo: un bebé “Goudu-Goudu”, como se conoce a la generación de bebés nacidos después del terremoto. La joven haitiana comparte con sus cuatro hijos una pequeña casa de madera prefabricada a la que se acaba de mudar después de meses en una tienda. “Después del terremoto me sentía sola y tenía miedo. Me enamoré pero cuando me quedé embarazada se marchó”.

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Tags: Haiti, 2010 Haiti earthquake