All Articles Tagged "haiti earthquake"
(The Daily Beast) — It’s the morning of Corpus Christi, Fête Dieu, in Haiti. The sun rises early, along with a chorus of voices singing hymns all over Port-au-Prince. Altar boys in flowing white robes and girls in communion dresses weave rosary beads through their fingers. Their parents walk at their side, their faces glowing in the sun. CORPUS Christi processions are meant to commemorate Christ’s body in pain, but many Haitians have their own pain. The procession circles a displacement camp where mothers are bathing their children in front of the layers of frayed tarp they call home. Before entering the crowd with her grandmother, my 6-year-old daughter, Mira, who is returning to Port-au-Prince for the first time since the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, repeats something she’s told us many times since we landed in the city: “I thought everything was broken.”
House Republicans aren’t very pleased with how the U.S. Agency for International Development has overseen relief efforts in Haiti since the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake that killed some 230,000 people.
According to the Associated Press, Rajiv Shah, administrator of AID, was told during a recent subcommittee hearing that recovery efforts have been a failure. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said only 5 percent of the rubble has been removed and only 22 percent of the needed transitional shelters have been built.
Shah countered that newer figures show that between 10 and 20 percent of the rubble has been removed. He also reported that major progress has been made in providing safe drinking water and medical care, and that a new industrial park will create 5,000 jobs.
“The initial response was tremendous,” said Shah. “We would have had more success with rubble removal and housing if we had more specific support from our partners and the government of Haiti. We’re not in charge of Haiti. We’re in a bilateral partnership with Government of Haiti.”
Despite Shah’s progress report, House members remained firm about more needing to be done for the distressed country. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Shah, ‘”you would be fired” if the recovery efforts showed the same results in the United States.’
Still, Shah emphasized that time and patience would be essential to helping Haiti overcome their hurdles.
“You can’t judge the effort in Haiti in one or two years,” he said. “Haiti has been a very poor country for a long time.”
While Shah has a point that reconstruction efforts do not happen overnight, the House should certainly continue to keep AID on a reasonable timeline so that results are made and Haiti does not become a passing thought.
(Fast Company) — Jokebed Auguste, a 31-year-old single mother from Mirebalais, in Haiti’s Central Plateau, has come to see her cell phone in a whole new light. A team leader in one of the cash-for-work programs run by the international relief agency Mercy Corps — she oversaw 15 colleagues in an initiative to clean up roads and canals — Auguste was among the first Haitians to begin receiving payments for the project directly through her phone. The convenience of the T-Cash system means she doesn’t have to stand in line for hours at the bank, but even more important is the security. “There’s no cash for people to steal,” she says, “and nobody knows how much money you have, or how much you’re taking out.” The “mobile wallets” are one example of a handful of new technologies that emerged in the aftermath of the earthquake that rocked the Caribbean nation one year ago — and that will likely impact disaster-relief and development efforts for years to come. More than a third of Haiti’s banks, ATMs, and money-transfer stations were destroyed in the earthquake (and even before the disaster, fewer than one in 10 Haitians had ever used a traditional bank). So last June, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development created a $10 million competition to jump-start financial services by mobile phone.
(New York Times) — A year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the American government has received more than 53,000 applications from Haitians seeking temporary legal status in the United States, and it has approved the vast majority, a top immigration official said Wednesday. The official, Alejandro Mayorkas,director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, said his agency’s response to the disaster showed that it could handle a much larger immigrant legalization program like the proposal known as the Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants.
On Jan. 12, 2010, a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, killing more than 300,000 people according to the Los Angeles Times. The devastation brought on by the disaster has not been forgotten by Haitians because, primarily, they are still living amongst the rubble as well as the memories of lost loved ones. One year later, we remember Haiti and recognize its present day challenges by taking a look at images from today.
(New York Times) — New York is so ethnically diverse that nearly every international calamity has a local dimension. The Southeast Asian tsunami reverberated in Jackson Heights, Queens; hurricanes that hit the Caribbean set East Harlem and Washington Heights on edge. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti a year ago, the Queens South Community Center in Hollis was inundated with calls from worried Haitians living in New York, the city with the largest population of people of Haitian descent outside of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The center’s supervisor, Lystra Madoo-Devine, quickly realized the need for local support, especially as some of those callers would soon host relatives fleeing the destruction, becoming indirect victims of the disaster.
(Slate) — Above Port-au-Prince, in the terraced mountains of Kenscoff, 34-year-old Gerard Gilbert is tending his farm, a single acre of land on which he grows lettuce. Gilbert has been farming since he was 12 years old using the techniques his father taught him. Agriculture is his livelihood, as it is for two out of every three Haitians, but these days it barely provides enough to live on. Last year, a Haitian agronomist trained and paid by the United States Agency for International Development visited Gilbert’s farm and taught him how to grow bigger heads of lettuce. “I used to plant the seeds very near to each other,” Gilbert explained. “It was the traditional way to do it.” The agronomist gave the seeds more space and helped Gilbert create an irrigation system to use during the dry season. Since then, when Gilbert takes his baskets of lettuce to the local market, he takes home $5 per basket rather than the old $2.50.
Needless to say it was an interesting year, as usual. Nobody would’ve guessed that an NBA player’s decision to change teams would captivate the nation’s attention and generate so much passion. And nobody would’ve guessed how much power right-wing insane conservative commentators had until the case of a Georgia woman was hastily handled by the the White House. In case you missed it, here is a list of news and events that we’re still talking about at the end of 2010:
It was a horrible start to 2010 for Haiti. Who could forget how the capital city of Port-au-Prince was shaken and rattled by a 7.0 earthquake in January. The disaster left hundreds of thousands of islanders homeless and injured; it also killed thousands. Almost a year later, the former French colony is still struggling to restore livable conditions.
by Anthony Cain
It’s been nearly a year since the great Haitian earthquake, which ravaged the country and caused the world to take notice. Since then, many countries have continued to promise aid to the fledgling country as Haiti struggles to improve conditions for its citizens.
The United States remains the largest foreign source of aid to Haiti from the 2010 Haiti earthquake, donating more than $712 million in aid. While the aid and the arrival of foreign help was aimed to help speed up the recovery process for Haiti, as reported through the Los Angeles Times, this foreign involvement has caused many unforeseen problems for the country.
The Haitian government estimates that over 4,000 foreign aid groups are currently within the country. With many of these foreign aid groups coming into the country and setting up camps to help Haitian nationals, they have produced excess run-off in many small towns in Haiti and have become the blame for the recent choleric outbreak that has stricken 100,000 and killed an additional 2,000 people.
Haitians near the Artibonite River had a recent cholera outbreak and accused U.N. troops of dumping waste in the nearby river causing the outbreak. Upon further examination by the United States Center for Disease and Control, the results showed the U.N. troops were to blame for the outbreak. Many within the country aren’t directly experiencing aid relief efforts and would just prefer for all the blans (term for whites or foreigners) to leave the country.
Foreign influence also affected the political stability of the country by pushing for elections soon after the earthquake. With $6 billion dollars of aid promised to the country until the end of 2011, many donors wanted to see a more stable government in place before continuing their efforts. This caused a very rushed Nov. 28th election where many still-displaced Haitians weren’t able to vote because they were unable to register.
Wyclef Jean, the former hip-hop artist now political figure, described his voting experience in a recent Huffington Post article: “On Election Day, I voted myself — after great difficulty. And I know other Haitian citizens who weren’t able to vote because they couldn’t find their name on the lists of registered voters — even though these people were registered residents of the country. The people need to be able to trust their government, but the Haitian government has proven time and again that it hasn’t earned that trust.” Political riots have erupted from the frustration of many Haitians feeling their voices aren’t being heard.
Lastly, the economy has also taken a hit as many of the displaced Haitians haven’t been able to return to their homes facing higher prices than ever before. The influx of foreigners has caused significant increases in housing as many wealthy Haitians sell housing to foreigners rather than Haitian nationals. The only group that has truly profited from the disaster is the Haitian elite, the ones who own apartment buildings, office buildings, car dealerships, and any other higher end products, who are now able to use the foreign presence to drive housing prices up while millions are still forced to live in tents waiting to go back to their prospective homes.
For many, the problems of Haiti have become a forgotten cause. However, the problems of Haiti are still mounting as foreign influence and aid have brought its own set of results. Haiti remains a country in turmoil and trying to recover from the disaster that happened nearly 11 months ago.
By Brittany Hutson and R. Asmerom
It’s certainly been a whirlwind decade for the Black community to say the least. We’ve witnessed history making moments, events that brought to light the struggles that still plague our community, devastating natural disasters, and moments that caused us to scratch our head, raise an eyebrow and think ‘what the…?’ Take a stroll down memory lane with us as we recap some of those moments:
One of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the U.S., Katrina caused devastation when it hit the Gulf Coast states (from Florida to Texas) in August 2005. New Orleans bore the brunt of the devastation as the category 3 storm with maximum winds near 125 mph caused the levies to break and flood nearly 80% of the city. The nation was in utter shock as images filtered across television screens, on websites and in publications of residents stranded on the roof of flooded homes, or in boats, waiting for help without water or food.
Katrina caused the deaths of at least 1,836 people and caused immense damage—early estimates of total property damage were $81 billion. Over one million people were displaced and sought solace in cities such as Houston, TX, Mobile, Ala, Baton Rouge, La, and Chicago. Federal, state and local governments were criticized for their mismanagement and delayed response to the storm.