Journal: Haiti Update 4 February 2010

02 Diplomacy, 06 Family, 07 Health, 08 Immigration, 08 Wild Cards, 09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society
Aerial View of Destroyed Buildings

Adequacy of Aid.  Foreign Food Aid Trickles Into Haiti’s Black Market (New York Times, 4 Feb 10). PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Blocks from where U.S. and U.N. soldiers distribute sacks of rice to Haitian women in earthquake-shattered Port-au-Prince, street vendors are openly selling rice by the cup from bags stamped with U.S. flags.   . . .   For two weeks, the World Food Program will give out only rice, deciding later whether to add other staples like beans, cooking oil and salt.  Phi Beta Iota: This is nuts.  We should be carpet bombing this place with ALL possible survival ratios to the point that no one has to buy anything for the next 90 days.  Idiocy and lack of imagination.

Adequacy of Aid:  Already Bad Health Situation in Haiti Has Gotten Worse – It’s Aftershock (Health Kut 29 Jan 10). For years Haiti has had to deal with inferior medical care and various health concerns. The earthquake that has recently impacted the country has made conditions worse for the country and is likely to end up causing a new series of medical concerns. These concerns are ones that could end up killing hundreds of thousands of people who didn’t die right after the earthquake.  Phi Beta Iota: We agree with this, and forecast it within a week of the disaster that the US has now turned into a catastrophe.

Adequacy of Aid.  Wickham: A short attention span won’t save Haiti (Towntalk Canada, 2 Feb 10). To help Haiti recover, the U.S. has to help it rebuild Port-au-Prince, the capital city that was leveled by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The U.S. also has to help rebuild the country’s shattered economy. “In 30 seconds Haiti lost 60 percent of its GDP,” Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said during the day-long meeting.  It’s estimated it will take at least 10 years and $3 billion to rebuild Haiti – and probably a lot more time and money to help shed its identity as the American hemisphere’s poorest county.  Phi Beta Iota: Haiti is already old news and back-burner, We’re simply not serious, if we were, USG would mandate a pooling of all donations, publish a day to day spending bill, and show planned spending for public comment 90 days out.

Assets Frozen and Stolen. Swiss freeze assets of Haiti’s ‘Baby Doc’ (CNN, 4 Feb 10). The Swiss Federal Council, the seven-member executive that heads the government, said Wednesday it wants to avoid allowing the family to receive the assets — which it said are worth $5.7 million — because the family acquired them by “illicit means.”  Phi Beta Iota: This was probably at least $50 million to begin with.  Someone in Switzerland has probably been helping themselves to Baby Docs’s assets.  Either that, or this is a token while the real assets are negotiated behind closed doors.  The Swiss supported the Nazis (as did the Bushes and Kennedys and Morgans and Rockefellers), the Swiss still take funds from the 44 dictators still active.

Between Ignorance and Mendacity

Clinton Again.  Bill Clinton to return to Haiti to coordinate aid (AFP, 4 Feb 10). Clinton, who was asked by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to help lead international aid efforts to the Caribbean nation, said he would meet Haitian leaders, visit the Gheskio medical clinic in Port-au-Prince, and deliver supplies.  “More than three weeks after the earthquake, the relief efforts in Haiti have been increasing to meet staggering needs, but the long road to recovery has just begun,” Clinton said.  The Clinton Foundation in New York said the long-time UN special envoy to Haiti would be delivering “water, food, medical supplies, solar flash lights, portable radios, and generators donated by Home Depot (and) Walmart.”  Phi Beta Iota: Let’s see, one airplane, one man, two million needy.  One radio per ten thousand?

Corruption & Mismanagement.  Perspective: Water, Energy, Economy, Poverty and Haiti (Circle of Blue Waternews, 28 Jan 10). The average Haitian has been living the life of a disaster victim even before the earthquake. It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Its human development and other indices were about what one would find in some of the poorest sub-Saharan countries. Mismanagement, corruption and just plain venality have forever been human-caused security earthquakes in this sad country.  Phi Beta Iota: We called it early—we have blown both the short-term salvation and the long term resurrection of Haiti.  Why do we not see engineering companies from many nations clearing the rubble, a “no cost” cleaning simultaneous with the free food, water, and shelter and sanitation for two million, very fast national design using Open Space Technology, and then give them the tools to do the job?  It is remarkable how an Industrial Era command and control system can make things WORSE.

Not a Red Cross Anything in Sight

Red Cross Rip-Off.  Donations Still Sought for Relief Efforts in Haiti: $78M already spent by American Red Cross after quake (Network Indiana, 4 Feb 10). The American Red Cross has spent nearly $78 million so far to help earthquake survivors in Haiti.  The focus has been on food, clean drinking water and shelter.  The relief agency is helping to develop a strategy to reconstruct housing in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the outlying areas since the quake struck on January 12.  The Red Cross still needs cash donations for Haitian earthquake relief. The quickest way to contribute $10 is by using a mobile phone and texting the word Haiti to 90999. The donation to the Red Cross will appear on your next service provider bill.  Phi Beta Iota: We believe this claim to be a lie.  By our very ugly tally the Red Cross could not possibly have spent more than $10 million or so up to this point, unless they are counting the massive amounts they spend on fund-raising, the “overhead” expenses they have already pulled (50%) and so on.

Journal: Haiti Rolling Directory from 12 January 2010