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Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Updated: 6 min 59 sec ago
The rights of persons with disabilities are routinely left out of the conversation on human rights – especially after major natural disasters like this month’s Hurricane Matthew. Emilio Deas explores what the situation in Haiti is for persons with disabilities before and after Hurricane Matthew.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Times of Disaster
Emilio Deas, Disability Rights Fund
October 23, 2016Man with crutch outside his house destroyed by the hurricane. (Photo from original article)
Until a month ago, Emilio Neas’ region in Haiti was rich in agriculture and beautiful sand beaches. Now, as a result of Hurricane Matthew, over a thousand people are dead and thousands have lost their homes and livelihoods. The delivery of humanitarian aid is hampered by impassable roads and now, a heavy rain that is flooding the rivers and streams.
“The country is on its knees. The population is desperate and many persons with disabilities no longer have any shelter and are traumatized by this event that has taken all their possessions. Cholera is on the increase,” said Emilio Neas, lawyer and coordinator of the RANIPH (National Association Network for the Integration of Disabled Persons) Southern Coalition. He shares his first impressions working on the ground in Haiti in our blog series, “Hurricanes in My Backyard.”…
Click HERE for the full article.
Hurricane Matthew’s devastation in Haiti is amplified by several remnants of colonial relations, military interventions by Woodrow Wilson and Roosevelt, and now today by “poorly implemented aid projects.” Law Street Media traces the history of economic exploitation of Haiti by France and Spain, and demonstrates the progression of “disappointments” by the United States and the United Nations: the U.S. continuing economic exploitation, and the UN continuing to deny responsibility for the increasing spread of cholera. Law Street cites IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom: “The need for a new UN response that both controls and eliminates cholera and compensates the victims who have suffered so much is now more dire than ever.” Using history and recent examples of exploitation, the article concludes: “Haiti will continue to be plagued with problems if the impoverished country is unable to properly recover from disease outbreaks like this, as well as devastating natural disasters.”
Part of the article is below. Continue HERE for the full article.Haiti’s History of Disappointments: Intervention, Exploitation, and NGOs
by Jacob Atkins, Law Street
October 21, 2016
Communities in southwestern Haiti were devastated when Hurricane Matthew struck the Tiburon Peninsula on October 4, 2016. Accompanied by rapid winds, heavy rainfall, and subsequent flooding, the Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale killed at least 1,000 people, destroyed countless homes, and displaced thousands. Approximately 2.1 million people have been affected, 1.4 million need humanitarian aid, 750,000 need urgent help, and 806,000 are at an extreme level of food insecurity. Haiti, which is roughly the size of South Carolina, was ill-equipped to withstand another natural disaster. For the past six years this Caribbean country has been trying to recuperate from the 2010 earthquake that left more than 200,000 dead (according to Haitian government figures) and wreacked havoc upon a preexisting weak infrastructure. Now history seems to be repeating itself.
Communication networks are down, crops were destroyed, and roads have been blockaded by debris–making it all the more strenuous for citizens to receive the assistance they desperately need. Simultaneously burdened by two catastrophes, once again Haitians are bracing themselves for another cholera outbreak. Yet with limited financial resources and crumbling medical facilities, some hospitals don’t even have enough gasoline to put into ambulances or any antibiotics left to ward off the waterborne disease.
“Needs are growing as more affected areas are reached,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whose organization recently pledged $120 million for humanitarian aid in Haiti. “Tensions are already mounting as people await help. A massive response is required.”
Oftentimes referred to as the “republic of NGOs” (non-governmental organizations), Haiti rarely receives the aid it is promised. Although some would consider the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere to be susceptible to certain ailments (like inclement weather and bad governance), the reality of the situation is that Haitians haven’t gotten the necessary support to thrive as a sovereign nation after decades of economic exploitation, American military intervention, and poorly implemented aid projects.
Continue HERE for the full article.
After working as a physician in Haiti for 30 years, Paul Farmer is “terrified” by the spread of UN-cholera. However, Dr. Farmer states unequivocally that Haiti has shown progress.
For example, he recounts the story of a 12-year old who may have been paralyzed by Zika or a number of things. The boy’s mother took him to the emergency room at University Hospital, a half-hour from the capital. The emergency room specialist “thought he would be asphyxiated if the paralysis hit the diaphragm, so she [the doctor] put him on a breathing machine and did a tracheotomy, which saved his life.” Haiti has shown progress in that the Emergency Room was open 24/7 and maintains an Intensive Care Unit.
While Dr. Farmer is “humbled” by his Haitian colleagues, he responds to the notion that Haitians are more resilient than other peoples: “resilience is not the same as survival.”Dr. Paul Farmer Is ‘Surprised And Upset And Humbled’ After Visit To Haiti
Marc Silver, NPR
October 21, 2016
Paul Farmer has spent a lot of time in Haiti over the past three decades. Still, what he saw on his visit this past week left him “surprised and upset and humbled.”
Farmer is a physician and Harvard Medical School professor who co-founded the nonprofit Partners In Health. He has been a tireless advocate for Haitians, Haiti and the universal right to health care in even the poorest of countries. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the group built University Hospital in Mirebalais, which has 300 beds. It’s the largest public sector hospital in the country, it’s funded to a large degree by the government and it helps train doctors and nurses.
Farmer went to Haiti last week to look at the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. We spoke with him about his impressions.
The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
What surprised you about the impact of the hurricane?
It’s easy to predict [that if] a Category 4 storm sits on Haiti, there’s going to be massive damage. But it seemed to me that we were unprepared for the gravity of it.
After the quake, it was larger concrete buildings that collapsed. Poor people’s houses were too small to fail. [With the hurricane,] first the roofs were ripped off, and then the trees came down. And what happens when people get hit by flying debris and haven’t had a tetanus shot and don’t have access to primary care? And what’s going to happen with cholera? Cholera treatment centers got blown away because they were built so shoddily.
You mean with tarps and other temporary materials?
Yes. They aren’t meant to last in the elements; they degrade very quickly.
Haiti has been facing a cholera outbreak since 2010. Do you think cholera could spread more widely after the storm as a result of people drinking contaminated water?
I don’t want to say I’m terrified, but that’ll do.
You can die in hours from cholera. It’s one of the true infectious disease emergencies.
In some parts of the country, people are cut off from medical care – local hospitals or clinics were damaged or else roads aren’t passable. How dangerous is that for cholera patients?
There’s a very wide spectrum of cholera. Sometimes it’s like a bad case of diarrhea. But you can die in hours from severe cholera. You can lose up to 10 liters of fluid a day or more. In a few hours you’re completely desiccated. You don’t have a lot of time to replenish the fluid and electrolytes that get lost.
You can do it with oral rehydration but you try drinking 10 quarts of that nasty [rehydration] stuff. It doesn’t taste good, and kids are notoriously noncompliant. I don’t think it’s alarmist to say that it’s an alarming spectacle.
How does the hurricane damage compare to the earthquake damage from 2010?
I ran into a friend of mine I’ve known for 25 years. He’s Haitian, a doctor, currently the No. 2 in the ministry of health. This guy is not given to hyperbole. And he thought in some ways it would be worse than the earthquake. Yes, you lose people and you lose houses with an earthquake, he said, but an earthquake doesn’t take out all the trees and gardens and livestock. What happens to a chicken or a small goat in 145 mile-per-hour winds?
They don’t make it?
My friend said they think 90 percent of all poultry were destroyed and probably more than half of the goats. Only big livestock wouldn’t be blown away.
Besides cholera, what pressing medical problems does Haiti face?
Care for pregnant women, for people who get pneumonia, [delivering] routine vaccinations.
And what would happen if you have a patient with tetanus? At the Brigham [and Women’s Hospital] here in Boston, they would be intubated and then paralyzed with drugs to stop spasms — the spasms can be so horrific you can fracture your backbone. And then their wound would be cleaned, and they would recover. We can do that now in central Haiti. We have an ICU. But we can’t get patients to the ICU by road. We have to send teams from central Haiti [to areas hit hardest by the hurricane].
When you talked with people, what was their reaction to the storm damage?
It was hard-bitten realism: “Look, our homes and livelihoods are destroyed.” But some people would say, “Hey, at least we’re not dead, at least the kids are alive.” If I were in that situation, I’d be ready to give up. I left thinking there were low-volume complaints for high-volume distress.
Is aid from outside groups arriving?
I think we could do better. I feel bad being critical of humanitarian responses but I feel worse for the people who lost everything. In the neighborhood where I was talking to people, they didn’t have shelters built and were asking for tarps. And this was Day 9.
In the presidential debate, Hillary Clinton talked about “all of the terrible problems” in Haiti. And as she noted, it is “the poorest country in our hemisphere.” Are there signs of progress?
The head of the University Hospital emergency room, a young Haitian woman I’ve known for some years, told me about a boy of 12 who was brought in at midnight. This was before the hurricane struck. He was coming home from school, felt numbness in his feet and couldn’t feel his legs — it’s what’s called ascending paralysis. He was an orphan. His aunt took him to five hospitals in Port-au-Prince and then at midnight came all the way to University Hospital — at least an hour and a half away [from Port-au-Prince]. The emergency room specialist thought he would be asphyxiated if the paralysis hit the diaphragm, so she put him on a breathing machine and did a tracheotomy, which saved his life.
And I was thinking, “Thank God we had an ER open 24/7 and an ICU.”
Did the hospital find out what caused the paralysis?
It could be Zika; it could be a lot of things.
What happened to the boy?
His paralysis started to subside. He could move his arms. He left in a wheelchair, and he’s going back to school.
How did you feel when you left Haiti after your week’s visit?
When I left, I felt inhabited by sadness, which you don’t necessarily feel in the middle of it. Because it wouldn’t be very effective if all the doctors were walking around crying.
And, as I said, I was humbled. I admire my Haitian colleagues and I admire the tough-minded lady I met who lost her crop and said, “Well, you know, I gotta go get more peanuts and corns and plant it.” I didn’t feel like asking the question: “What about between now and when you can harvest?”
It seems she has a spirit of resilience.
I heard last week, well, the Haitians are resilient. That 12-year-old boy seemed bright and resilient but he needed to be on a breathing machine to survive. In Sierra Leone during Ebola, I knew three doctors and two were dead of Ebola by November and, let me tell you, they were plenty resilient. That’s why I worry about the term “resilient.” Resilience is not the same as survival.
Residents of Little Haiti reject Trump claims during the third debate that they hate Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Residents say that they are waiting for a visit from Secretary Clinton, especially after a letter went out on October 20th on behalf of 50 Florida Haitian-American organizations and leaders.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Little Haiti residents deny claim of Clinton hate
Jeff Lenox, 7 News Miami
October 20, 2016
MIAMI (WSVN) – Residents of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood are denying claims that they dislike Hillary Clinton after Donald Trump made the claim in the final presidential debate.
In the third presidential debate Wednesday, Donald Trump claimed the residents of Little Haiti in Miami do not like the Clintons. “You take a look at the people of Haiti,” he said. “I was in Little Haiti the other day, in Florida, and I want to tell you, they hate the Clintons because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace, and you know it, and they know it, and everybody knows it.”
The Republican nominee is referring to his visit to the Little Haiti Cultural Center in September. The statement came after an exchange where moderator Chris Wallace asked Hillary Clinton about allegations of special favors for donors to the Clinton Foundation when it came to helping Haiti…
Click HERE for the full article.
The International Association of Democratic Lawyers included two Haiti updates from IJDH in its latest bulletin – one on cholera, and one on elections. This bulletin covers United Nations activities around the world, in preparation for the November meeting of representatives to the UN.
Part of each IJDH update is below. Click HERE for the full bulletin.
JUSTICE FOR CHOLERA VICTIMS IN HAITI
(Report by Shannon Jonsson, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti [IJDH])
In a breakthrough for victims seeking to hold the United Nations (UN) accountable for causing the cholera epidemic in Haiti, the organization has finally acknowledged its role in introducing the disease to Haiti, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently announced a new plan to combat the epidemic and provide material assistance to victims and their families. In his September opening statement to the General Assembly, Ban expressed “tremendous regret and sorrow at the profound suffering of Haitians affected by cholera” and called on member states to provide political and financial support for the new package in order to “meet [the UN’s] obligations to the Haitian people.” Ban also appointed Dr. David Nabarro, previously head of the UN’s response to ebola, to lead the new cholera response.. At the end of September, Nabarro announced that the UN is mobilizing $180 million for cholera response, and “at least an equal amount” for the victims. The details of the UN plan are to be released at the end of October.
The announcement signals a momentous change in the UN’s approach to calls for accountability, and came as pressure mounted for the organization to provide a just response to cholera victims. Prior to the announcement, Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, submitted a report highly critical of the response to the epidemic. In the powerful document, Mr. Alston stated: “The UN’s policy [in response to the Haiti cholera epidemic] is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible, and politically self-defeating.” He urged the Secretary-General to issue an apology and take responsibility for the cholera epidemic, as well as create a plan for compensation of the victims.
UPDATE ON ELECTIONS IN HAITI
THE CONTROVERSIAL ROLE OF OAS AND EU OBSERVERS IN HAITI’S FAILED 2015 ELECTIONS
(Report by Nik Barry-Shaw and Nicole Phillips, IJDH)
IADL members, led by Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and its U.S.-based affiliate, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), have been working with Haitian human rights groups to defend the right to vote.
Last October, a delegation of election monitors from IADL and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) spent two weeks in Haiti observing the 2015 electoral process. The elections were to elect the country’s next President, two-thirds of the Senate, all 119 members of the House of Deputies, and all local mayors. First-round legislative elections that had taken place on August 9, 2015 were denounced by Haitian observers due to widespread violence, fraud and disruptions at polling places. Despite protest from opposition parties and civil society, the government went ahead with the second round of legislative elections, along with the first round of Presidential and mayoral elections, on October 25, 2015. The IADL/NLG delegation observed the vote at 15 voting centers in the greater Port-au-Prince region.
Echoing the conclusions of Haitian civil society electoral observers, the IADL/NLG delegation found that the October 25 elections were more orderly than the August 9 vote but still fell far short of minimum standards for fair elections. The vast majority of registered voters—over 70 percent—did not vote; many expressed fear or lost confidence in the electoral process. Forty percent of ballots were cast using political party and other observer accreditations, which allowed fraudulent, multiple voting outside the rules applicable to regular voters and had a decisive influence on the electoral results. A lack of transparency in the tabulation process also raised significant questions about whether votes were properly counted and verified for fraud. Ordinary voters frequently faced undue influence and violations of privacy at polling places.
Click HERE for the full bulletin.
October 20, 2016
27 Florida-based organizations and 24 other prominent Floridians have written Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton asking her to promptly inform them of her positions on crucial issues of concern to the Haitian American community, a key electorate, and for a meeting regarding these issues.
Noting that “Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, affecting two million Haitians; stranding hundreds of thousands; killing at least 1,000; obliterating tens of thousands of homes; destroying and inundating towns, livestock, crops, and livelihoods; and causing a surge in cholera cases,” they ask Secretary Clinton “to promptly inform of us of your views on the following concerns, which are of great importance to the Haitian-American community.”
In successive sections, the letter describes policy needs and “asks,” all made more urgent by Matthew’s devastation, regarding the needs for U.S. leadership to eradicate Haiti’s cholera epidemic and compensate its victims; to re-designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status; to expand the arbitrarily limited Haitian Family Reunification Program; to support the positive steps being taken by the interim authorities in Haiti to restart the electoral process; to engage the government of the Dominican Republic to reverse its discriminatory denationalization policies against citizens of Haitian descent; and for the Department of Homeland Security to revert to its pre-September 22 parole and non-detention policy.
The endorsers include a broad range of established service, immigration, labor, and advocacy groups and political and religious leaders, attorneys, and academics.
The letter concludes, “We hope to meet with you promptly, Madam Secretary, regarding these urgent community priorities and asks, and we thank you in advance for your consideration and prompt reply.”
Click HERE for the letter.
This story tracks cholera in Haiti, from when United Nations peacekeepers first brought the previously-unknown disease to Haiti in 2010 to the UN finally admitting involvement in the epidemic in 2016. When the epidemic first began, the UN tried to cover up its involvement and the World Health Organization helped by saying that the focus needed to be on stopping the disease rather than finding the origin. For years, the UN denied involvement and also dodged responsibility in court, using immunity against the lawsuit IJDH filed against it. Now that Hurricane Matthew has brought more water into Haiti, the risk of cholera spiking has increased. What will the UN do about it?The UN’s Role in the Devastating Cholera Epidemic in Haiti
Gillian Mahoney, ABC News
October 20, 2016
As Hurricane Matthew churned off the coast of Haiti earlier this month public health officials and aid groups issued warnings not just about the dangers from the storm itself but what could follow: a cholera outbreak.
In 2010, a devastating cholera outbreak infected hundreds of thousands in Haiti just months after a severe earthquake left more than 100,000 dead. Prior to the outbreak, there were no reported cases of cholera in Haiti.
This summer, the United Nations finally acknowledged that it was involved in the initial outbreak and the profound suffering that has followed.
Cholera is a bacterial infection that can lead to potentially serious symptoms of watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps, according to the CDC. Often spread through contaminated water or food, the incubation period of the disease can be as short as two hours, meaning it can move quickly through a densely populated area. As the mucus membrane of the intestinal wall is affected, it can lead to diarrhea that can cause severe dehydration.
The disease appeared in Haiti in October 2010 and spread quickly, causing an estimated 770,000 infections in the years since and approximately 9,200 related deaths, according to a 2016 report in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics.
Within days of the first diagnosis, the AP reported that local politicians and other residents suspected the source of the outbreak was the human waste entering a river system from a military camp for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. A group of peacekeeping soldiers had recently arrived there from Nepal, where cholera is endemic. AP reporters found U.N. investigators testing samples for cholera and a septic tank that was overflowing with broken pipes.
At the time U.N. officials strongly denied the base was linked to the outbreak and reportedly told the AP that no Nepalese soldiers had the disease and that the liquid being tested was from kitchens and showers and not from human waste.
On November 1, 2010, the CDC, working with Haitian public health experts, announced that the strain of the disease was similar to one seen in South Asia.
John Mekalanos, a cholera expert and chairman of Harvard University’s microbiology department, told the AP in a November 3 news report that early evidence suggested military UN members likely brought the disease to Haiti from Nepal where an outbreak had recently been reported.
Dr. Renaud Piarroux, an epidemiologist at the University of Aix-Marseille, then worked on the ground in Haiti with Haitian and French experts in the days and weeks that followed to confirm the source of the outbreak. They quickly identified the U.N. camp as the likely cause of the outbreak.
Piarroux and his co-authors later published a study about the source of the outbreak inEmerging Infectious Diseases medical journal in 2011. The study’s findings “strongly” suggested that the United Nations camp led to the contamination of the Artibonite river and one of its tributaries, which helped to trigger the cholera epidemic. The tributary system was a source of water for bathing, drinking and cooking for those living downstream from the camp. Early findings from Piarroux’s report were published by the AP, in 2010 putting additional pressure on the U.N. to investigate the source of the outbreak.
However, confirmation by officials was hampered since, in the weeks after the outbreak began, officials at the CDC, UN and the World Health Organization said finding the source was not a priority.
“Our primary focus here is to save lives and control the spread of disease,” CDC medical epidemiologist Dr. Jordan Tappero, who was leading the CDC cholera response team in Haiti, said in its that Nov. 1, 2010, press release. “We realize that it’s also important to understand how infectious agents move to new countries. However, we may never know the actual origin of this cholera strain.”
A WHO spokesman told the AP in November 2010 that the question of whether U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal were to blame was “not a priority.” Riots broke out after the U.N. dismissed the allegations about the peacekeeping camp, saying its sanitation was airtight, according to the AP. By December, however, the AP reported that the U.N had relented, calling for a probe into the cause of the outbreak.
In February 2011, independent investigators sent by the United Nations finally arrived in Haiti to examine the possible cause of the outbreak.
Their report, released in May 2011, acknowledged that members of the United Nation Stabilization Mission in Haiti arrived in the country after working in Nepal, where the disease is endemic. They also found that the water system at the camp was “haphazard,” and that human waste was being disposed of near a tributary where the early cholera cases were reported. Furthermore, local hospital staff reported to the U.N. researchers that the first severe cases of cholera came from an area named Meye, which is located 150 meters downstream from the U.N. camp where the soldiers had been staying.
However, that 2011 U.N. report stopped short of putting blame specifically on that camp, going only so far to say there was an “hypothesis” that the source was the soldiers from a cholera-endemic country was “a commonly held belief in Haiti”. The report went on to say that the country of origin of the strain was “debatable” and instead cited multiple factors for the spread of the disease, including the widespread use of the tributary system by Haitians, their lack of immunity to cholera, and the conditions within medical facilities treating the victims.
“The Independent Panel concludes that the Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by the confluence of circumstances as described above, and was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual,” the report said.
The United Nations refusal to accept responsibility for the outbreak led to continued demonstrations in Haiti. Members of the medical community also railed against the U.N. for shirking responsibility.
In 2013, researchers from the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Public Health released a report called “Peacekeeping without Accountability” to analyze the actions of the U.N.
“By causing the epidemic and then refusing to provide redress to those affected, the U.N. has breached its commitments to the Government of Haiti, its obligations under international law, and principles of humanitarian relief,” the report authors wrote.
That same year, a number of advocacy groups filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of five U.S. and Haitian citizens affected by the cholera outbreak against the U.N. and certain U.N. officials alleging they were responsible. A United States District Judge found that the U.N. had immunity from prosecution, according to court documents.
The decision was appealed this year but the original decision was affirmed. The plaintiffs have until mid-November to decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then, this past August, The New York Times broke the news of a confidential report from New York University law professor and U.N. special rapporteur, Philip Alston, to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In his report, Alston wrote, “The fact is that cholera would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations.”
Shortly after that report was made public, the United Nations finally acknowledged that its personnel likely played a part in the Haitian cholera outbreak. “Over the past year, the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, told reporters on August 18.
The following day, Haq said, “The Secretary-General deeply regrets the terrible suffering the people of Haiti have endured as a result of the cholera epidemic.” “The United Nations has a moral responsibility to the victims of the cholera epidemic and for supporting Haiti in overcoming the epidemic and building sound water, sanitation and health systems.”
Piarroux, the lead author of the 2011 study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in September, decrying the United Nations for taking so long to acknowledge its role and respond to the crisis.
“By admitting that it was involved in the outbreak, the United Nations made only a first and timid step toward a full assessment of its responsibility,” he wrote. “The United Nations must continue to open up about what happened in Haiti, rectify the damage, and establish policies that prevent such disasters in the future. Its credibility is still on the line.”
A spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general told ABC News a full presentation on the assistance and support to combat the Haitian cholera outbreak will be presented later this month.
Today, the U.N. camp at the center of the outbreak controversy is no longer fully functional and has no military members, according to a spokesperson for the U.N.’s Departments of Peacekeeping and Field Support.
Since the 2010 outbreak, the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti has pursued a multi-pronged course of action to adequately deal with the waste management of its peacekeeping forces. It was not until October, 2015, that the U.N.’s oversight services department found the Mission to be in compliance with all of the recommended procedures.
In addition, as of late 2013, the peacekeeping forces have been supporting the Haitian government in its long-term plan to eradicate cholera.
In the meantime, in Haiti today, cholera remains stubbornly endemic. This week, the Pan American Health Organization reported there have been 1,351 suspected cases of cholera identified since Hurricane Matthew hit the country. PAHO has identified the disease as a main priority in the storm’s aftermath.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This report replaces an earlier story on the same subject.
Click HERE for the original article.
Diplomacy in the Time of Cholera: Immunity Not Impunity
October 15th, 2016
Brian Concannon gave an interview with Alexandra Arneri-Matsis of The Gravity podcast. Concannon discusses the U.N.’s actions in causing, covering up and refusing to accept responsibility for the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Alexandra and Brian discuss the legal and policy issues behind the U.N.’s diplomatic immunity, including the Second Circuit’s decision in Georges et. al. v. the U.N., the U.N. Charter, the 1946 Convention of the Privileges and Immunities of the U.N. and the Status of Forces Agreement with Haiti. Additionally, they discuss the U.N.’s obligations under the Convention and the Status of Forces Agreement and its refusal to perform its obligations of providing redress in Haiti and throughout its other peacekeeping missions.
Click HERE for the podcast’s website.
Check out Al Jazeera’s “Eyes on Haiti.” This video includes testimonies and arguments from several Haitians and Haiti affiliates, and covers topics including the way Haiti is discussed internationally, the extent of devastation after Hurricane Matthew, and the role of the government in providing aid and structures to its citizens.Eyes on Haiti
October 19, 2016
In the interview below, Jonathan Katz, who was a foreign correspondent in Haiti at the time of the 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic later caused by the UN, explains what needs to be done better after Hurricane Matthew. He stresses the needs for accountability from international aid organizations and agencies, partnership with the Haitian government, and building systems to prevent such a devastating impact from the next natural disaster.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Why Haiti wasn’t ready for a hurricane: A Q&A with Jonathan Katz
Jonathan Katz, IRIN News
October 19, 2016
Two weeks after Hurricane Matthew slammed into southern Haiti, the scale of the damage is still becoming horrifyingly apparent. According to the UN, some 1.4 million people are in urgent need of aid and that number is expected to rise, as is the death toll, which now stands at 546. Six years on from the devastating earthquake of 2010 and the billions of dollars in aid that came in its wake, why wasn’t the disaster-prone nation more prepared? IRIN turned to former Haiti correspondent and expert Jonathan Katz for some answers:
Where would you lay most of the blame for the weak preparations for Hurricane Matthew in Haiti: the government, the NGOs, or both?
It’s hard to separate the two, and the problems go a lot deeper than either. Haiti has no real government right now, both in the sense of incredibly weak institutions at the local level, and the fact that there is literally no elected national government, with elections for both the presidency and parliament delayed by more than a year. But a lot of that comes down to the foreign NGOs and the foreign governments and private citizens who sponsor them. The NGOs came into Haiti decades ago expressly with the purpose of supplanting and weakening the government of then dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. The explicit goal may have faded away, but it is still the effect.
Click HERE for the full text.
This article features IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom, the attorney who has been arguing the cholera case against the United Nations in court. When cholera initially broke out in Haiti, the UN origin was so obvious that Beatrice and others expected the organization to take responsibility and immediately begin addressing the problem. Six years later, the UN is only just beginning to admit responsibility and form a new strategy to eliminate cholera. Meanwhile, we have to decide whether to appeal the cholera case in the Supreme Court. Beatrice hopes that the UN plan will be fair enough not to merit this action.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Beatrice Lindstrom ’10 advocates for cholera victims in Haiti
NYU Law News
October 18, 2016
When Beatrice Lindstrom ’10 decided to become a human rights lawyer, she says, “suing the United Nations was very far from my mind.” But as a staff attorney for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Lindstrom has spent the past five years doing precisely that: she has played a key role in litigation holding the UN accountable for Haiti’s cholera epidemic.
Lindstrom, who grew up in Sweden and Korea and speaks five languages (English, Swedish, Korean, French, and Haitian Creole), has a longstanding interest in global justice. Prior to law school, she spent time in Thailand working in communities affected by the 2004 tsunami. Lindstrom did not plan to become a practicing lawyer; rather, she hoped to gain a background in human rights law that could be helpful for international aid work. “But while I was at NYU Law, I fell in love with litigation, and I gained a much better understanding of the ways in which the law can be used to bring about social change,” she says.
In 2010, after Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake, a consultation with Professor Margaret Satterthwaite ’99 led Lindstrom to work for the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), the Haitian partner organization of IJDH.
“It was about a month into my stay in Haiti that suddenly we were hearing these reports coming in from around the countryside about cholera,” Lindstrom says. It quickly became clear that the source of the outbreak was a UN peacekeeper base that had allowed waste to contaminate the water source.
Click HERE for the full text.
Haitian American Productions has created a powerful video to spread the reach of the #EndHaitiCholera movement.
Click HERE to watch the video on Haitian American Productions’ Facebook page.Haitian American Productions joins #EndHaitiCholera
Haiti Advocacy Working Group
October 18, 2016
We have teamed up with Haitian American Productions to expand the reach of the #EndHaitiCholera campaign!
Please check out the powerful video these guys have put together and share it widely. They often post hilarious videos for their fans. This time, they put a serious spin on the serious issue of cholera in Haiti–not a laughing matter.
Like their page, share the video, and make sure to tweet and share your selfie with the hashtag: #EndHaitiCholera.
Be part of the movement to End Cholera in Haiti!
Haiti, while still in the process of recovering from the destruction of the 2010 earthquake and fighting a subsequent cholera outbreak brought by UN peacekeepers, has been devastated by yet another natural disaster – Hurricane Matthew. The US needs to provide aid, both financial and otherwise, to Haiti in this difficult time.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Inquirer Editorial: U.S. shouldn’t wait until the next disaster to do more for Haiti
The Philadelphia Inquirer
October 18, 2016
With so much happening in our country, including a pivotal presidential election and coastal states’ daunting recovery from Hurricane Matthew, maybe it’s understandable that the storm’s impact on Haiti has been an afterthought for many Americans. But the death and destruction in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation shouldn’t be ignored.
The United States and Haiti were the first nations in the hemisphere to break free from colonial rule. Americans fighting under George Washington declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776. Haitians led by Toussaint Louverture won their independence from France in 1804. But the Haitian rebellion was, in fact, a slave revolt, which made America’s slave-holding states uncomfortable and European nations dismissive.
Click HERE for the full article.
Senator Markey (D-MA) makes a statement regarding UN aid to Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. He states that the UN’s actions thus far are “grossly inadequate” and calls for increased leadership by the UN in response to the destruction of Hurricane Matthew.PRESS RELEASE: Senator Markey Criticizes United Nations Response to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti
Senator Ed Markey
October 18, 2016
Washington (October 18, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, today called the United Nations (UN) effort to remedy the humanitarian crisis in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew grossly inadequate. Approximately 546 people have been killed as a result of the deadly storm, 438 injured, and 128 are missing. At least 2.1 million people in Haiti have been affected by Hurricane Matthew’s damage, with more than 1.4 million in need of assistance. Despite UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s immediate appeal for $120 million to aid the emergency effort, only five percent has been raised, totaling little more than $6 million. Meanwhile, the people of Haiti continue to suffer from food insecurity, limited access to clean drinking water, crippled sanitation infrastructure, and fear the ever-growing threat of cholera. There are reports of 477 new suspected cases of cholera that have emerged since the hurricane hit the country.
“The United Nations and its member countries are utterly failing to meet the dire needs of the people of Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Providing adequate and accelerated relief to people suffering from food insecurity and a cholera epidemic isn’t simply a matter of moral obligation but of human decency.
“The people of Haiti have waited long enough for a meaningful UN response to the cholera epidemic they created by introducing the disease to Haiti during 2010 earthquake response operations. We need the UN to serve as a forceful, hands-on leader of the hurricane relief effort, and we need Member States to immediately step up and participate with robust financial support. This is the very least we can do for the Haitian people who are suffering in great part due to UN negligence.
Last week, the UN also outlined its two-track plan to remedy Haiti’s public health emergency. The UN’s announcement neglected to underline the importance of broadly expanded Member State support, lacked a formal apology to the people of Haiti, the victims of cholera and their families, and failed to mention any financial adjudication of claims against the organization for those impacted by the outbreak.
Earlier this year, Senator Markey called on the United Nations to publicly apologize for their role in the cholera outbreak and subsequent epidemic, provide material resources to end the threat of the disease in Haiti and deliver financial assistance to victims and their families that were affected by the epidemic.
Click HERE for the original text.
IJDH’s Nancy Young discusses and critiques the UN’s strategic rhetoric on how it is to tackle the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Young argues that the UN’s discussion of the need to end cholera not only comes six years too late, but that it fails to demonstrate any understanding of it’s direct culpability in the 2010 outbreak.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.The Immoral “Moral Responsibility” of Ban Ki-moon and the UN
Nancy Young, Medium.com
October 16, 2016Protesters at a demonstration in Port-au-Prince in March 2016 demand the United Nations take responsibility for the massive cholera epidemic it started in October 2010. (Photo from original article)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spent 4 1/2 hours in Haiti on October 15 and surveyed the damage from Hurricane Matthew — including the spike in the cholera misery caused by the organization he leads.
He feels really, really bad. No, really.
That’s what he’s got for the Haitian people. Really.
In 2014, Ban came to Haiti to say how bad he felt about cholera and that things were going to be different now because the UN understood its “moral responsibility.”…
Click HERE for the full article.
Sienna Merope-Synge, Port-au-Prince, +509-4875-3444, email@example.com (English, French, Creole)
Mario Joseph, Port-au-Prince, +509-3701-9879, firstname.lastname@example.org (Creole, French, English)
Beatrice Lindstrom, New York, +1-404-217-1302; email@example.com (English, French, Creole)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Advocates Denounce UN Chief’s Failure to Acknowledge Responsibility for Cholera
Ban Visits Haiti Amidst Surging Cholera Outbreak in Hurricane-Ravaged South
(BOSTON, NEW YORK, PORT-AU-PRINCE, October 15, 2016)–Advocates for victims of the UN-caused cholera epidemic in Haiti expressed shock that the Secretary-General did not acknowledge responsibility for introducing the epidemic while explaining his much-heralded “new approach” to cholera while in Haiti today. “It is outrageous for the Secretary-General to come to Haiti, see how much we are suffering, and once again refuse to acknowledge what everybody in Haiti knows that he knows to be a scientific fact,” said Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, which has led a campaign for justice and reparations for victims of cholera since 2011. “The UN’s own experts concluded–five years ago–that the UN brought cholera to Haiti. But the Secretary-General pretends that Haitians do not know that.”
Speaking at a press conference in Port-au-Prince after touring areas devastated by Hurricane Matthew, the United Nations Secretary-General today expressed his solidarity with victims of the hurricane and deplored the continuing cholera epidemic, describing it as “sad and troubling.” He discussed the UN’s “moral responsibility”, as he did during a July 2015 visit, but failed to acknowledge the UN’s own responsibility for introducing the disease.
Hundreds of Haitians have contracted cholera in the past week, after the hurricane caused massive flooding. With health centers lacking basic supplies to treat the surge in new cases, relief workers warn that Haiti is “in a race against time,” and that there will be a spike in the epidemic in the coming weeks if water treatment, rehydration supplies, and medical care is not provided immediately.
On August 18, 2016, the UN conceded that it “has become convinced that it must do much more in response to its own involvement in the initial outbreak,” and the Secretary-General vowed to announce a “new response” within two months that would include cholera control and material assistance for victims. On Friday, the UN launched a new cholera response trust fund, which is not yet funded. Further details of the new approach are yet to emerge.
Victims and their advocates have called on the Secretary-General for years to publicly apologize for the UN’s introduction of cholera to Haiti through reckless waste management, and for its continuous denials and gross mishandling of the situation over the past six years. “Human rights are something that all people must respect no matter how powerful you are,” wrote cholera victim Viengemene Ulisse in a personal letter to the UN in December 2015, one of more than 2000 victims to send such appeals.
In his final address to the General Assembly, the Secretary-General expressed “tremendous regret and sorry [sic] for Haitians affected by cholera,” but still refused to acknowledge the UN’s own responsibility for causing that suffering.
“Ban now has less than three months left in office. He is running out of time to repair the deep stain on his legacy caused by six years of denial and deception about the cholera epidemic” said Sienna Merope-Synge, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), which represents the victims of the epidemic. “A good step would be acknowledging the basic facts, over which there has been no serious scientific dispute for over five years.”
Ban spoke about the difficulties in fundraising for the new cholera initiative, but advocates say admitting responsibility is a critical prerequisite and component of a just response. “Member states must step up and fund the UN’s new response, but unless the UN publicly takes responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti, its efforts will not be credible in the eyes of the donor community, or in the eyes of the Haitian people” said Beatrice Lindstrom, also a lawyer with IJDH and counsel for victims in a lawsuit filed in U.S court.
In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed an earlier dismissal of the lawsuit from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, holding that any violation of the UN’s obligations to provide remedies for personal injury claims out of court does not impact its immunity from suit.
Victims are now weighing whether to pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.
UN-Cholera made the front page of the New York Times after Hurricane Matthew, with heart-breaking photography.
“When you look around you, it’s like the end of the world,” said Joseph Kenso, 33.
The article relates the emotional toll on victims and their families, in addition to medical staff. Families risk it all to remain with victims in the clinic of the remote town of Rendel, four-hours away from a paved road. The people abandoned the town, and the victims of cholera remained often-times dispossessed.Cholera Deepens Haiti’s Misery After Hurricane
by Azam Ahmed, photographs by Meridith Kohut, New York Times
October 15th, 2016Relatives risk disease to tend to loved ones at the clinic in Rendel.
RENDEL, Haiti — There is a plague on this town. Even before the winds and rain toppled nearly everything standing, cholera was already here. It came down from the mountains, washing into the lives of the thousands who once lived above the river.
Now the only sign of life is in a makeshift clinic dealing with hundreds of suspected cholera cases, a small concrete building where just a few nurses contend with the swarms of patients arriving every hour.
There is only one public official left. The mayor was struck by cholera and left on foot to seek treatment hours away. One deputy died of the disease last week. Another fled, like so many others, to escape the ruin visited on the town of Rendel by Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath.
“Ninety percent of our village is gone,” said Eric Valcourt, a priest in the Roman Catholic parish that runs the clinic and a school that now serves as a shelter for those too sick or poor to leave. “Many left by foot to escape the disease and devastation. The rest died from cholera or the hurricane.”
A week has passed since the hurricane tore through this remote stretch of Haiti’s southern peninsula, leaving an apocalyptic landscape of treeless countryside, disarticulated homes and a land robbed of its natural riches.
But for many, the torment has only started. Cholera, the disease at the heart of Haiti’s last disaster, is being spread again by this one.
About 10,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have been sickened since cholera first appeared in late 2010. Scientists say it was brought to Haiti by United Nations peacekeepers stationed at a base that leaked waste into a river. After years of deflecting blame, the United Nations this summer acknowledged “its own involvement” in the suffering Haiti has experienced from the disease.
Now, cholera is stalking the areas gutted by the hurricane, a long peninsula of coastal towns and mountain villages where clean water was already hard to find, long before the storm. Here in the remote town of Rendel, a grueling four hour trek to the nearest paved road, the disease has spread to every crevice of this valley and the hills above.
“We are all at risk,” said the last official in Rendel, Pierre Cenel, the magistrate.
A father raced down the hill to the clinic with his young daughter draped over his back, clutching her legs, his face fixed in fear.
“She must have cholera,” the magistrate said. “He is running to save her life.”
Cholera was creeping through the mountains even before the hurricane, claiming the lives of untold numbers as its pushed toward town. First came the sick, who trudged down to Rendel, desperate for medical care.
Then, when the floods came, cholera was carried down by the water itself, which swept up fecal matter dumped on the hillsides, contaminating the river and other drinking supplies.
Inexperience did the rest. Water unboiled or unchlorinated and poor hygiene meant the infections spread rapidly.
The town of Rendel and its surroundings, which once sheltered 25,000 people, are the epicenter of a potential disaster. Thousands have left on foot, forging a waist-high river that bends so often that it requires nine crossings along the way. The things they carry are all they have left: split bags of clothes and small livestock. They carry disease, too, destined for towns connected to the rest of the country by road.
One family braced for a river crossing, the youngest daughter in a purple dress with a pink sweater, clutching a live chicken in her arms.
“I don’t know what we will do, but we can’t live here,” said her father, Donald Augustin, 37, balancing a black suitcase on top of his head. “The people are dying of cholera.”
Those who remain bear witness to the slow release of misery. Heroic nurses care for patients splayed on the floor like rag dolls, some resting atop the improvised stretchers they arrived on. Patients vomit and defecate on the floor or into small yellow buckets, too sick to leave their stifling confines. The waste is emptied into an hole on the hill just behind the clinic, awaiting the next rainfall to overflow once again. The smell of bile and excrement stings the nostrils.
Patients come and go to escape the stench and the oppressive heat, while relatives risk disease to tend to their loved ones. Many refuse to come to the clinic at all, fearful of being blamed for the outbreak. Sick people midway through their recoveries are shown the door to make way for new patients. A single lantern is the only light for the nurses to work by during grueling 12-hour shifts.
A lowing child is rocked on her mother’s lap as an IV drip pumps fluids into her tiny arm. A young husband feeds his pregnant wife hot porridge, blowing over each spoonful as patients writhe beside and beneath them. A father kisses the ear of his 4-year-old son to soften the taste of saline solution.
“I spent the night here with her but the bed is too small for both of us so I slept outside and checked on her every hour,” said Jean Romit Cadet, 22, the young husband, handing the spoon to his wife and urging her to eat. “If I get sick, I get sick. I’m responsible for her.”
One morning this week, a rush of patients poured into the clinic, some carried on stretchers. A nurse tried to register each patient but lost track in the chaos, unable to take down everyone’s details.
A young girl entered the clinic and told the head nurse she was suffering from diarrhea.
“For how many days?” the nurse asked.
“Three,” the girl replied.
“Why are you only coming now?” the nurse demanded. “We need to hook you up to an IV.”
The girl refused.
“I’m not vomiting,” she yelled over her shoulder as she left the clinic.
The nurse turned to the crowd in the entrance of the clinic, a porch robbed of its roof by the storm. In its place hung a sagging blue tarp.
“This is the problem,” she told the crowd of patients, parents holding sick children and others laid out on the floor, their eyes lolling back into their heads. “She doesn’t want to use the IV because she isn’t vomiting. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have cholera.”
Another nurse approached and whispered that they were running out of needles for the IVs, which dangled like translucent vines from the rafters of the clinic. The nurse disappeared into a back room.
A patient seated on a bench near the entrance erupted from his seat and vomited over the edge of the porch, onto ground where people walk to and from the back of the building.
A mother and father tried to force-feed their 4-year-old son rehydration salts, sending the boy into fits. The child tried to bite the hand of an aide holding his arms. A nurse approached and asked the family if they had symptoms.A cholera patient was bathed with soap and water with bleach.
The mother, Osila Cominan, said it was her third day with diarrhea, but quickly added that she was not vomiting and did not need treatment.
“You should be on an IV, too,” the nurse said, before rushing to another patient vomiting on the floor.
In the town, citizens had set up a roadside cleaning station, a simple affair with a tank of chlorinated water that was sprayed onto the shoes and hands of those fleeing. With all the departures, the fear of carrying cholera to bigger cities was a real one.
The town itself was hollowed out. Those still here stood on what remained of front porches, mired in a state of shock, hoping the people would return.
The stasis was interrupted every so often by another patient heading to the clinic, staggering down the rocky paths or carried aloft by family. A few concrete homes provide the only reminder of the town that was. Lesser houses have been stacked into piles along with the trees and branches scattered by the storm.
“When you look around you, it’s like the end of the world,” said Joseph Kenso, 33. “Look around you. The disaster speaks for itself.”
One of the only buildings left is the clinic, a two-story structure that formerly served as a center for prenatal care.
The original cholera care center was destroyed in the hurricane. It had opened only a week before the storm, to treat people streaming in from the outbreak in the mountains above.
In the center of town, wearing just one flip-flop, Mr. Cenel, the magistrate, smiled ruefully at the town’s misfortune and his own, estimating that hundreds have died between the hurricane and the disease. But his math is like that of many: a reflection of the emotional toll, not an exact one.
“After a hurricane, if you don’t see someone for a few days, they are usually dead,” he said. Sixty percent of the town has now fled, he said.
“No! I disagree,” said a man standing in the magistrate’s front yard. “It’s at least 85 percent of the population gone.”
Another man standing nearby said the people would return once they could rid the area of cholera. He was sure of it.
“They might,” said the magistrate, whose mother and father are among those who left. “They might.”
But how do you combat cholera in a place where people get their water from the river or surrounding springs, where disinfectant is a luxury?
One woman leaving the clinic with soiled sheets was stopped by a nurse, who asked her to drop them in a pile of clothing to be burned that night. The woman hesitated, throwing her hand over her eyes as she addressed the nurse.
“I can’t,” she said. “This is all I have left.”
The toll from cholera is unknowable. Most of the departed never make it to the clinic and get buried without any record.
“We don’t know how many have died in the surrounding community,” said another nurse, Marie Marguerite Bernadin, 42. “But we know most of the deaths occur outside of here.” If the cases are caught early enough, the nurses explained, treatment is as simple as rehydration.
“They don’t come on time because for some of them it’s an embarrassment and they tried to hide the sick,” explained Alicia Hyppolite, 32, a nurse in the clinic. “And people don’t listen when you tell them things.”
About an hour and a half north is the village of Delibarain, a hamlet near the mountain river that feeds the springs of Rendel. Before the hurricane, residents and officials said there were several deaths from cholera, or what they believed to be cholera, since there were no labs on hand to confirm the disease.
The first ones that residents and local leaders can remember were the members of the Vital family, five of whom died from the disease.
The dead were buried in graves without wrapping them in plastic, wearing gloves or taking the precautionary measures applied to cholera-infected bodies. Soon, even more people were infected. The rainy season spread the disease farther.
“They just placed them in the earth,” said Thomas Cyril, 47, who lives in the village and knew the family.
Prostrate on the floor were his brother, Faniel Cyril, and his cousin, Alicia Delcy, both of whom were showing symptoms of cholera. Faniel, barely conscious, reached out to grab the hand of Mrs. Delcy from time to time.
Frightened of what was happening in their village, the pair had come down the mountain on Sunday to seek treatment.
It was bad in Rendel, he granted, but up the mountain it was worse.
“Now the people are really dying,” Mr. Cyril said.
Click HERE for the original article.
The Queen’s Health and Human Rights Conference has run annually for the past 15 years, and is wholly student-organized. We host a range of students, faculty and community members creating an interdisciplinary learning environment. In the past, we have welcomed speakers such as Samantha Nutt, the Hon. Charlie Angus, Albert Schumacher, Jacalyn Duffin, Beverley Chalmers, and many more. In 2010, the conference was awarded the Queen’s University Human Rights Initiative Award.
School of Medicine Building, Queen’s University
15 Arch St.
Friday, October 21st: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, October 22nd: 8:45 am – 3:00 pm
Click HERE for the program brochure and registration.
After Hurricane Matthew, there has been increased conversation around where people should donate to. Many Haitians have a severe mistrust of the UN after its accidentally introduced cholera in 2010 as well as the Red Cross after a report detailing corruption in donation funds after the earthquake were released earlier this year. IJDH’s Nicole Phillips explains that, post-hurricane, there is a big need for Haiti to shift out of a culture of dependency on international organizations.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.Why the United Nations is facing push-back as it tries to help Haiti
Zhai Yun Tan, The Christian Science Monitor
October 14, 2016Town residents help carry hurricane relief supplies, dropped off by a US military helicopter, to a waiting truck in Anse d’Hainault, southwestern Haiti, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. Haiti struggles to find enough aid to help the millions of residents affected by hurricane Matthew. (Photo from original article)
Tensions are high in Haiti after the country was hit by category 4 hurricane Matthew last week, as thousands continue to seek aid amid collapsed homes and infrastructure.
The increased friction has led to reports of United Nations peacekeepers firing at people attempting to ransack truck convoys carrying food. On Thursday, some Haitians protested and barricaded blue-helmeted peacekeepers, claiming a UN truck had hit and killed a motorcyclist, according to Reuters.
There are also calls for help from rural areas where access is hampered by destroyed roads…
Click HERE for the full article.
In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, officials and experts discuss and examine what the short and long term impacts will be. IJDH’s Beatrice Lindstrom discusses the major role cholera will play as time progresses and many are left without adequate treatment.Haiti faces fresh cholera outbreak after Hurricane Matthew, aid agencies fear
Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian
October 14, 2016Houses damaged and destroyed by Hurricane Matthew line a mountain road in south-western Haiti but a lack of clean water could be the storm’s more deadly legacy. (Photo from original article)
Cholera is surging in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew fouled wells, flooded rivers and latrines and forced survivors to drink contaminated storm water – even in regions that have received some deliveries of emergency aid.
Less than two weeks after the earthquake, at least 200 suspected new cases of cholera have been detected in the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is sending 1m cholera vaccines to Haiti at the end of this week.
Aid agencies fear that without a major effort by the international community, survivors of the storm will face a fresh outbreak of the disease.
“There will be many more cases of cholera, and unnecessary deaths, all across areas affected by the hurricane if large-scale cholera treatment and prevention response doesn’t reach them immediately,” said Conor Shapiro, president and CEO of the St Boniface Haiti Foundation, which operates a hospital in the southern part of Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew killed at least 473 people, and 752 people are missing, according to the United Nations’ latest tally.Locals wash clothes in Port Salut south-west of Port-au-Prince on Wednesday. Photograph: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images
And if access to food, water and shelter does not improve immediately, the death toll is expected to increase. In its wake, the hurricane left pools of stagnant water, overflowing rivers and dead bodies – creating a breeding ground for the waterborne disease.
In the worst-hit regions, efforts to deliver water treatment equipment have been hampered by debris that still blocks roads. And even those places that have received support have reported “huge” shortages of clean drinking water, forcing people to drink stormwater, said Beatrice Lindstrom, staff attorney at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). “It’s a race against time,” she said.
Lindstrom’s group has led a campaign to hold the UN accountable for its role in the cholera outbreak that hit nine months after the January 2010 earthquake. The disease was previously unknown in Haiti, and overwhelming evidence suggests that it was introduced to the country by UN peacekeepers from Nepal.
More than 9,200 people have since died from cholera and more than 769,000 have been treated in hospitals for the disease – and Lindstrom said that the hurricane has prompted fears of a fresh epidemic.
“In the first month after cholera broke out, after the earthquake, a thousand people were impacted,” said Lindstrom. “We’re really afraid that the same thing will happen in this situation – it just seems like access to water is already so, so limited.”
Those seeking treatment for the disease must confront a depleted healthcare system – a quarter of Haiti’s healthcare facilities, including cholera treatment centers, have been destroyed.
“What Matthew didn’t kill, cholera and infections are going to. Infections are coming in,” said the Haitian Health Foundation country director, Nadesha Mijoba,speaking from Jérémie, a city of 30,000 that was hit by the full force of the category 4 hurricane.People with cholera symptoms receive medical care in Saint Antoine hospital in Jérémie on Thursday. Photograph: Orlando Barria/EPA
The foundation serves Jérémie and 105 nearby mountain villages and is sending weekly food dispatches to 15 local orphanages, which have no refrigeration or storage. Of the foundation’s 184 staff members, 130 were made homeless by the hurricane.
“The situation was not easy after the earthquake, and with Hurricane Matthew, the situation has become more critical,” said Marie Thérèse Frédérique Jean Pierre, the Haiti director for children’s humanitarian group, Plan International.
In some places, 80% of the roofs have been lost, and 100% of the crops – which are grown primarily to feed the people who harvest them – have been destroyed. “The devastation will have a direct consequence on the population [and] will increase the malnutrition problems, mainly for children,” said Jean Pierre.
“I’m not afraid to say it, but in another three, four months, Haitians are going to die of starvation,” Emmanuel Valcourt, a farmer in the south, told the Miami Herald. “I really don’t see how we’re going to rebuild. We don’t have the financial means. We don’t have a job that would have allowed us to have savings. The few animals that we had are all dead.”
Jean-Luc Poncelet, a WHO representative in Haiti, said crop destruction in Haiti is particularly devastating because the food is grown by people to feed themselves. “That [food] has been washed away either by floods, and landslides and winds,” said Poncelet.Hurricane Matthew victims wait to receive food from the UN’s World Food Program in Roche-a-Bateaux, in Les Cayes, south-west Haiti. Photograph: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
He said that since only 10% of the country’s population was affected by the hurricane, recovery efforts and resources should be channeled through the country’s remaining population and institutions. “Channeling through institutions that exist in the country would be the most efficient,” Poncelet said.
But amid these concerns about food and shelter, the threat of contaminated water reigns.
“It really does seem like this is one of the most urgent situations that’s facing people after the hurricane,” said IJDH’s Lindstrom.
“The reports we’re getting from the ground so far are pretty horrific. There are still a number of towns that are completely cut off from aid because they are so inaccessible by road and even the ones who are slowly getting aid in, there is a huge shortage of potable water,” she said.
Plan International’s Jean Pierre said: “All our action through this emergency response will be to make sure children are safe and their families have some opportunities, some capacities to return to the normal life.”
Click HERE for the original article.