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Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Misery and Despair Plague Haitians
Responses to worst calamities are chronically inadequate.
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
Overall, there is a staggering gap between early enthusiasm and promises compared to current dire reality after half a year, showing no progress.
Six months after Haiti's January 12 quake, inadequate relief has arrived, numerous accounts calling conditions hellish, unsanitary and unsafe - New York Times writer Deborah Sontag's July 10 article for one, headlined, "In Haiti, the Displaced Are Left Clinging to the Edge," saying:
Oxfam's Julie Schindall said "Everywhere I go, people ask me 'When will we get out of this camp?' " She doesn't know so can't say.
In her July 3 article, Montreal Gazette writer Sue Montgomery headlined, "Haiti's camps of despair," saying "life in Haiti's 1,300 camps is crowded, unsanitary and increasingly dangerous, (an ongoing) miserable, boring existence....proper housing (and pre-quake conditions) years away" at best.
In dismal slums, she describes traumatized Haitians living in "torn, sweltering and soaked tents suitable at best for weekend camping," surrounded by rubble and the stench of rotting garbage, their patience taxed to the limit, their lives shattered for lack of basic services, including housing, sanitation, and enough food and clean water.
Torrential afternoon rains leave "lake-sized puddles in which mosquitoes breed, then spread malaria. Deep, raspy coughs can be heard everywhere. Scabies and other infections transform children's soft skin into irritating red bumpy rashes. Bellies are swelling and hair turning orange from malnutrition. Vomiting and diarrhea are as common as flies."
On June 25, writing in the Los Angeles Times, E. Thomas Johnson from the Danish DanChurchAid relief organization headlined "Haitians still wait for recovery," saying:
Although rubble clearance will take time, it's "shocking (that) it hasn't begun. In four days of driving through this sprawling, heavily populated city recently, I saw only one backhoe in operation (repairing a sewer line)." The only modest cleanup efforts are by Haitians with shovels and wheelbarrows, inadequate for the enormous task. A "convoy of construction equipment" is needed, but there's none. Why not, asked Johnson?
On July 3, Haitian-Truth.org saw "little hope for Haiti," the country infested with "a load of foreigners and local bureaucrats, businessmen and other exploiters maneuvering for part" of the billions of pledged aid, very little so far delivered, President Rene Preval, collaborating with corporate predators, mindless of his people's misery, some of the worst seen anywhere.
Pre-quake, most Haitians had no electricity or running water and still don't. Too little of everything affects the homeless, and construction is more talk than reality. Crime is always a problem, but "more prevalent (now, attacks in camps) terrorizing thousands, especially women and girls," Director Malya Villard of the Commission of Women Victims for Victims, Kofaviv, calling conditions "an ideal climate for rape."
"Heaven protect us" from international community "experts (and disaster capitalism profiteers). But then, Heaven" long ago forgot Haitians.
On July 13, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank headlined, "The sad math of US aid to Haiti: 6 months, 2 per" of the amount pledged, saying:
State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley called it an "enormous response." When asked what else the military would do, Col. Borrel said nothing, his remaining contingent "will redeploy back to the home station" after September 18.
OCHA July 1 Report
OCHA says over two million people have been affected, 1.5 million still living in 1,342 "spontaneous settlement sites;" all vulnerable to hurricanes, storms, and flooding; and another 661,000 with "host families." Unmentioned is that relief aid is woefully inadequate, and homeless Haitians are on their own, no meaningful plans in place to help them.
A July Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) report headlines, "Emergency Response after the Haiti Earthquake: Choices, Obstacles, Activities and Finance," saying:
Although health care delivery has improved modestly in recent months, urgent problems remain, especially the lack of "substantial, robust shelter. Sheeting and tents were never anything more than a very temporary solution," at best, lasting about six months. They're now deteriorating, torrential rains a major problem, turning tent cities into open sewers, making everyone vulnerable to infections, parasites, and diseases like malaria, cholera, and dysentary.
Sanitation is major problem. A single waste dump serves three million, and it's "full to overflowing," compounded by overwhelming trauma, vast devastation, and no plans in place to rebuild.
Overall, "There is a staggering gap between (early) enthusiasm and promises (replaced by) the dire reality on the ground after half a year," showing no progress.
A July 8 British Red Cross (BRC) report, titled " From sustaining lives to sustainable solutions: the challenge of sanitation in Haiti" called for an "urgent sanitation solution," saying it's one of Haiti's main priorities, so far unmet.
BRC Disaster Recovery Manager, Alastair Burnett, said humanitarian agencies "continue to provide a large proportion of water and sanitation services....However, sanitation is a much broader urban reconstruction issue that falls outside the capacity and remit of" these organizations, able only to contain, not solve a growing crisis. A committed international community must do it. Their priorities so far lie elsewhere, leaving Haitians on their own in dire straits.
Even before the quake, conditions were grim, less than one-fifth of the population with access to toilets. Now in affected areas, it's worse except for what aid agencies provide, including toilets, hygiene promotion, and clean water - for about 240,000 people of the two - three million affected.
Issues Affecting Women
The Huairou Commission is a "global coalition of networks, institutions and individual professionals that links grassroots women's community development organizations to partners (focusing on) five campaigns: Governance, AIDS, Disaster, Land and Housing and Peace Building."
In April, it published "An Assessment of Women's Current Conditions in Haiti (little different now from then), saying:
In Haiti, women are important because they "contribute to overall recovery....organiz(ing) themselves to distribute supplies, establish shelter, and pool labor and resources to create community support services" in times of emergency, often unknown and unacknowledged.
An assessment found the majority of women consulted living in precarious conditions, struggling daily for enough food, clean water, shelter, sanitation, and medical attention, with inadequate aid forthcoming to help.
Almost none of 400 women consulted got access to the "food surge" or other "Flash Appeal sponsored food or supply distribution." As of early April, only five of 38 organizations got NGO or international agency distributions, those getting it using it for their own purposes, not for the needy.
In most cases, women have been on their own finding safe water, available only to those who could pay. Inadequate food as well creates "a daily anxiety (about) how to keep children fed and their basic nutritional needs met."
In addition, most had to create their own shelter with bed sheets and other household fabrics, providing poor protection from rain, intense heat and insects. Poor sanitation makes exacerbates conditions, resulting in human waste and other garbage polluting the camps, creating serious hazards.
Their main medical concerns relate to communicable diseases in crowded camps, but a lack of medical attention complicates women's sexual and reproductive health, most groups saying it's become common for women to give birth on their own, posing serious health risks for mothers and newborns.
Other major concerns involve school for their children, employment for themselves, and safety and security, the latter a serious problem living in the open without electricity, leaving them vulnerable to theft and violence, including rape, numerous cases reported and many not, believed to be in the hundreds.
Overall, "women's longer term priorities included permanent, safe, and stable housing, education from the primary to professional levels, healthcare and employment opportunities, aspects of life (most) felt had not been adequately provided prior to the earthquake." Now they're in disarray.
Some organizations say women must be "central in the reconstruction, that they be included in decision-making as well as recruited" for recovery-generated jobs. They want the same opportunities as men, but few always plague Haiti, in better times facing crushing burdens, including widespread unemployment, deep poverty, and repression, except for the interregnum under Aristide, conditions the great majority of Haitians want restored.
A Final Comment
Problems plague Haiti that won't quit, one of many its prisons, those who know saying hell is being in one, a May 25, 2010 AFP report calling their conditions dire. So bad in fact that:
According to the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (RNDDH) spokeswoman Marie-Yolaine Gilles, detainees are being crammed into tiny cells and given no medical care or much else.
Ecumenical Centre for Human Rights Director Jean-Claude Bajeux, said conditions are so extreme that inmates "are sleeping standing up or just on scraps of fabric." They're not considered human and are treated horrifically under overcrowded, poor sanitation conditions, getting little medical care or even adequate food and clean water.
In some facilities, average cell space is less than half a square meter, little more than crowded standing room, creating tensions any spark can set off.
On May 22, New York Times writers Deborah Sontag and Walt Bogdanich headlined, "Escape Attempt Led to Killings of Unarmed Inmates," saying:
Unlike other prisons, this one sustained little damage, affording no exit to safety. "Instead, conditions worsened for the inmates," most pre-trial detainees, "arrested on charges as petty as loitering (or absurd like witchcraft or werewolfery) and locked up indefinitely alongside convicted felons."
According to justice reform advocate Maurice D. Geiger, "....you can be arrested in Haiti for practically nothing. And once you are arrested and go to prison, it is not only possible but likely that you will stay there for an extended period of time without seeing a judge."
According to a 2007 International Crisis Group report, the injustice turns prisons into "powder kegs awaiting a spark." The quake provided it, letting hundreds escape from Port-au-Prince's national penitentiary, its largest facility, after one of its walls collapsed.
In Les Caynes, prisoners were packed "into cells so crowded their limbs tangled, former prisoners said," so bad it provoked a riot, Haitian National Police (PNH) and UN Blue Helmets responding violently, rushing the facility and shooting indiscriminately.
According to a confidential UN report, former inmates, prison workers and relatives of the deceased, 19 were killed and dozens wounded after unarmed prisoners were forced to lie down. They were then shot in cold blood, Haitian officials denying what UN spokesman David Wimhurst said "a major human rights violation...."
According to Sontag and Bogdanich, "dozens (lay) dead and wounded, their bodies strewn through the courtyard and crumpled inside cells, (the) prison (a) blood-splattered mess."
The official cover-up was that no lethal force was used. Rather, security forces found "lifeless bodies" when they entered the prison, saying a "prison ringleader" was responsible, slaughtering fellow inmates before escaping, an account The Times writers reject, explaining:
According to human rights leader Myrtil Yonel, "For us, we consider this to be a massacre."
No investigations were conducted. Forensic evidence was destroyed, and these type killings occur often throughout Haiti, on streets and in neighborhoods, police and Blue Helmets terrorizing people, committing murder and atrocities with impunity.
Even children aren't spared, including in prisons. According to the Haitian National Human Rights Defense Network, dozens boys and girls are imprisoned, "....minors....receiving no special treatment whatsoever and routinely face prolonged preventive detention, overcrowding, poor conditions and no rehabilitation strategy," unbearable for anyone, let alone children who may be adults before freed.
A final note. Rescheduled from their original February and March dates, parliamentary and presidential elections will take place on November 28, but under what conditions remain to be seen, given the mass deaths, displacement, and devastation, including destruction of the Provisional Electoral Council's headquarters and most voter rolls that hadn't been updated since 2005, omitting hundreds of thousands of young people now eligible.
Under Haiti's Constitution, Preval can't succeed himself. His term expires on February 7, 2011, but on May 4 he decreed a three-month extension until May 14 (Parliament voting to allow it), exactly five years from the date he took office. Credible Haitian elections any time are challenging, more than ever now under dysfunctional conditions.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on July 14, 2010.