On Sun, Jan 31, 2010 at 10:59 PM, Flavia Cherry <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
FROM THE FRONT LINES
It is good to see that some efforts are being made to reach women in desperate need, but those of us on the ground are yet to see this happen in many of the areas where there is desperate need for food and relief. AID agencies MUST find a more humane way to reach out to the women and children who are most vulnerable and desperate. I know that the need is great, there is no excuse for what is the reality on the ground here in Haiti as Caribbean citizens offered help and many have even been denied entry. It is obvious that the aid agencies, (well intentioned as they may be) are unable to handle the scale of the problem here in Haiti. So why are they not being inclusive and involving more Haitian and Caribbean institutions in the relief and recovery efforts? Something is very wrong about the picture here in Haiti because while international agencies are dropping the ball in an attempt to monopolize aid efforts, Haitians are dying. Apart from lines for women, there is an urgent need for volunteers to go into the camps to reach women, children, disabled and elderly people who are unable to move.
It is a disgrace for so much money to be circling around to all kinds of aid groups and every single day I see so many people hungry, desperate. This situation is simply not acceptable. There are women in camps who have not had anything to eat for days. There are many available Haitians who are willing to assist as volunteers to get the aid to those who need it and CARICOM was willing to send help, but something seems to be really wrong. Why are Caribbean Governments not allowed to play a more pivotal role, especially as there are many CARICOM citizens and regional security officers who speak creole and would be able to communicate better with the people of Haiti.
What I see on the ground is lots of big fancy air conditioned vehicles moving up and down with foreigners, creating more dust and pollution on the
roads. Thousands of military officers everywhere, heavily armed like they are
in some kind of battle zone. The girl guides and boy scouts of Haiti are also out in their uniforms, but unlike the army of troops, they are up and about, assisting in many ways. I saw a group of the boy scouts and girl guides directing traffic today, Sunday!
From the very beginning, I have been asking why aid agencies did not arrange separate lines for women, children and disabled people. It is obvious that if you leave people hungry for 5 to 8 days without food, they will be desperate and when food finally arrives, it will be survival of the fittest.
The international agencies allowed confusion to reign supreme for more than two weeks while sensational and racist media people were merrily portraying images of hungry people fighting for food. At least now that they have suddenly realized the need for separate lines, I hope that this happens at every single distribution point, because as I am writing this email, that certainly is NOT the case.
I would like to share two separate events which I witnessed yesterday.
The first one is what I call a miracle birth. A young lady who had both legs amputated delivered a healthy baby on the ground, under a bed sheet. Not
only were both legs amputated, but she had bandages all over her hips. Because
of her condition, this expectant mother should never have been left out there on the streets at that advanced stage of her pregnancy because the chances of having a normal delivery in her physical condition were very slim. At the time of the delivery, people were everywhere, men, women, children, all huddled
together under those sheets, for shelter from the sun. If there were
complications, both mother and baby could very easily have passed, as no one in the camp had any transport or means of getting the mother to a medical facility. Other mothers were there with their newborns. This poor mother had nothing, no milk, no clothing for the baby, nothing! A doctor eventually came, but the mother was left there, with her baby, so we brought milk and supplies, including a sleeping bag. I know these are not normal times, but it is exactly for this reason, international aid agencies should be more inclusive and engage all those who are willing and capable of providing support.
The second incident happened in the heart of Port Au Prince yesterday where the largest number of people are living under the most inhumane conditions. I was taking pictures, when suddenly everyone started to run towards the Palace
gates. I stood on top of a vehicle and realized that it was President Preval
who had ventured onto the lawn and people starting shouting out to him, saying
that they were hungry. President Preval came to the fence and hundreds of
people kept running towards the fence. Many of them were shouting ¨Lavalas,
Aristide, Lavalas, Aristide¨. Several others were asking President Preval why
he had not addressed his people and told them what was happening. One woman put it this way: (I have not had anything to eat for four days and no one is hearing anything from the President, we have no idea what our Government is doing). I am using brackets because I cannot find quotation marks on this French keyboard.
President Preval spoke to those who were closest to the fence, but the large number of people who were pushing and shoving to get a glimpse of him, obviously heard nothing. At least I got a picture of the whole scene, including President Preval behind the fence with hundreds of people right next to him on the other side. Something about that scene convinced me even more, that there is really no need for such a heavy military presence in Haiti. What Haiti needs is an army of medical, civilian and specialist volunteers who will work with the people of Haiti to rebuild their nation - not a heavily armed military of more than 50,000 standing guard over them.
PS: I must express appreciation for the many
volunteers from various countries who are giving very
genuine assistance to the people of Haiti, but my
comments remain relevant because of the reality on the
World Pulse ~ January 27, 2010
Holding Up Haiti:
Women Respond to Nightmare Earthquake
"It's important for us to recognize how strong women have been in this; how much leadership we have shown." Liliane Pierre-Paul "There's no doubt that the earthquake has had a massive impact on Haitian women, in ways that we as feminists and women leaders have yet to really take in." - Liliane Pierre-Paul
World Pulse correspondent Anne-christine d'Adesky talks with grassroots leader Liliane Pierre-Paul following Haiti's 7.0 earthquake.
"We are ready to lead." - Liliane Pierre-Paul
All along the grid of streets that crisscross the Bois Verna neighborhood of Haiti's shell-shocked capital lies evidence of mass destruction in heaps of tangled concrete and twisted steel so massive one shudders to think of the people who now lie entombed there. It's week two following le gran chocthe great shockand everywhere one goes, from the ports to the hillsides, from the poorest shanties to the palatial homes of the rich elite, the rubble remains as a testament to the sheer leveling power of January 12s earthquake.
Even two weeks later the earth continues to unleash daily aftershocks that both terrify and remind dazed survivors that the nightmare is not over, nor is the danger. Ironically, the only houses that have managed to escape the historic 7.0 earthquake that leveled much of the country are the elegant gingerbread-style wooden homes that are reminders of colonialism and slaveryperiods that shaped Haitis resilience and courage as a people.
When I arrive on Saturday, January 23, there are no longer crowds of frantic relatives picking through collapsed buildings for loved ones. And there are no longer aid workers anxiously placing their ears to the giant cracks that run up the buildingslistening for the faint cries that kept hope alive day upon day. The air is getting clearer, though it's still dusty. Here and there the faintly nauseating sour-sweet smell of death rises up from giant mounds of broken cement that entomb loved ones.Port-au-Prince has become a giant cemetery. People around me seem unable to grasp the sheer enormity of what has happened to their country. They stare at the words scrawled in Kreyol across any and all remaining walls: an X, a demoli, meaning to be demolished. Haitis people are still shocked and unable to imagine how to begin grieving for their dead as they take on the challenge of living and rebuilding a future. At night, sections of the city's population are camped out, witnessing, reliving the horror out loud, laying their exhausted bodies and the few goods they could rescue in front of still-standing houses that no longer offer shelter or safety. With another shrug of the earth, they too could fall.
That's where I am told to find Liliane Pierre-Paul, one of Haiti's leading journalists and a fierce feminist, as well as an old friend. She's been spending her days and nights camping out in the concrete courtyard of her second home, Radio Kiskeya. The building that houses one of Haiti's most popular community radio stations was damaged, I was informed, and the studio where Liliane has resumed broadcasting is not safe. Her team is looking for a new space, but in the meantime, there's an urgency to speak out, to give voice to ordinary Haitians who lost their public forumcommunity radioduring the first week of the quake. That includes women, who, Liliane confirms, have been tremendous in responding to the quake and the myriad challenges that have followedordinary women, market women, elite housewives, grandmothers, and girlsdisplaying remarkable courage and solidarity.
A dynamic woman with a warm manner, Liliane meets me in the small reception area of the radio station, glancing up from time to time at the ceiling, watching, I assume, for signs of weakness. She's wearing a knitted Rasta-looking capfrom Ethiopia, she tells meand a white shawl with casual trousers. Despite years of intense living and speaking out against successive Haitian dictators and strongmen, she remains youthful looking and clearly battle-ready, even if weary and grieving for lost colleagues and friends."From the minute the buildings fell," Liliane informs me, "women were there and everywhere. They were leading the way into buildings; leading stunned children into safety; tending to the wounded; screaming and demanding help; speaking to the foreign media and CNN; setting up instant street kitchens and camps; singing, witnessing, praying. There's no doubt that the earthquake has had a massive impact on Haitian women," Liliane confirms, "in ways that we as feminists and women leaders have yet to really take inwe haven't been able to analyze this. It's just survival now. We're so busy trying to cope right this minute, to just get through this day. But we know... I know... it's huge."
I ask her about Myriam Merlet and other well-known women leaders who were killed in the earthquake. She shakes her head, extends her fingers widely and fans her arms to indicate a large space. . . "We've lost so many leaders, so many women leaders, and so many women at all levels that it's just... just... inestimable." Shes trying to find her words. "It's an enormous loss." In a breath, she ticks off the names of the famous and the lesser-known: "You've got Myriam Merlet, and Magalie Marcelin. There's Anne Marie Coriolan of SOFA, the Society of Haitian Women. They're right across the street. You've got Myrna Narcisse Theodore, who died and was with the Ministry of Women. She was really a presence at the Ministry. There's also Nicole Gregoire, who was in the public administration. She was an important woman who did a lot in the area of Haitian-Dominican affairs, who really did something... Liliane pauses, looking around, her fingers counting. "There are more, there are more... We should name them, it's important.She closes her eyes, concentrating. "You have Gina Dorcena, an ex-journalist who was with Radio Tropic. You have the woman who deals with geospatial issues..." She grabs my leg: My God, of course there's Mireille Angladeune grande femmeagain, an immeasurable loss.We have two members of SOFA that died, Mirland Dorvilus and Bernardine Bourdeau...." Liliane stops, reflective. "There's also an enormous loss of women who were in the professional sectors, and young womenso many young women who were our next generation of leaders. How can we even measure this?"
Liliane informs me that two days prior, at SOFA, surviving women leaders from across social sectors met to talk about the impact of the earthquake, which damaged SOFA and destroyed the office of Kay Fanm, a leading women's rights organization. There are a litany of community non-profits, microfinance organizations, rural centers, and other institutions serving women that have been destroyed or impacted by the quake.
"We're going to have to assess, and then find ways to help," she says.
What about how the earthquake affected ordinary women? In Haiti, there's a Kreyol word used for the central, fundamental role of women: Poto-Mitan, from the French word Poteau, as in 'the solid beam that holds up the house.' Haitian women are regarded as the brick and the engine of societythe mothers, the caregivers, the money-makers, and market-vendors, the ones who work tirelessly to care for their children and husbands and parents.
"Tu touche la femme, tu touche la famille," Liliane says, reciting another well-known fact: When you touch women, you touch the family.
By now, we know that at least 140,000 lie dead in the rubble of the quake in Port-au-Prince, and that smaller cities like Jacmel, Petit Goave, and Jeremie suffered equally or even greater comparative destruction. Tens of thousands have been injured. Within these statistics are women and girls, including snapshots that reflect a terrible loss: 300 nurses in one institution, the collapse of schools with many girls, and more. Now, looking ahead, there are many women and girls who have amputated limbs, crushed bodies. And there are the women and girls who remain profoundly traumatized, in need of mental health services, as well as physical therapy, and ongoing restorative care.
There is also the additional vulnerability and threat of sexual violence and violence to women and girls that is a common feature during catastrophe and social instability. Without shelter or safety, there is real reason to worry about the period ahead. Haitian groups and UN agencies have gone public about their fear that sex traffickers will target Haitian children and orphans, especially girls. As a leading orphan's advocate stressed this week, "This is a serious preoccupation for us right now. We have to be vigilant and proactive to confront this threat."
Yet, as Liliane Pierre-Paul stresses, Haitians have long proven unbelievably strong and resilient, and women have demonstrated this in spades since the nightmare of January 12."It's important for us to recognize how strong women have been in this; how much leadership we have shown," she says. "As of now we haven't been able to really tell that story, the story of ordinary women, because we lost our voicethe radiofor that critical first week. And we've been in a state of complete survival and shock. But let me tell you, they have been incredible. The Haitian women are mobilizing. Even with everything that's been lost, with all their own injuries and pain, they are brave. It has to be said."
Later, at SOFA, we come together to set an agenda for how to include women's voices in the discussions about rebuilding Haiti. We talk about how if there are any people who are prepared to survive nature's most catastrophic earthquake, it is Haitians, a population that has learned to live with almost nothing, a people who have forever endured a scale of suffering unlike anywhere else in this hemisphere. We talked about the innumerable demonstrations of extraordinary strength and human spirit all around us: as individuals, as women, as a people, as a nation.
Looking ahead, Liliane is confident that women leaders will rally, and a new generation will rise to the extreme challenges that lie ahead. That includes creating fresh avenues for women to not only lead but to have a voice in the rebuilding of Haiti that is being envisioned now. And it means reaching out to other women, men, and groups around the world to ask for support and partnership."We need many partners, but we are ready to lead. That's the message that needs to be broadcast."
Anne-christine d'Adesky is a writer and journalist with family roots in Haiti. She is a regular contributor to World Pulse and a member of the PulseWire community. She covered Haitian political affairs during the 1980s and early 90s, and published a book about post-Duvalier Haiti called 'Under the Bone' (FSG, 1994). She is currently planning a book about the rebuilding of Haiti following the devastating earthquake.
blog, Haiti Vox at: http://www.haitivox.com/
Contrary to the media, State Department, NGO and USAID/US Embassy spins, it's the Haitian Diasporas $2 billion dollars per year remittances, not foreign aid that upholds Haiti. No other national group in the world sends more money to their homeland than Haitians living in the Diaspora - http://bit.ly/9qDT7G .
(Does the Western economic calculation of wealth fit Haiti - fit Dessalines idea of wealth distribution? No. http://bit.ly/5M0aaW ; The Western vs. the Real Narrative on Haiti - http://bit.ly/a39pNY )
WE ARE THE HAITIANS
We are the Haitians - from the womb to the tomb our lives is about struggle n ap lite against Western oppression and re-colonization. Nou La! We are here! Still. After two centuries of struggle. No force has taken us down, none shall. There are 4.5 million Haitians abroad, more than 9million at home.
We beat back 19years of US occupation before; weve beat back neocolonialism so as not to be DEVELOPED like the rest of the Caribbean where the Black majority deny their African-roots, are pushed into ghettos, own no property and are essentially, servants to Western corporatocracy - maids, butlers, housekeepers, and sexual playthings for visiting tourist. Not going to happen.
Not on Dessalines land. (See, Does the Western economic calculation of wealth fit Haiti - fit Dessalines idea of wealth distribution?
BEFORE THE EARTHQUAKE
Before the horrific Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, Ezilis HLLN was basically the sole international voice mobilizing against charity aid workers, non-for-profit pedophiles and UN soldiers, sexually molesting, abusing and raping, Haiti's children and people behind the facade of foreign benevolence, Christian charity, peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. The earthquake has exponentially exacerbated the problem of foreigners feeding off of Haiti's poverty and man-made and natural disasters. But, HLLN, is NOT in shock. We've never been seduced by the traditional Western savoir narrative. We are here - Nou La! and there are today an estimated one million Haitian children who are unaccompanied, orphaned or lost one parent: 1 million. (See, Haiti earthquake by the numbers http://bit.ly/a3m6g5.)
Many good-hearted people from abroad want to open up their arms to these orphans and that is all good. But the predators who prey on tragedy and misfortunes of the weak, folks like accused pedophile Douglas Perlitz, or ex-priest John Duarte, or the deported 114 Sri-Lankan UN soldiers who turned Haiti into a nightmare trafficking and sexually abusing Haitis children and peoples are still in Haiti. (Editorial: Fairfield should have helped Haiti months ago http://bit.ly/9hju7W ; Douglas Perlitz indicted for abusing homeless boys in Haiti for a decade - http://bit.ly/9nt0Oq; John Duarte - another accused Canadian pedophile of Haitian children http://bit.ly/7j7C8W ; and, UN Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Aid Workers raping, molesting and abusing Haitian children - http://bit.ly/3yJpcn )
Let it be known that these new, one million orphans are NOT up for sale! If there is to be any overseas relocation program, Haitian families ought to be given priority to take in these children, FIRST. The myth that Haitians do not CARE for their children is just that, a myth. As HLLN has proven over and over again in our work to expose the foreign predators hiding behind white privilege, NGO legitimacy and the victorious US/UN occupation of Haiti since 2004.
Unlike many helping Haiti, HLLN has been doing this work for two decades now and yet the only fundraising HLLN has ever done is to ask people who read our writings and get our post to consider subscribing at $12dollars a month.
But that can no longer be the case. Good-hearted citizens from all over the world are donating money to "help" Haiti but they don't have the slightest clue of the corporate predators out there that will feed off their generosity, no clue.
When I first was the legal advisor to President Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti in 1994, I had another title at the Ministry of Justice, it was Coordinator of Haiti Donors Coordinateurs Des Bailleurs des Fond. In that position, working in the Ministry of Justice as the Haitian ministers legal advisor and as liaison between the Haitian justice ministry and the international donors, I got first hand experience on how Haitis friends, Haiti donors, the International community pledge funds to secure their countrys interests, to corrupt and buy Haiti officials to that end. Foreign aid is NOT about empowering Haitians, or securing Haitian interests. We Haitians know it, I lived it, HLLN lawyers who wanted to secure Haitis interest, were forced out of Haiti by the USAID and the then US ambassador to Haiti because as they said clearly and loudly we had a conflict of interest.
HLLN did not let that stop our work to change Haitis paradigm. Weve used our own limited resources, continued since 1995 to this day, to try and expose the corrupting USAID/US embassy presence in Haiti and their NGOs that deny Haitian sovereignty. Entrap Haitian leaders, like President Aristide and President Preval. HLLN has experience with the colony narrative, the two most common neocolonial storylines (http://bit.ly/cpN46E ) about Haiti and false charity, false orphanages, false benevolence, and false donor aid. That is why, the minute the extent of the earthquake became known, we could SEE -through these predator's eyes - the money they KNOW they will make from Haiti's misfortune: over 200,000 dead; maybe 400,000 bodies yet to be recovered from under the rubble, 1 million Haitians displaced, 236,000 Haitians have fled to the Haitian outback, between 700,000 to 800,000 are living in makeshift camps.
Untold numbers are suffering injuries and wounds without any pain medication or medical treatment; the number of injured is estimated at 194,000. 70 percent of the buildings in Port au Prince collapsed on their occupants and in Kafou and other towns closer to the epicenter of the quake 90 percent of the buildings flattened their inhabitants. Leogane, Les Cayes, Petit Goave and other points South, destroyed. This colossal tragedy is so unfathomable, so unfathomable.
But we can see how the proponents of disaster capitalism, of profit-over-people values are looking at this and USAID is nothing if not the arm of the US State Department/Pentagon for pursuing the interests of the corporatocracy, of Wall Street, not Main Street. That is indisputable in Haiti and has been so for 50-years. The vultures are circling the mounds of Haitian corpse and earthquake injured and envisioning dollar signs.
I know for those who dont understand, who live in suburban amnesia, that this reality is unfathomable and too ugly to contemplate. I know because once upon a time, I too was also so blissfully ignorant. I know those Americans and others who are raised and bred on "we do not use our power to subjugate others, we use it to lift them up!!!" as Barack Obama aid just recently in reference to Haiti - http://bit.ly/8VaBs3 - will think we Haitians at HLLN are ungrateful morons. I know it because Ive gotten the defensive mail to prove it. Heres one example that summarizes them all:
Please - get over yourself!!! Stop blaming the US and Bush for all the worlds problems!! Earthquakes happen!! If the US wanted to take over Haiti we would already own it!!! We come to someones aid and people cry takeover!! If our coming to a country's aid is so dangerous perhaps we should stop helping, then where would the world be and how many would die?? Get a life & go bash someone else for a bit!!! I'm PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!!!
But as difficult as it is for proud Haitians and proud Haitian-Americans, who have a long history with US/Euro false benevolence and inequalities to articulate such injustices and depravities, we also CANNOT take on the imposition of hurt feelings from defensive folks, programmed to see the land of the free and the brave with justice and liberty for all. Its that yes, and also a predatory empire that conducts under-the-radar resource wars all over the planet. Both are true. Thats the meaning of Bourgeoisie Freedom, which the African warriors who liberated Haiti from Euro enslavement and colonialism, rejected. The US is the land of great freedom, dignity and decency AND the land of profit-over-people values that enslaves the poor, fleeces Main Street. Haiti is the FIRST place where the Europeans brought the Africans in chains to work their gold mines and plantations. First place where the curse of Euro-inflicted genocide and organized racial exclusion of the black masses begun in the Western Hemisphere. Haitians were born, became Haitian in the land of the Tainos, as an anecdote to that curse.
The Haitian struggle is the greatest David vs. Goliath battle being played out on this planet (http://bit.ly/2vqDXL ). Neither Vodun nor Haitians have ever gone out to dominate any one or any country. Weve fought in self-defense only to live free, helped to free many other countries that were enslaved.
Would have freed or inspired more, as Harriet Tubman said, if they knew they were enslaved.
USAID MUST GO Let Our People Go!
The first error is that Obama has refused to understand HLLNs concerns in this and that USAID is part of the problem and so can NEVER be part of the solution in Haiti. And yet, their agency are the ones assigned to run the US earthquake relief effort and working to REBUILD Haiti! What a TRAVESTY! (See, Travesty in Haiti - False aid, false charity, false orphanages, false benevolence - http://bit.ly/5REp5Z ; The Slavery in Haiti the Media Won't Expose - http://bit.ly/1zFCt. See also - Haitian-Americans ask the Obama team to end the UN/US occupation, stop USAID and the NGOs, support sustainable development... http://bit.ly/lbrml and HLLN on oversight needed on USAID,
HLLN's mission has NOT changed. If the Obama State Department wants a different paradigm, a change in US-Haiti relationship, then this earthquake relief effort should not be militarized and must NOT be led by USAID nor, for that matter its counterparts in France/Canada, et al and their racist NGO subcontractors who are busy telling all and sundry how there are zones of security instability in Haiti and to view the Haitian people as violent animals about to pounce on charity workers and US military. Its this self-serving myth that allowed for the UN/US/France/Canada occupation of Haiti since 2004 in the first place. (See, Expose the lies: Violent Haiti is a myth - There's MORE violence in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, even in the United States than there is in Haiti - http://bit.ly/8RHlfy)
unsubstantiated and racist fear mongering of USAID,
Robert Gates and the State Department and their
counterparts in France and Canada was transmitted and
continues to be transmitted to both the incoming
militaries and all the NGOs in post-earthquake Haiti as
before. Its a self-fulfilling prophecy to keep
Haiti in perennial bondage and in need of rescue.
Their media sycophants took on the refrain and, as usual,
it has cost HAITIAN lives!!!.
HLLN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUND
HLLN has launched the HLLN - Nou La/We are here! - relief fund to help the earthquake victims and to use this crisis limelight on Haiti to SHOW that its USAID and its NGOs and US policy in Haiti thats violent. Haitians are a peaceful people. USAID and its Haitian Oligarchy and NGO subcontractors, masturbating on Black pain, for over 50-years with zero development achievement, have been trumpeting the Haitians-are-criminals-bandits-corrupt-and-violent-line to mostly keep itself in a job. Because of this Western narrative about Haiti, because the powers-that-be traditionally support dictatorship against the peoples choice, Haitians are the most persecuted human beings in the entire Western Hemisphere, (See, The Western vs. the Real Narrative on Haiti -
http://bit.ly/a39pNY) With the earthquake, the militarization of aid, the drilling for oil, mining for uranium, gold, copper, iridium, marble, etc., the exclusion and exploitation on top of horrific physical and psychic pain shall be broader and more massive unless decent people, of all the races, lift up their blinders and stop denying the historical and current reality in Haiti.
Together we must keep the poor alive with dignity and help heal both the oppressor and the oppressed. Together, we must raise money to meet these newly arriving and embolden predators who are FEEDING off this earthquake tragedy - all of them.
Please support this work. Donate to HLLN's earthquake relief fund - http://bit.ly/7UMx7q. ) Circulate these posts. Support Haitian-led, Haiti-capacity building relief efforts. We can be the change were looking for on this planet. Yes, we can! Thank you very much.
Men anpil chay pa lou Many hands make light a heavy load.
Ezili Dantò of HLLN
January 27, 2010
Forwarded by Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Haiti's elite hold
nation's future in their hands
January 21, 2010|
Reporting from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti Gregory Mevs leaped from his armored silver Toyota SUV and marched past the guards and mango trees into what serves these days as the center of the Haitian government.He was ready to dispense a million gallons of fuel to the earthquake-ravaged capital. But the paperwork was not in order. He needed the Haitian primeminister's signature.Ten minutes later, he had it.
Mevs can do that. He has the prime minister's ear. He hobnobs with people like Bill Clinton, George Soros and the chief executives of the world's largest corporations. He is one of Haiti's storied elite, a member of one of the six families that control the Haitian economy and have essentially called the shots here for generations. They are mostly light-skinned, multilingual entrepreneurs with a dismal reputation for profiting handsomely on the backs of the poorest people in the hemisphere. The actions they take now will prove decisive in how Haiti recovers from one of the deadliest natural catastrophes in modern times.
Some have described Haiti's earthquake as "democratic" because it afflicted poor and rich alike. That would be an oversimplification. The rich are never hurt the same way the poor are. Their capacity for revival, thanks to resources, private planes and visas, vastly outdistances that of the poor and middle class..................It takes people with Mevs' skills and wherewithal to get much of anything done in Haiti these days. What's left of the government -- every major institution was pulverized -- has essentially ceded important sections of the recovery operations to the businessmen.
In theory, these businessmen report to a committee that includes members of President Rene Preval's administration, but most are acting independently. It has to be that way, they'd argue. "We have, more than ever, a tremendous responsibility to help this country rebuild. We are needed," Mevs said. "I know people, I have access, I can get financing, I know how to negotiate." Mevs' days are filled with all that and more. His BlackBerry buzzing incessantly, he rushes to hospitals to see how much gasoline they need, then gets it for them. He oversees the off-loading of tons of Dutch aid. He sets up computers for the provisional government, which is working out of a police station flying the Haitian flag at half-staff................
The Mevs family owns all the petroleum storage facilities in the country, 30% of the Internet business, a 2.4-million-square-foot industrial park and a network of 50 warehouses for food and other material, among many other properties. Mevs figures he lost as much as $40 million at the wharf his family owns, where most oil shipments are received. That's only a fraction of his financial losses, however. And when half the wharf fell into the sea, it took 54 workers with it.
Most of the elite are descendants of Europeans who in the mid- to late 1800s came to Haiti. (Mevs' grandfather came from Hamburg, Germany, in search of a rare breed of parrot.) They were -- and are, for the most part -- merchants. Their money is from commerce. They control all the major sectors of the economy, from banking and telecommunications to apparel factories and food. They go to the French schools here, and they attend university in Miami. They vacation in Europe. They live farther up the hills that rise above the squalor of Port-au-Prince.Haitians sometimes refer to them as the Bambam, each letter the initial of one of the six families. Patrick Elie, a leftist sociologist who has been extremely critical of Haiti's elite, said the magnitude of the disaster may shake the wealthy out of their complacency. Several have spoken of feeling "humbled" by the ordeal.
"This crisis will separate those who can pick up and go from those with real roots, who are heavily invested in Haiti and whose survival depends on the survival of the country," Elie said. As if to suggest the beginnings of a new Haitian world order, Elie was sitting outside the government's refuge next to Mevs' brother, Fritz -- an ardent Aristide ally wearing a Che Guevara cap next to one of Haiti's wealthiest men. They embraced.
Gregory Mevs bristled when a visitor referred to him as part of the cabal of families running the place. It's an unfair and outdated image, he argued. Years of dictatorship stifled any sense of civic duty, he said, but today's globalized economy means that entrepreneurs can no longer cling to colonial ways. "My generation is between two worlds," he said. "We had to learn how to reach out, we had to learn to work with social responsibility." Mevs' house, next door to the prime minister's, was damaged, and he and his family have been camping at a friend's house, sleeping on their lawn. His children, who were at home when the quake hit, watched in horror as an exterior all collapsed and crushed the family gardener to death. Mevs' niece was among the people trapped at the Hotel Montana, a legendary salon for the Haitian elite and visiting intelligentsia that pancaked into a concrete mountain. Rescuers pulled her from the rubble. As Mevs traveled about Port-au-Prince, he bounced between eagerness to rebuild and despair over the devastation. His chauffeur has been so traumatized, he said, that he has been in two wrecks in the last few days.
Mevs noted that Haitian construction uses a lot of pillars and concrete slabs to withstand hurricanes. No one was thinking much about earthquakes, he said. The gorgeously quaint slat-wood house built in 1911 that serves as Mevs' main office endured the quake undisturbed. He acquired the armored vehicle with darkened windows and diplomatic license plates four years ago at his wife's request, he said. He was working a lot in Cite Soleil, the enormous slum that abuts some of his commercial properties.
Mevs is the official consul of Finland.
AMHE Medical Relief Report, Jan. 25, 2010
Progress Report 1/25/2010
The Association of Haitian Physicians abroad deployed today to Port-au-Prince another contingent of Physicians and Nurses divided into two groups. I st group leaving from JFK will arrive to Haiti via DR.
Jean Bernard Poulard, MD Team Leader, Georges Angus, MD, Team leader, Micheline Dole, MD, Julius Garvey, MD, Lionel Lefevre, MD, Calvin Mathieu, MD ,Emmanuel Hostin, MD, Gardy Joseph, MD, Anthony Boutin, MD, Gerald Augustin, PA, M Ortelou, Boyer, RN, N. Carvallo PT, Ridgeley Ochs, John Williams, Carole Dubuche MD, Sabrina Jasmin RN
2nd group leaving from Florida should arrive early morning.Vladimir Berthaud MD , AMHE Team leader, Nissage Cadet, MD, Vascular Surgery , David Young MD, Surgeon Trauma and Critical Care, Gregory Dale-Casey MD, Surgeon Trauma and Critical Care, Jean Claude Desmangles MD, Pediatric Endocrinology, Vernat Exil MD, Pediatric Cardiology, Rubens Pamies MD from Nebraska U. Many nurses are included.
If we are replacing individuals who had returned, we clearly have sent so far a total of 150 medical personnel ( FL and NY) to the center of this horrific disaster. We are grateful to Voluntary Ministries for using their planes free of Charge. We thank the members who have paid their own ticket to help Haiti.
Our AMHE Relief Mission team in the field in Port au Prince are Dr Pierre-Paul Cadet, Maxime Coles, MD orthopedist, Dr Mildred Olivier , ophthalmologist and Dr Serge Pierre Louis Neurology. Dr Cadet is working with Haitian Red Cross to develop better logistics: tent accommodations. . etc. If you need any of these above specialists, just call
Dr PP Cadet at the General Hospital +37896363. In the states, email us at amhereliefmission@ amhe.org,
To volunteer, please visit our website www.amhe.org
2)Dr Andre Vulcain a native of Leogane presents his report. Read it to understand why we need a long term commitment to Haiti.
I traveled to Haiti the same day the earthquake stroke. I landed in Port au Prince at noon time and my plan was to go the same day to Cap Haitien where we are operating our program . Because of the bad weather conditions in the northern part of the country, I decided to spend the night in Port au Prince and to fly the next day to Cap. I checked in the Visa Lodge Hotel, in the vicinity of the International Airport at about 2PM. I was in my bedroom at the hotel when the earthquake hit. Fortunately, for me personally, it was more of a big scare than real harm. I was emotionally shaken but physically fine.
The hotel was also fine . Overnight, various reports coming from outside of the hotel started to mention widespread destruction and many deaths. The next day, I actively looked for my immediate relatives and I toured the city to have an idea of the damages. My relatives were OK, even though my sister- in- law and my niece came out miraculously of the rubble of their heavily damaged home with some mild to moderate contusions. People on the streets were shell-shocked and some neighborhood looked like they had been bombed. Dead people were lying on the sidewalks and the valiant Haitian people, in an impressive demonstration of solidarity and compassion, were the first bare- hand responders without support or guidance from the authorities, trying frantically to extract some unfortunate victims from the rubble. Some of them died hours after been removed from the collapsed houses without a modicum of medical assistance.
On Post earthquake Day 2 , I ended up in Delmas 75 at my aunts house .
I got the news of the UM hospital by the airport being set up, but I couldnt reach them due to a lack of fuel in the vehicle I was using and the chaotic traffic on the roads leading to the airport .
I heard about an orphanage providing care to the victims at walking distance of where I was staying. I went there and I met two Haitian doctors who were working there since the morning (an orthopedist, Dr. Paul Pelissier and an anesthesiologist, Dr. Gabriel. They live in the neighborhood. Several Haitian medical students were also there to help. We quickly surveyed the place together and assessed the supplies and meds available. Fortunately, the orphanage looked pretty well stocked, by Haitian standards, in some basic supplies and 2 American missionary nurses offered their generous help. Some young Haitian volunteers came to help with the logistics . When I arrived, there were about 50 patients crowding the small courtyard of the orphanage and
2 rooms converted in Pedi wards. More patients were waiting outside desperate to get in the courtyard to have some medical attention. For the next three days we basically worked days in and days out and among other things, splinting and casting closed fractures , reducing dislocations of limbs , setting creative traction systems for alignment of displaced fractures, suturing wounds, debriding infected wounds and opened fractures, watching suspicious abdomens, providing IV and PO hydrations to those who needed it, as well as pain medication (mostly oral), performing supra pubic taps for patients with pelvic fracture and bladder retention (very difficult to find a foley catheter) .The owners of the orphanage were tending to the spiritual needs of our patients and providing much needed psychological support as well as food . Our team was, by luck, highly complementary and just after a couple of hours we were working effectively and efficiently focusing on the goal of helping our unfortunate brothers and sisters .
On Post earthquake Day 3 and 4 , we had to perform 2 amputations ( upper arm and forefoot for severely infected wound and sepsis ) .Those procedures were basically life- saving interventions for quasi gangrenous limbs. We used some basic suture kits and some godsend hemostatic clamps and suture materials . We had to use also some additional non surgical instruments to perform the procedures . I went fishing for them in the toolbox of my cousin where I was staying (saw etc ) .We make sure that all instruments used or to be used went to a three-stage process of sterilization ( bleach solution , boiling and bethadine bath ). We also performed two fasciotomies for compartment syndromes ( limb saving ). The anesthetist did a very good job providing pain control through regional blocks . Diclofenac IM worked miracle for pain control in the postop . My surgical training and experience that preceded my dedication to family medicine were definitely helpful in these particular circumstances
Our major surgery patients (amputees ) were free of complications on their 3rd post op day with stumps showing signs of great improvement . We discharged them with antibiotics and instructions to report to another facility as our clinic was closing shop after we took care of about 100 patients .We had no death of patients who made it to our facility .
On Post earthquake Day5 , I made a first trip to Leogane .We had received bad news from the area and I was especially touched by the situation . I found the city where I grew up almost totally destroyed with limited assistance after
5 to 6 days . My colleagues Dr. Guy Craan , an Haitian MD and a Public Health specialist had talked to me over the phone and made me aware of the situation and we decided to start a care unit there jointly with a team of Haitians and Cuban doctors already in the area. I went back to Port au Prince ( by that time I had some diesel for the vehicle I was using ) and I got a good amount of medical supplies from the UM hospital by the airport which we loaded in a pickup truck . Two haitian physicians joined our team . The post is up and running now as a multinational care unit at the entrance of Leogane .
I left Haiti 2 days ago and I am planning to return next week .
Recommendations for medical teams:
1- The following specialties are the most needed: orthopedists, general surgeons, anesthesiologists, family physicians and ID specialists, counselors for emotional support, trauma and emergency care nurses, infection control nurses.
2- Small and well balanced teams of physicians (3) and nurses(3) adjusted to the level of care of the setting, can provide efficient care, if supplies and proper logistics are available. Its good to have some information on where the teams are going and tailor the teams based on needs .
3- Some temporary hospitals will keep operating for months . After the acute phase , there will be a need for other specialists ( internal medicine , pediatrics , psychiatrists , and rehab specialists ) to provide treatment for common illnesses, follow up for post op patients and attend to the needs of the amputees.
4- Port au Prince, Delmas, Leogane and Jacmel are places to consider.
Its possible to piggy back on existing units of care to enhance their ability..
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Forwarded by Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network