Situation Report: Haiti


Click here to download a PDF of this report.

Updated January 24, 2010

General

  • In Port-au-Prince alone, the confirmed death toll has surpassed 150,000 but there remain many more still uncounted. (via BBC) [http://tinyurl.com/y98hsx2]
  • A Haitian man is rescued by French and Greek teams, after Haiti’s government called off searches for survivors. (via WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/yznuz34]
  • With the death of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, the Catholic Church has struggled to respond to the disaster caused by Haiti’s earthquake. (via Time) [http://tinyurl.com/ylfgv49]
  • Banks that did not collapse because of the earthquake have started to reopen in Port-au-Prince; Officials hope the reopening will give a boost to businesses and help in the reconstruction of Haiti. (via LA Times) [http://tinyurl.com/yjj724a]

Aid

  • The “Hope for Haiti” telethon has raised a record $58 million, with donations still coming in; Proceeds from the telethon will benefit Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF, the U.N. World Food Programme, Yele Haiti Foundation and the Clinton Bush Haiti Foundation. (via CNN) [http://tinyurl.com/ybagted]
  • Haitian and international officials are calling for an emphasis on shelter, tents immediately and more permanent structures in the future to help those left homeless by the earthquake. (via NY Times) [http://tinyurl.com/ya73gws]
  • Brazilian and American soldiers hand out aid in one of Haiti’s largest slums, Cite Soleil. (via Reuters) [http://tinyurl.com/ya928cn]


Updated January 23, 2010

General

  • Despite many reports that the Haitian government was calling off search-and-rescue teams, several government officials have stated that they were indeed still searching for survivors. A UN spokesperson says around 132 people have been rescued from the rubble since the quake hit 11 days ago. (via Miami Herald) [http://tinyurl.com/yefs2p9]
  • “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief,” telethon aired yesterday evening with stars lending both their famous faces and the big hearts to the cause. Official amount raised yet to be released. (via NYT) [http://tinyurl.com/ylec8y5]
  • As much as 75% of the commercial and residential buildings in Port-au-Prince will need to be torn down. Engineers and recovery experts say that poor building standards contributed to the collapse, death toll. (via WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/yclsoy7]
  • View an interactive map of displaced peoples camps aftershocks and major landmarks. (via Wall WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/yebekfj]
  • Haiti’s banks are reopening under heavy guard but cash is still in short supply and officials are restricting withdrawal amounts. (via Miami Herald) [http://tinyurl.com/yaz3k9y]
  • Shops and groceries are starting to reopen in The Big Star Market of Port-au-Prince. Vendors from the countryside are bringing in carts and street-side stands selling everything from home grown sugar cane, rice and beans to canned goods. (via NPR) [http://tinyurl.com/ybb5mln]

Aid

  • Concerns about the challenges of rebuilding Haiti continue to worsen. Due to the country’s state before the quake, many believe that this relief effort will be one of the most challenging rebuilds of any modern disaster – perhaps even worse than the Asian tsunami of 2004. (via NYT) [http://tinyurl.com/yfkcg6o]


Updated January 22, 2010

General

  • Search and rescue teams announced that the Haitian government was prepared to end the search for survivors today (via WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/yadxy6v]
  • A 4.4 magnitude aftershock hit Haiti at 7:54 am, its epicenter was in Boucassin, 50 miles from Port-au-Prince (via Miami Herald) [http://tinyurl.com/ycmndpu]
  • The risk of typhoid, diarrheal diseases and malnutrition are rising due to unsanitary living conditions, unburied corpses and the lack of medical supplies said the Pan American Health Organization (via WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/ybtdc3p]
  • The sheer size of the disaster and lack of communication resources make an accurate death toll impossible, say Haitian and UN officials (via New York Times) [http://tinyurl.com/yacw43w]
  • Remittances from Haitians living abroad have begun to flow again after Western Union reopened branches in Port-au-Prince, but prices for essential supplies have risen up to 60 percent (via New York Times) [http://tinyurl.com/ybcj2a7]
  • Police officials appeal for help after about 5,000 prisoners escaped from prisons damaged in the quake (via BBC) [http://tinyurl.com/ya799j7]
  • UNICEF and Save the Children among other aid agencies continue to dissuade would-be parents from adopting Haitian children as multiple reports of missing children from hospitals have surfaced. These children are presumed taken and very possibly trafficked. (via The Guardian) [http://tinyurl.com/yhhn47p]

Aid

  • Stars including Beyoncé, Madonna, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, former President Clinton, Ben Stiller, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Taylor Swift, Bono, Jay-Z and Coldplay will participate in a Hope for Haiti Now Telethon broadcast on 60 networks on Friday. (via Los Angeles Times) [http://tinyurl.com/ya38p2d]
  • Focus shifts to long-term relief and rebuilding as aid efforts quicken and communications improve, but the unmet need still overwhelms aid agency capacity (via Washington Post) [http://tinyurl.com/yeb7eb4]
  • Initial aid efforts were slow to reach the 3 million affected Haitians of transportation hurdles, inability to communicate with workers on the ground and the level of injury and death among on the ground aid agencies (via the Economist) [http://tinyurl.com/y8soeh2]
  • The Haitian government is planning 11 tent cities to shelter up to 400,000 of the estimated 1 million displaced by the quake (via Washington Post) [http://tinyurl.com/yc4rfzh]
  • Exaggerated fears of violence have delayed aid efforts as survivors organize neighborhood committees to help themselves (via BBC) [http://tinyurl.com/yexanrj]
  • Aid is increasing to isolated remote areas as the port begins operating at 30 percent capacity and military aid drops increase (via Miami Herald) [http://tinyurl.com/ycmndpu]


Updated January 21, 2010

General

  • A recently repaired road and reopened pier allow for improved distribution of humanitarian aid, although more remains to be done. (via CNN) [http://tinyurl.com/ycjnw8v]
  • Many victims in Haiti are still dying every day due to a lack of medical care and equipment. (via WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/ychodo3]
  • The Haitian government plans to relocate 400,000 who have been left homeless to tented villages outside of Port-au-Prince. (via BBC) [http://tinyurl.com/y88742w]

Aid

  • The House passed a bill on Wednesday allowing donations made to Haitian earthquake victims, to be tax deductible for 2009, in order to induce more giving; Senate expected to follow suit soon. (via Washington Post) [http://tinyurl.com/ydjeafm]
  • The U.S. Navy Hospital ship Comfort arrived in Haiti and is now using its two helicopters to airlift patients as the pier on which it planned to dock was wrecked by yesterday’s aftershock. (via Voice of America) [http://tinyurl.com/yac4gkv]
  • Aid agencies, such as the UN and Oxfam are struggling after having lost key personnel in the earthquake but are still working hard to expand the relief effort. (via Washington Post) [http://tinyurl.com/yd8ug7j]
  • Haitian immigrants living illegally in the US are offered temporary protected status, giving an estimated 100,000-200,000 eighteen months to live and work legally in the US. (via NY Times) [http://tinyurl.com/yl74whc]
  • Aid groups are beginning to shift their focus to longer term challenges, such as reliable shelter for those left homeless by the earthquake, especially with Haiti’s rainy season coming in May. (via NY Times) [http://tinyurl.com/ydr38wa]
  • Save the Children, World Vision and a unit of the British Red Cross have called for a stop to new adoptions of Haitian children, citing that many children are not orphans and have only been separated from their families amidst the chaos. (via CNN) [http://tinyurl.com/yzyj64d]
  • In partnership with Architecture for Humanity and NGOs, Shakira has pledged to build a new school in Haiti through her Barefoot Foundation. (via Huffington Post) [http://tinyurl.com/y9soe5d]


Updated January 20, 2010

General

  • A powerful, 6.1-magnitude, aftershock rattled Haiti this morning at 6:03 a.m. ET; the tremor’s epicenter was about 35 miles west-southwest of Port-au-Prince. It sparked public fears and raised new concerns over additional building collapses. (via CNN) [http://tinyurl.com/ydrx7xe]
  • US parents interested in adopting orphaned Haitian children have been asked by The Joint Council on International Children’s Services to wait, due to their concern that “mass adoptions or airlifts could break up families and open the door to ‘fraud, abuse and trafficking’.” (via Guardian) [http://tinyurl.com/ycfe8yr]
  • The Haiti earthquake could prove to be an opportunity for U.S.-Cuba cooperation. (via AlertNet) [http://tinyurl.com/y9alf8u]

Aid

  • Haiti aid breakdown by country and organization. (via Guardian) [http://tinyurl.com/ygky5zp]
  • Partners in Health state that nearly 20,000 Haitians are dying each day due to lack of access to medical care, specifically surgery (via WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/ychodo3]
  • Concerns over access to sanitation and water are growing, risk of disease high (ReliefWeb) [http://tinyurl.com/y8f9fex]
  • The French aid organization, Medicins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), has accused the U.S. of mismanaging and delaying critical aid operations. (via Reuters) [http://tinyurl.com/yj7y7fc]
  • The Dominican Republic has opened its borders to Haitians in need of medical attention. This move by the DR is noteworthy in light of its otherwise strained relations with Haiti. (via NPR) [http://tinyurl.com/yg4rfbk]


Updated January 19, 2010

General

  • European Commission has doubled previous death-toll estimates to around the 200,000 mark. The number of homeless is currently estimated at 1.5 million. (Miami Herald) [http://tinyurl.com/y86p4lt]
  • The U.N. Security Council granted Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s request for 2,000 more peacekeepers and 1,500 more police, bringing the total in-country officers to 9,000, and 3,600 respectively. (CNN) [http://tinyurl.com/yar52gy]
  • U.S. is temporarily allowing orphaned Haitian children into the US. Before the quake struck there were at least 300 pending adoptions in the US alone. Haiti has around 380,000 orphans, a number that is expected to have increased in the wake of the earthquake. (BBC) [http://tinyurl.com/ydmlcg9]
  • Full rescue efforts continue in Haiti as survivors are found alive. Search efforts are usually called off after 5 to 7 days but instances of surviving longer exist. (BBC) [http://tinyurl.com/yekvj72]

Aid

  • Major AID Pledges to Haiti (BBC) [http://tinyurl.com/ycl3llf]
    • EU – $604M (420m Euros; £371M)
    • US – $100M pledged in immediate aid, with promise of more later
    • Canada – $58M
    • UK – $32M
    • Norway – $17.6M
    • France – $14.4M
    • World Bank – $100M
  • More U.S. troops land with aid at Haiti presidential palace. Total U.S. on the ground military personnel now roughly 5,000, with thousands more expected. (NYT) [http://tinyurl.com/y8acwkb]
  • Much discussion over the role foreign aid should play in the relief and reconstruction of Haiti. (NYT) [http://tinyurl.com/yaor2yt]
  • Many challenges face the international aid effort; fuel, roads, security, etc. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being funneled into Haiti from countries around the world but the problem isn’t getting there its getting in and in a timely manner. (AlertNet) [http://tinyurl.com/ydjjvrg]
  • Major U.S. wireless carriers plan to speed up delivery of text-to-give donations pledged to the American Red Cross for Haiti relief efforts – Verizon, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and AT&T, promised to get donated funds to the Red Cross within a week. (WSJ) [http://tinyurl.com/ydkobh8


Updated January 18, 2010

General

Aid

Refugees

Children


Updated January 17, 2010

Current Situation Overview

  • Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince is still suffering after-shocks – some barely perceptible, others that cause the ground to tremble like those this morning which rang in at 4.5 on the Richter, resulting in panic and fresh fear
  • Bodies of tens of thousands of victims had already been recovered
  • Estimates of deaths vary and are not dependable at this phase
  • Aid is beginning to but major logistical problems are preventing it from being delivered
  • 180 tons of relief supplies have been delivered to the airport, but much is still waiting for delivery
  • Most Haitians needing food, water and medical attention have not yet received it
  • The Haitian government is almost not functioning
  • United Nations confirmed the death of three of its most senior officials in the quake
  • The President and Prime Minister are reported to be sleeping in tents at the Port Au Prince Airport
  • The US military has secured the airport and the US FAA has now taken over the operations of the airport
  • Much of the problem is at the Port- Au Prince airport which is overwhelmed
  • It has one working runway and currently there are 200 flights a day
  • Reports of isolated looting and violence
  • Many roads blocked by debris
  • Serious shortage of fuel for emergency workers vehicle
  • The World Food Program finally was able to land flights of food, medicine and water on Saturday, after failing on Thursday and Friday
  • United States Agency for International Development is playing a lead role and has moved $48 million of food supplies from Texas since the quake and distributed 600,000 packaged meals. It has also installed three water-purification systems capable of purifying 100,000 liters a day

Basic Facts

  • USGS called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti
  • The earthquake struck on January 12, 2010 at 4:53 p.m.
  • The quake registered as a 7.0 magnitude on the Richter scale with its epicenter hitting just 10 miles west of Porte-au-Prince and its 2 million inhabitants
  • 3 million people in need of emergency aid
  • There have been an estimated 33 aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 4.2 to 5.9

Aid and Recovery

  • “Haiti’s almost nonexistent government and its battered infrastructure are among the top challenges that will plague relief efforts in coming days and weeks, aid veterans say. Also high on their lists: the country’s extreme poverty and history of violence.” (WSJ)
  • “Top UN official acknowledges that the earthquake relief operation in Haiti is not progressing fast enough” (CNN)
  • Distribution is slow and lumbering due to non-operational ports, blocked roads, hindered electronic communications, etc. Officials caution that international aid-teams need to be self-sufficient – constrained resources are needed by the Haitian people, it is a complicated balance to strike
  • Food – World Food Programme is distributing “ready-to-eat food rations” which will reach nearly 2million Haitians in need; The UN says it has fed “8,000 people, while two million to three million people remained in dire need” (WSJ)
  • Search and rescue teams continue to survey for survivors – there are some 27 teams either on the ground or on the way, this is still not considered nearly enough – 72 hours is the general “critical point/window” for trapped survivors
  • Death toll – still no confirmed number, but the UN consul general estimates the tool could top 100,000
    • The UN reports that nearly “9,000 people had been buried in mass graves…collecting bodies had become one of the few ways to earn money.” (NYT)
    • Haitian police forces are severely compromised – nearly 300 died when the main police commissariat collapsed
  • “U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Friday that she is designating a temporary protected status for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of Tuesday.” (CNN) This temporary status “allows an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Haitian nationals in the nation illegally to stay in the United States for 18 months.”
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travelled to Haiti today to meet with aid workers and survey the situation
  • “As of Friday afternoon, corporate America had pledged more than $40 million in donations to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” (CNN)