Articles about Haiti

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Title: Securing the State: Haiti Before and After the Earthquake

Authors: Robert Muggah and Athena Kolbe

After the 2010 earthquake killed an estimated 158,000 people in Haiti’s capital, international actors rapidly focused on promoting increased policing capacities and wider security sector reforms. This international focus on improving security sector capacity in Haiti is not new. For the past 200 years, the country has contended with periodic outbursts of political violence and international efforts to influence internal Haitian governance through structural adjustment programmes and reform of the justice, military, policing, and corrections systems.
This chapter considers the context of security promotion efforts in the years preceding Haiti’s2010 earthquake and emerging trends in its aftermath by drawing on the findings of three household surveys administered before and after the earthquake.

Link: http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/A-Yearbook/2011/en/Small-Arms-Survey-2011-Chapter-08-summary-EN.pdf

 

Title: Mortality, Crime and Access to Basic Needs: Haiti Before and After the Quake

Authors: Athena Kolbe, Royce A. Hutson, Harry Shannon, Marie Puccio, Leah
James, Jean Roger Noel and Robert Muggah

On 12 January 2010 an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale struck Haiti, causing unprecedented death, injury and destruction for an event of this magnitude. Our aim was to generate a rapid assessment of the primary consequences for the population of the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince, the national capital.
During the summer of 2009 we conducted a survey of 1,800 households in metropolitan Port-au-Prince. Six weeks after the earthquake, we attempted to trace these households in order to re-interview them. The questionnaire examined mortality and injuries generated by the natural disaster, as well as the character of victimization, food security and living arrangements following the quake. Data analysis incorporated sampling weights and adjusted for clustering within households.

Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13623699.2010.535279

 

Title: Critical Reflections on a Post-Quake Survey in Haiti

Authors: Robert Muggah and Athena Kolbe

In the aftermath of a disaster, relief workers, community leaders and government authorities must urgently respond to a bewildering constellation of needs, assess disaster-related damage and undertake comprehensive recovery planning, including future risk mitigation. To do this properly it is essential that they acquire a basic understanding of the pre-disaster context, and how things may have changed.
In unstable, low-income contexts such as Haiti, administering randomised post-disaster survey research is especially challenging. Census data and public records may be out of date, damaged or inaccessible. Disaster-affected areas may themselves be out of reach.

Link: http://www.odihpn.org/report.asp?id=3131

 

Title: The Tricky Science of Counting the Dead in Haiti

Authors: Robert Muggah and Athena Kolbe

Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, there have been at least 60,000 civilian deaths that wouldn't otherwise have occurred. Or maybe that number is closer to 650,000. Between 1998 and 2004, 5.4 million people died in a war and its aftermath in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Or was it one-fifth that number? In Haiti, fewer than 46,000 people were killed in the January 2010 earthquake. Or perhaps the death toll was more than 300,000.

The science of measuring mortality and morbidity is controversial. There are bitter disputes among groups of researchers who study death tolls in the world's hot spots. Many governments would also prefer to discreetly avoid any discussion of the civilian costs of war. Yet the numbers matter. They can influence political responses to armed conflicts, famines and natural disasters. Statistics are routinely used to draw attention to evidence of systematic human rights violations and even genocide.

Link: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/12/opinion/la-oe-muggah-haiti-count-20110712.

Title: Remember Haiti?

Author: Robert Muggah and Robert Maguire

Following last January's devastating earthquake, Haiti's people were widely praised for their resilience and ability to spring back from disaster. Yet a year after the quake -- as in the decades preceding it -- most Haitians are still stuck in impoverished and desperate conditions. Opportunities to improve their well-being and fulfill their potential are as remote as ever.

The enthusiasm expressed among some to the Jan. 16 return to Haiti of former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier following 25 years of exile in France vividly reflects widespread frustration over the slow pace and limited scale of post-quake recovery efforts. More deeply, it reflects the overall failure since 1986 among outsiders and Haitian leaders to improve social and economic conditions among the country's long-suffering poor.

Link: http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/01/26/remember_haiti_its_that_big_island_near_cuba_that_no_one_likes_to_mention

 

Title: The World’s Broken Promises to Haiti

Author: Robert Muggah

Despite breathless promises to "build back better", the international community has made only incremental progress in Haiti over the past 12 months. Our failures are especially stark when measured against the genuine displays of global solidarity with Haiti in the wake of the the January earthquake and financial pledges to reconstruction three months later, in March.

Even if some allowance is made for the extraordinary devastation wrought by the disasters, few disagree that the Haitian government's handling of the situation has been spectacularly poor. Likewise, with few exceptions, the international aid sector's record has been dismal. Notwithstanding efforts to signal political commitment to supporting Haiti's transition – including UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon's appointment of Bill Clinton as special envoy – few tangible outcomes have yet to be materialise. Haitians themselves are growing disillusioned and impatient, and signs of violence are apparent in the streets of wrecked Port-au-Prince.

Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/31/haiti-development

 

Title: Fighting the Gang Threat

Author: Robert Muggah

A recent high-profile crackdown on Jamaican gangs in Ontario caught many Canadians by surprise. A spectacular raid by 1,000 police officers led to the arrests of shadowy gang leaders and the seizure of an arsenal of small arms and ammunition. The swoop netted the “Shower Posse,” a Jamaican gang implicated in all manner of gang violence and drug dealing.

The problem of gang violence in Toronto and across Canada is routinely blamed on other countries, particularly the smallish states of the Caribbean and Central America. As Canadian authorities and civil society groups grapple with gang violence at home, they would do well to learn about what’s happening on their hemispheric doorstep.

Link: http://www.themarknews.com/articles/1475-fighting-the-gang-threat

 

Title: Is Anyone Listening to the Haitians?

Author: Robert Muggah

Within hours of Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January, Reconstruction International Inc. was flying to the rescue. Reconstruction International Inc. is an alphabet soup of United Nations (UN) agencies, North American and Western European relief organizations, bilateral donor governments, private contractors, and charities of various shapes and sizes.

In capital cities around the world Reconstruction International Inc. spokespersons calmly prepared its shareholders for the cold calculus of relief assistance: first water, then food, followed by shelter and health and sanitation. Literally thousands of foreign personnel were swiftly mobilized into action to secure infrastructure, perform search and rescues, and deliver life-saving assistance.

Link: http://www.themarknews.com/articles/1219-is-anyone-listening-to-the-haitians

 

Title: Now is the time to fix Haiti’s Inequalities

Author: Robert Muggah

Even before the devastating earthquake levelled Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, Haiti was out of balance. Years of unregulated population growth in the capital provide evidence of decay and neglect in the country's rural hinterland.

For decades, the urban poor literally built on top of each other alongside steep hills, in flood-prone ravines and in the mud flats that soon came to serve as Port-au-Prince's public toilet. They came seeking opportunity, but real employment was a mirage.

Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/now-is-the-time-to-fix-the-inequalities-in-haiti/article1470111/

 

Title: Canada in Haiti: A Report Card

Author: Robert Muggah

During his recent visit to Haiti, Prime Minister Harper publicly committed $12 million towards putting a “temporary roof” over the beleaguered country’s federal government. The funding will provide a headquarters over the next year for key ministers and public servants.

The Preval administration undoubtedly welcomes Canada’s support, modest as it may be. If nothing else, it may help end the patronizing foreign media references to his government’s daily meetings taking place in the shade of a mango tree.

Link: http://themarknews.com/articles/961-canada-in-haiti-a-report-card

Title: To rebuild Haiti, start with its young people

Author: Robert Muggah

Haiti will need big ideas to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake this month. The reported death toll has topped 150,000, and the reconstruction needs are incalculable. How about starting with a 700,000-strong national civic service corps made up of Haitian youth? There are many reasons why such an entity makes a lot of sense.

Haiti is a young country. An estimated 70% of the population is under 30; the 15-to-29 segment alone makes up 50% of the population. Demographers have long cautioned how excessively youthful populations can potentially exacerbate underdevelopment and accentuate political instability.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-maguire31-2010jan31,0,2642395,print.story

 

Title: Live Interview. France 24.

What is the best way to use the vast sums of cash that will be found? Who should coordinate the effort? And how can the future be made better for the people who now face rebuilding their lives in tragic circumstances…?
A debate hosted by Mark Owen with guests

Link: http://www.france24.com/en/20100125-france-24-debate-haiti-donors-montreal-reconstruction-part2

 

Title: Rebuilding Haiti from the bottom up

Author: Robert Muggah

Even before the dust settled on the wreckage of Port-au-Prince, the western media tabled the grim facts of Haiti’s natural disaster. On January 12, a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake erupted in the mountainous region some two dozen kilometres west of the capital. The quake and subsequent tremors left an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people dead with some three million others homeless and in a state of wretched deprivation. The disaster was described by UN and Red Cross officials as one of the most devastating on record.

The outpouring of assistance from around the world has been astonishing. Aided on by the so-called social media revolution, more than $1 billion (U.S.) was pledged by donor governments, multilateral agencies, and private donors within days of the quake. But confronted with widespread destruction and marauding groups of young men, the physical distribution of aid is agonizingly slow going.

Link: http://www.themarknews.com/articles/849-from-the-bottom-up

 

Title: The Effects of Stabilization in Haiti

Author: Robert Muggah

Haiti is routinely characterised as an archetypical fragile state. In spite of considerable donor investment in security promotion, real and perceived safety have proven frustratingly elusive.
In the years before the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010, the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, was also the site of considerable experimentation to promote security and stability. This paper reviews the discourse, practice and outcomes associated with three parallel stabilization initiatives undertaken in Haiti between 2007 and 2009. Although they shared many similar objectives, the paper describes how these separate interventions mobilised very different approaches.
The specific focus is on United States, United Nations and combined Brazilian, Canadian and
Norwegian stabilisation efforts and their implications for humanitarian actors, including the
International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. The paper concludes with some reflections on the implications of stabilisation before and after the country’s most recent natural disaster.

Link: http://comunidadesegura.org.br/files/The effects of stabilization in Haiti.pdf

 

Title: Surveying Needs After the Quake: Results of a Random Survey of Haitian Households

Authors: Robert Muggah and Athena Kolbe

Haiti was affected by an unprecedented natural disaster on 12 January 2010. A magnitude 7 earthquake devastated the capital – Port-au-Prince – and a host of outlying towns, villages and communities. A major challenge confronting policy makers and practitioners tasked with leading the rebuilding and reconstruction effort is recognizing how Haitian citizens coped with the crisis. Developing solid evidence on the extent of damage to homes, the experiences of families, and their perceptions of the government and international community’s response is critical for shaping priorities and designing interventions.
This report features the preliminary findings of a major randomized post-disaster household survey conducted in Port-au-Prince in late February and early March 2010. It is the only geo-referenced pre- and post-disaster survey (comparing 2009 and 2010 population samples) available. With some 2,947 households sampled it also constitutes the most comprehensive survey of general and displaced/camp population needs undertaken since the January 2010 earthquake. The study was administered by a team of Haitian, American and Canadian researchers affiliated with the University of Michigan and the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey.

Link: http://comunidadesegura.org.br/files/Results of a Random Survey of Haitian Households.doc

 

Title: Assessing Needs After the Quake: Access to Food, Water, Fuel and Property

Authors: Ar. Kolbe, R. Muggah, RA. Hutson, M. Puccio, E. Trzcinski, H. Shannon,
N. Levitz, JR. Noel, B. Miles, L. James

This second report features the findings of a major randomized post-disaster household survey (n: 2,947) conducted in Port-au-Prince in late February and early March 2010. It is the only (geo-referenced) pre- and post-disaster survey (comparing 2009 and 2010 population samples) available.
This particular report was prepared by a team of Haitian, US and Canadian researchers affiliated with the University of Michigan and the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. It focuses on a wide range of issues, including food security, access to water, use of fuel and property issues. The report is designed to support the activities of multilateral and bilateral donors working on post-disaster needs.

Link: http://comunidadesegura.org.br/files/Access to Food, Water, Fuel and Property.doc

 

Title: Assessing Needs After the Quake: Sexual Violence, Property Crime and Property Damage

Authors: Ar. Kolbe, R. Muggah, RA. Hutson, M. Puccio, E. Trzcinski, H. Shannon,
N. Levitz, JR. Noel, B. Miles, L. James

Evidence is the bedrock of post-disaster early recovery and reconstruction. In order to assist medium- and long-term planning in Haiti, this third report features the findings of a major randomized post-disaster household survey (n: 2,947) conducted in Port-au-Prince in late February and early March 2010. It is the only (geo-referenced) pre- and post-disaster survey (comparing 2009 and 2010 population samples) available.
The report was prepared by a team of Haitian, US and Canadian researchers affiliated with the University of Michigan and the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. It focuses on a wide range of issues, including sexual violence, property-related crime and property damage. The report is designed to support the activities of multilateral and bilateral donors working on post-disaster needs.

Link: http://comunidadesegura.org.br/files/Sexual Violence, Property Crime and Property Damage.doc