Monday, January 25, 2010

150,000 Bodies Buried in Haiti; Death Toll Could Top 300,000


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via Main RSS Feed by , Democracy Now! on 1/25/10

Haiti Communications Minister: "Nobody knows how many bodies are buried in the rubble."


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IAEA Sends Much-Needed X-Ray Machines to Haiti


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via (title unknown) by Matthew Cordell on 1/25/10

Beyond acting as the world's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA also fosters "the role of nuclear science and technology in sustainable development" and also, apparently, in emergency assistance. How cool is that?

If that headline strikes you as surprising, you are not alone.  I, for one, thought that the IAEA had enough on its plate acting as the world's nuclear watchdog, but, it turns out, they also run a "Department of Technical Cooperation," which fosters "the role of nuclear science and technology in sustainable development." How cool?

Just a taste of some recent projects:


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The best way nobody’s talking about to help Haitians


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via Aid Watch by Guest Blogger on 1/24/10

The following post is by Michael Clemens, a research fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC, and an affiliated associate professor of public policy at Georgetown University.

The U.S. coast guard interdicts a boat of Haitians on the high seas, 2004

The earthquake two weeks ago hit Haiti hard because Haiti is poor. The rich U.S. had similar earthquakes with far less carnage. So, what would do the most to lift Haitians out of poverty?

Start here: What has done the most, to date, to lift Haitians out of poverty? That answer is easy. Leaving Haiti brought more Haitians out of poverty than anything else that has ever been tried: any aid project in Haiti, or any trade preference for Haiti. See my note and video posted the day before Haiti's catastrophe.

Of all the Haitians who live either in the United States or Haiti, and who live on more than $10 per day—at U.S. prices, adjusted for the fact that things are cheaper in Haiti—how many live in the U.S.? (That's a barebones poverty standard, just one third of the U.S. "poverty line" for a single adult.)

82 Percent of Haitians above this poverty line are here in the United States. (I calculate this with Lant Pritchett here, ungated version here.) Only the top 1.4 percent of people in Haiti had that living standard even before the quake, and there is no evidence that Haitian emigrants come primarily from the extreme tip-top of the income distribution. So for most of Haitians who left, leaving Haiti was the cause of leaving poverty.

The Obama administration decided that for the next 18 months it will not deport any Haitian. But the U.S. has only been deporting about 1,000 Haitians per year recently. More importantly, the U.S. has forcibly stopped and repatriated about 5,000 Haitians per year for the past 20 years—people who never made it to the U.S. And this policy surely deterred thousands more each year from even trying. When Gallup asked people in Haiti last year if they would leave permanently if given the opportunity, 52 percent said yes. The U.S. is actively blocking the most effective poverty reduction strategy for Haitians.

When I talk about leaving Haiti as a development strategy for Haitians, some thoughtful people argue that this "can't be the solution for Haiti." Compared to what we all wish for in Haiti—rapid emergence from poverty for everyone there, in their homeland—leaving Haiti is a terrible solution. But compared to what is actually likely to happen in Haiti, continued poverty for decades at least, leaving Haiti is the principal solution to poverty. This is the right comparison, not the comparison to a prosperous Haiti that must remain a fantasy for now.

The best thing the United States could do for Haitians would be to let them in, either temporarily or permanently. We are now accepting about 21,000 permanent Haitian immigrants per year, and just a few hundred temporary workers per year. If we really wanted to raise Haitians out of destitution, we could absorb many times more than this. To say that we shouldn't because it wouldn't be the end-all solution is like saying that a lifeboat shouldn't fill its ten empty seats just because there are 100 people in the water.


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Edwidge Danticat: Haiti, the earthquake, and my family.


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via Politics by Edwidge Danticat on 1/24/10

My cousin Maxo has died. The house that I called home during my visits to Haiti collapsed on top of him. Maxo was born on November 4, 1948, after three days of agonizing labor. "I felt," my Aunt Denise used to say, "as though I spent all . . .


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Bill Clinton for President……..of Haiti?


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via Aid Watch by William Easterly on 1/24/10

The Economist leader on Haiti:

 investment {should}  be targeted on infrastructure, basic services and combating soil erosion to make farmers more productive and the country less vulnerable to hurricanes.

The pressing question is who should do it and how. Haiti's government is in no position to take charge, yet the country needs a strong government to put it to rights. Paul Collier, a development economist who worked on the plan, reckons that the answer is to set up a temporary development authority with wide powers to act.

Given the local vacuum of power, this is the best idea around. The authority should be set up under the auspices of the UN or of an ad hoc group (the United States, Canada, the European Union and Brazil, for example). It should be led by a suitable outsider (Bill Clinton, who is the UN's special envoy for Haiti, would be ideal…

If this doesn't strike you as misguided on too many levels to count, then … I give up.


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