Report from the Ground in Haiti: Kevin Pina, Journalist

Posted on January 29, 2010

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Kevin Pina, journalist and documentary filmmaker, has been reporting on Haiti for 20 years. He is on the ground in Haiti now and provided this report on last night’s KPFA Flashpoints program. If interested in interviewing Kevin, please see info after this report.

Kevin reports on Haiti daily through KPFA’s Flashpoints program.  Flashpoints airs 5:00PM West Coast time and 8:00PM East Coast:  www.kpfa.org

Notes from Kevin Pina’s report KPFA’s Flashpoints program – January 28, 2010

 GENERAL CONDITIONS:

250,000 homeless in P-au-P

Conditions on the ground are terrible: too many people living closely together outside is a recipe for disaster. Diarrhea and tetnaus are particular problems. Also reports of measles.

Both young and old are starting to succumb to de-hydration.

PRESENCE of MINUSTAH and US MiILITARY:

MINUSTAH “peacekeepers” are more present than US forces and are often seen riding around, and making some food distributions. Many US Marines are standing guard at banks and businesses. Enough said.

US troops are building artificial beaches at the ports in order to offload containers (of what, it is not clear).

DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD AND WATER:

Security trumps aid. No mass distribution of water. Amounts totally insufficient for number of people. Many parts of the city still without any drinking water and food. Both USAID and US Marines are making fatal mistakes in distribution. They drive large trucks into a heavily populated areas and start throwing bags of rice and other food and water off of the truck. The amount of food/water is NEVER sufficient and people are increasingly desperate.

USAID, UN, US military have refused to work with local leaders and grassroots organizations to facilitate and improve distribution of food, water, and other aid. The primary reason for this is that these people are supporters of Aristide and are not trusted by authorities. The advantages of working with local leaders are many and include: people will respond more readily to direction from the leaders regarding procedure for acquiring food/water; local leaders would establish different approaches to food distribution – rather than throwing food from trucks, distribution should be done hand-to-hand, on the ground and through multiple lines. Further, local leaders are able to get community buy-in on how to prioritize food distribution, if necessary– children, women with babies, old people first etc.

Kevin gave kudos to the Red Cross because they are coordinating food aid with local leaders and the distribution has gone very smootly.

The militarization of food and water distribution has only created resentment on the part of the people towards US and UN.

MEDICAL AID:

 Many, many doctors have come to Haiti to volunteer. The problem is that they do not want to do treatment that is outside their specialty. As a result, it is hard to find physicians who will provide the critical aftercare needed by amputees involving cleaning of limbs and changing bandages. What’s needed are nurses to do these critical procedures.

RE-SETTLEMENT OF PEOPLE:

According to the Haitian and US governments, two large camps are being prepared to re-locate homeless from P-au-P: Croix de Bouquets (NW of P-au-P) and Tabarre, a suburb of P-au-P (near the mega US embassy). The idea is to then start re-locating the people out to the provinces. Kevin said this is going to be a disaster because these people will not want to leave P-au-P and the initial population migration to P-au-P took from these areas over the last several took place because de-nuded land and lack of jobs.

Major concern about the annual rains coming in March and insufficient shelter causing acceleration of disease.

RADIO INTERVIEWS WITH PINA:

For radio interviews live on the ground from Haiti with Kevin Pina call (3) 847-5693. This is a better phone than the last which made it difficult.

 

Remember, if you want to support Haiti’s grassroots movement against the militarization of aid in Haiti and to get relief to those who need it most you can contribute through PAYPAL at : kp@teledyol.net  I am working directly with community leaders to organize relief efforts that must include them in the process.

 

I’ll be writing in the next few days with images. For my regular radio reports check www.flashpoints.net

  In solidarity,

Kevin Pina

Port au Prince, Haiti

 The Haiti Information Project (HIP) is a non-profit alternative news service providing coverage and analysis of breaking developments in Haiti.

Winner of the CENSORED 2008 REAL NEWS AWARD for Outstanding Investigative Journalism

For further information about the Haiti Information Project (HIP) visit: http://www.teledyol.net/HIP/about.html
Contact: HIP@teledyol.net

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