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Posts Tagged ‘Haiti earthquake’

By Bill Quigley, ZNet, Wednesday, March 03, 2010

On March 9 and 10, there will be a Haiti conference in Miami for private military and security companies to showcase their services to governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the earthquake devastated country.

On their website for the Haiti conference, the trade group IPOA (ironically called the International Peace Operations Association until recently) lists eleven companies advertising security services explicitly for Haiti.  Even though guns are illegal to buy or sell in Haiti, many companies brag of their heavy duty military experience.

Continues >>

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US sending 4,000 more troops to Haiti

AFP
Via Raw Story

Published: Wednesday January 20, 2010

The United States is sending more than 4,000 additional troops to quake-devastated Haiti, diverting them from scheduled deployments to Europe and the Middle East, officials said Wednesday.

Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the decision to divert the troops “based on continuing urgent needs in the Haiti relief effort,” a statement from the US Second Fleet said. They received the orders on Tuesday.

The move to redeploy thousands of troops from the Nassau Amphibious Ready Group and the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit came as Haitians scrambled for food, water and medical care eight days after a devastating earthquake.

The amphibious group left Norfolk, Virginia on Monday for its original deployment but was ordered to proceed to Haiti after taking on more marines in North Carolina.

“The marines are in the final stages of embarking onboard the ships. They are expected to leave this evening or early tomorrow morning,” Second Marine Expeditionary Force spokesman Master Sergeant Keith Milks told AFP.

If the ships go full speed, they would reach Haiti within 36 to 48 hours, although they will adopt the “most prudent” pace possible depending on weather and mechanical conditions, he added.

The move takes the total number of US troops due to be helping out in Haiti in coming days above 15,000.

“The ARG/MEU will provide an array of helicopter and amphibious landing craft assets, significantly increasing the ability to quickly provide relief supplies where they are most needed,” the Second Fleet said.

“In addition, the marines assigned to 24 MEU will be able to provide an additional force capable of providing a secure environment for the ongoing relief efforts ashore in Haiti.”

Violence is threatening to boil over in the capital Port-au-Prince as hundreds of thousands of survivors grow increasingly desperate for aid.

The 7.0-magnitude quake, which struck on January 12, leveled the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding towns and villages in western Haiti, killing at least 75,000 people and perhaps as many as 200,000.

Three amphibious ships — the USS Nassau, the USS Mesa Verde and the USS Ashland — will support the latest deployment, along with a helicopter squadron, a tiltrotor squadron and medical personnel and facilities.

They will bring the total number of US Navy and Military Sealift Command vessels participating in the relief effort to 20.

The Nassau has one of the largest ship-borne hospitals after the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort hospital ships.

Eight days after the quake, US military officials leading the relief effort say they are shifting the focus from tracking down survivors buried in the rubble towards recovering bodies and starting to rebuild the devastated nation.

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Haiti Aftershock: 6.1 Earthquake Near Port-au-Prince

PAUL HAVEN and MICHELLE FAUL | 01/20/10 08:08 AM | AP

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A powerful new earthquake struck Haiti on Wednesday, shaking rubble from damaged buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets only eight days after the country’s capital was devastated by an apocalyptic quake.

The magnitude-6.1 temblor was the largest aftershock yet to the Jan. 12 quake. The extent of additional damage or injuries was not immediately clear.

Wails of terror rose from frightened survivors as the earth shuddered at 6:03 a.m. U.S. soldiers and tent city refugees alike raced for open ground, and clouds of dust rose in the capital.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Port-au-Prince and was 13.7 miles (22 kilometers) below the surface.

Last week’s magnitude-7 quake killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless, according to the European Union Commission.

A massive international aid effort has been struggling with logistical problems, and many Haitians are still desperate for food and water.

Still, search-and-rescue teams have emerged from the ruins with some improbable success stories – including the rescue of 69-year-old ardent Roman Catholic who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble.

Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of Haiti’s Roman Catholic archbishop when the Jan. 12 quake struck, trapping her in debris. On Tuesday, she was rescued by a Mexican disaster team.

MORE HERE

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For much of the last decade, the Republican line about liberals has been that whenever we downplayed the urgency of the so-called terrorist threat (or dared to criticize then-President Bush for that matter) we were somehow emboldening the terrorists.

For example, during the 2004 campaign, John Kerry was annihilated by the Dick Cheney wingnut right when he said, “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.”

Oh holy hell! Kerry said what?!

He was exactly right, of course, both strategically and rhetorically. The senator was outlining how we ought to be simultaneously destroying al-Qaeda and, in the “home of the brave,” we ought to be acting like grown-ups rather than a nation of scared little pee-pants infants frightened of unseen toe monsters lurking under the bed.

Cheney and others, in response to Kerry, were very clearly implying that terrorism was always going to be a serious and existential threat to America — that we have every right to be both terrified and terrorized — therefore we absolutely have to torture people, undermine the rule of law, preemptively invade sovereign nations and, naturally, elect Republicans in order to be safe.

What the far-right has never grasped, however, is that the whole point of a terrorist attack isn’t necessarily to kill people. The point is to terrorize. Scott Shanes in the New York Times quoted a former Homeland Security and CIA official:

“We give comfort to our enemies,” said Charles E. Allen, a 40-year C.I.A. veteran who served as the top intelligence official at the Department of Homeland Security from 2007 to early last year. Exaggerated news coverage and commentary, he said, “creates an atmosphere of tension and fear, and to me that’s exactly the wrong way to go.”

Fareed Zakaria spelled it out even further this week:

The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction. Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn’t work. Alas, this one worked very well.

In the case of the Underpants Bomber, by collectively losing our shit and inflating a minor fracas out of proportion — by acting as though this was a major bloody attack and subsequently acquiescing to full body scans and further violations of our civil liberties, we’re handing al-Qaeda an easy victory. The attempt was a failure, but the overreaction in its aftermath turned it into an easy win for al-Qaeda.

Good job, Republicans. Good job, Fox News.

(more…)

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Haiti Earthquake: Breaking News, Updates (VIDEO)

Huffington Post |  Nicholas Sabloff   First Posted: 01-13-10 10:24 AM   |   Updated: 01-13-10 04:59 PM

Updates from Haiti below — Follow the latest breaking news via our Haiti Twitter list — See the latest images here — Read the latest from the AP here — Find out how you can help here.

Email tips here.

* * * * * 4:45 PM ET: Haiti’s coming public health challenges — A grim look at the obstacles ahead from UN Dispatch:

Once you’ve survived the earthquake, what happens? Haitians now face a daunting set of health challenges, including typhoid, dengue fever, malaria, and getting treatment for serious injuries.
While health information coming out of Haiti is still very sparse, data from previous earthquakes gives us a clear impression of what to expect in terms of health. The initial impact of an earthquake is catastrophic injuries – broken bones, crush injuries, dust inhalation, and burns predominate. You can see this in the heartbreaking videos coming out of Port au Prince.

Injuries are made worse by the obstacles to getting treatment – hospitals are just as likely as other buildings to be destroyed in a quake and roads will be impassable. At least one hospital in Haiti has collapsed, and the Times of Zambia is reporting only one functional hospital in the country, a field hospital donated by Argentina. Emergency care is going to be almost impossible to access, and the greatest demand for medical care is in the first 24 hours after an earthquake.

4:25 PM ET: US temporarily halts deportations — The Miami Herald reports:

The Obama administration is temporarily suspending deportations of undocumented Haitian nationals who are in the United States, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Wednesday at a news conference in Miami.
But there are no immediate indications from the Obama administration that it would grant Haitian nationals Temporary Protected Status in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake.

4:20 PM ET: Update on relief efforts — Details on what’s taking place, from the AP:

Sniffer dogs, high-energy biscuits and tons of emergency medical aid were heading to Haiti on Wednesday as governments and aid groups launched a massive relief effort for the estimated 3 million people reeling from a devastating earthquake.

UPDATES, VIDEOS & MORE HERE

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Haiti Earthquake: Capital Shattered By 7.0 Trembler

JONATHAN M. KATZ | 01/13/10 11:24 AM | AP

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after a powerful earthquake crushed thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.

President Rene Preval said he believes thousands of people were dead from Tuesday afternoon’s magnitude-7.0 quake.

“Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed,” Preval told the Miami Herald. “There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them.”

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince was among the dead, and the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was missing.

The international Red Cross said a third of Haiti’s 9 million people may need emergency aid and that it would take a day or two for a clear picture of the damage to emerge.

President Barack Obama promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort, adding that the U.S. commitment to its hemispheric neighbor will be unwavering.

“We have to be there for them in their hour of need,” Obama said.

Other nations – from Iceland to Venezuela – said they would start sending in aid workers and rescue teams. Cuba said its existing field hospitals in Haiti had already treated hundreds of victims. The United Nations said Port-au-Prince’s main airport was “fully operational” and open to relief flights.

MORE HERE

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