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from Photographers' Blog:

Haiti, destroyed and desperate

I crossed the border into Haiti from the Dominican Republic 36 hours after the earthquake hit. As we drove closer to Port-au-Prince, we began to see scenes of destruction and suffering, which only multiplied as we entered the city covered in smoke and in shock.

Residents walk at a destroyed area after a major earthquake hit the capital Port-au-Prince, January 14, 2010. Troops and planeloads of food and medicine streamed into Haiti on Thursday to aid a traumatized nation still rattled by aftershocks from the catastrophic earthquake that flattened homes and government buildings and buried countless people.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva
 
My first sensation was of absolute powerlessness; the pain, chaos and destruction were so overwhelming it seemed impossible to register it all. It was hard to know where to start, to find the exact words to describe everything that was happening and continues to happen. To translate all that it into images is a huge challenge.

Corpses of earthquake victims lie in a mass grave located on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince January 15, 2010. Thousands of people left hurt or homeless in Haiti's earthquake begged for food, water and medical assistance on Friday as the world rushed to deliver aid to survivors before their despair turned to anger. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
 
I had never been in a tragedy of this magnitude, or seen anything close. Every day that passed we realized the dimension of the destruction was even greater. Every time I explored what was behind a wall, in a garden or a plaza, inside a field hospital or in the ruins of a house, there would be more children who urgently needed food and medicine, more desperate men and women with no hope for the future.

A boy eats as he sit on his merchandise at the ruins of Petion Ville market  in Port-au-Prince, January 26, 2010. Haiti needs at least five to 10 years of reconstruction help after its people were "bloodied, martyred and ruined" by the devastating earthquake this month, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said on Monday.  REUTERS/Jorge Silva
 
The whole city is an immense refugee camp without basic services, water, electricity, or toilets, that disappears at night in the darkness of ruins. There is the impression of statelessness, of an absence of institutions to help or oversee.
 
The extreme poverty of Haiti compounds the problem. An earthquake here may be worse than practically anywhere on earth, because the houses were constructed with cheap materials, on dangerous slopes, without building codes. There were no emergency services capable of responding.

from Global News Journal:

Europe draws inspiration from U.S. Peace Corps

Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, talks to a Haitian orphan

Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, talks to a Haitian orphan

Much criticism has been heaped on the European Union -- the vast majority of it by its own member states -- for not being seen to do enough to help Haiti after the Caribbean state's earthquake. 

Never mind the fact EU states and the European Commission have promised a combined 400 million euros  ($575 million) in aid and long-term reconstruction. In public relations terms, the sums have all but been eclipsed by images, beamed around the world, of  volunteer U.S. firemen pulling victims from the rubble, and emergency aid workers from the likes of Israel and Brazil running much-needed field hospitals.

from FaithWorld:

VIDEO: Rescuers recover body of Haiti archbishop killed in quake

archbishop

A Mexican rescuer wipes tears as he stands guard with team members beside body of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot recovered from the ruins of Port-au-Prince cathedral on 19 Jan 2010/Wolfgang Rattay

A Mexican rescue team has recovered the lifeless body of the Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince from the rubble of his residence a week after the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti. Here's the Reuters video report:

from The Great Debate:

Drawing humanitarian lessons from disasters

-- Diane Paul is Nonresident Senior Fellow on Natural Disasters and Human Rights, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement at The Brookings Institution. The views expressed are her own. --

As the world rushes to Haiti’s aid, we should remember some of the lessons of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Protecting vulnerable people is as important as giving them water, food, or medical care. Children, women, the elderly, and the disabled all have particular vulnerabilities that must be taken into consideration when relief is provided.

from Photographers' Blog:

Scenes from Haiti

The numbers from Haiti are staggering. Authorities say the death toll is likely to be between 100,000 and 200,000. Already, 75,000 bodies have been buried in mass graves. 1.5 million residents are homeless . Families have been torn apart. Neighborhoods have been flattened. The government has nearly ceased to exist. But numbers can tell only a small part of the story. Scenes of the devastation in Haiti are filling airwaves and newspapers around the world, triggering a flood of compassion and donations.

Click here for a selection of some of the most striking images captured by our own Reuters' photographers.

from Global News Journal:

Haiti’s plea: “We need help”

QUAKE-HAITI/
-This is a guest post from Rigoberto Giron, who is heading up CARE’s emergency response efforts in Haiti from CARE HQ in Atlanta. Any opinions expressed are his own.-

Just outside of CARE's offices in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, hundreds of newly homeless people are camped out in a public square. During the day, they wait patiently in the scorching sun. But at night, when hunger and thirst overtake them, groups of people can be heard clapping and chanting. Daybreak reveals new banners that read, in English and Creole, "We need help!"

from Tales from the Trail:

The complicated question of Haiti’s orphans

HAITIThe devastation caused by Haiti's earthquake has extended to some of its youngest and most powerless victims: orphans awaiting clearance to join adoptive families in the United States.

The U.S. government has already said it will allow orphaned children from Haiti to come to the United States temporarily for needed medical treatment, and on Wednesday expanded its effort.

from Global News Journal:

United Nations confronts life and death in Haiti

MINUSTAH's collapsed headquarters in Port-au-Prince.

MINUSTAH's collapsed headquarters in Port-au-Prince.

Everybody who knew French Canadian U.N. staffer Alexandra Duguay loved her. She was attractive, energetic and extremely intelligent. I got to know her well when she worked behind the media counter at U.N. headquarters. She was always eager to make sure we reporters had the latest resolutions, U.N. reports and speeches. And in the evening she enjoyed a glass of wine or beer at the Delegates Lounge. But she was bored with her job and wanted more adventure. One morning last spring she had an unusual twinkle in her eye. I asked her if something was up and she said yes. "I'm going to Haiti." A few months later she had her going-away party at the U.N. Correspondents Association room. She and her boyfriend prepared for their imminent deployment to Haiti, where Alex was to be a spokeswoman and media coordinator for U.N. operations in the Western hemisphere's poorest nation.

Alex quickly settled into her exciting new job. Late last year she emailed me an update of life in Port-au-Prince: "Even though it's a bit of a s****y place, I can't complain. I just spend too much time between my house and my hotel room, a.k.a. office. Yeah, we have peacocks as pets ... Haitians are nuts. Lovely but nuts."

from Funds Hub:

Morning line-up

Clear thinking in an opaque industry

News and views on the hedge fund sector from Reuters and elsewhere:

tea.jpg

Asian hedge funds global outperformers in 2009 - WSJ

Hedge funds withdrawal restrictions hold investors hostage - Bloomberg

Cayman earthquake rattles hedge funds nerves - Washington Post

Former hedge fund manager aids insider trading investigation - New York Times

 

 

 

 

from Tales from the Trail:

Haiti’s “Wizard-of-Oz” president – nowhere to be seen

QUAKE-HAITI/There's something weirdly symbolic in the sight of thousands of homeless Haitians massed in a sprawling tent city bang in front of the collapsed icing-sugar white presidential palace.
 
They're here because it's the biggest open space in the capital, but it somehow looks like an appeal for President Rene Preval to come out and speak to his people and reassure them that he stands behind them, that together the country will get through the catastrophe caused by Tuesday's earthquake.
 
Four days after Tuesday's earthquake the Haitian flag that once fluttered above the National Palace still lies in a wilted heap over the toppled white ruin. In the park opposite, men and women strip to their underpants to bathe in a large fountain and scrub their clothes. The hang their laundry on the park rails.
 
Garbage is scattered everywhere and the smell of urine and excrement is getting worse.
 
Far from coming to address them, Preval is holed up in the judicial police headquarters near the airport, mumbling that he can't do much when half the government's offices are destroyed and he doesn't even have a cell phone signal.
 
Meanwhile, the hundreds of thousands of Haitians who lost their homes and families have been left to fend for themselves, with no food handouts and no proper medical treatment. In many cases, they are seriously injured.
    
Foreign rescue workers are battling round the clock digging for survivors. But in the absence of a working government, the disaster relief teams who are supposed to be delivering food, latrines and medical supplies are still mostly dithering about sorting out logistics.
 
From the shambles outside the presidential palace, you wonder if anybody is in charge at all.
 
"The country is not working right now. It's not even eating," remarked Louis Widlyne, one of the countless people sleeping on a sheet that marks out his living quarters in the park.
 
A police officer called Joe was more sympathetic. He had received no orders since Tuesday's disaster, but decided on his own on Saturday that it was time to go back on the beat.
    
"Preval should have come and spoken to his people, but he hasn't," he said. "He is like that. It's just the kind of president he is." 

QUAKE-HAITI/

 

Click here for more coverage of the Haiti earthquake.

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