By Ezili Dantò | Thu, Dec 13, 2012
In this Post
- Audit: USAID Haiti work 'not on track' — bigstory.ap.org
- Unease over UN bid to eradicate Haiti cholera — blogs.aljazeera.com
- The U.N. has requested $2.2 billion to battle a cholera epidemic in Haiti that has killed nearly 8,000 people since 2010 — ibtimes.com
Audit: USAID Haiti work 'not on track'
By MARTHA MENDOZA— Oct. 1 5:23 PM EDT
A newly released audit says the largest U.S. contractor working to stabilize Haiti after the 2010 earthquake is "not on track" to complete its assignments on schedule, has a weak monitoring system and is not adequately involving community members.
Washington D.C.-based Chemonics won a $53 million, 18-month contract from USAID in 2011 to help Haiti strengthen its economy and public institutions. USAID's Office of Inspector General released a report Monday that found Chemonics had a series of slips, including using arbitrary ways of evaluating its work, failing to hire local workers, and going ahead with potentially damaging environmental projects before they were approved.
"This report touches on a lot of issues we've seen with the overall reconstruction effort," said Jake Johnston, a researcher at the Washington D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research who studies U.S. spending in Haiti. "There's a lack of transparency and the work is often poorly planned and poorly executed."
Chemonics did not have an immediate comment, but a spokeswoman said it was preparing a response. USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives, which manages the Chemonics contracts, said in a written response to the audit that it agrees with all of the recommendations and that changes are under way to resolve the issues.
"It should be noted that it is challenging to attribute direct results in complex and fluid stabilization environments, and it is often the absence of destabilizing events that demonstrates stability in these historically volatile areas," USAID directors Robert Jenkins and Steve Olive said in a joint response.
This is the second time Chemonics work in Haiti has been found lacking. In 2010, USAID auditors found the firm failed to hire thousands of Haitians as planned under a cash-for-work program, spending the funds on equipment and materials.
Also in 2010, Chemonics was one of five groups criticized for wasting aid in Afghanistan on foreign workers' high salaries, security and living arrangements.
Chemonics, which has worked in 150 countries, counts USAID as its largest client.
In Haiti, Chemonics was awarded a $39.5 million contract after the earthquake for the first phase of reconstruction, involving 301 different small projects including setting up temporary space for parliament and holding Haiti's first- ever presidential debates. Its second $53 million contract, aimed at a second phase of reconstruction, had more than 140 different projects aimed at improving the social and economic situation in Haiti by hosting job fairs, printing training guides to prevent violence against women, establishing a daily radio news program and other projects.
Auditors said the second phase lacks accountability on many levels.
For example, the U.S. is helping construct a major, $224 million industrial park which is projected to employ more than 20,000 people in a small, impoverished northern community. Chemonics set out to beautify nearby towns to project "a positive image of what role the nearby Caracol industrial park and other upcoming economic investments will play in citizens' lives."
It didn't work. The plan was to spruce up the towns by installing benches, upgrading landscaping, and doing some minor masonry work. Auditors found Chemonics purchased and planted some seedlings for the town center, but they died from lack of care, and residents said they didn't see how the activity led to the beautification of the area nor did they associate it with the industrial park.
As a contractor, Chemonics is also responsible for setting up its own system of evaluation. The auditors found some of the ways the firm was measuring accomplishments simply didn't make sense. For example, Chemonics conducted an engineering study to improve one town's roads, and then measured their accomplishment by trying to count how many rebuilt institutions and structures "incorporate principles that support democracy and government legitimacy."
At times the work has also seemed backward. For example, an environmental review required in advance of farming projects was instead signed off on three months after Chemonics had 700,000 flowering tropical jatropha seedlings planted as part of a temporary work program.
Unease over UN bid to eradicate Haiti cholera
Benedict Moran | Benedict Moran is a producer for Al Jazeera English in New York and at the United Nations.
The UN has launched a new initiative aimed at tackling cholera in Haiti. But the programme falls short of what many had hoped for.
The new programme dedicates $215m from donors along with $23.5m from UN funds towards programmes in public health, capacity building, public education, and clean water systems. It will be part of a larger ten-year $2.2bn programme between Haiti and the neighbouring Dominican Republic to eradicate cholera from the island of Hispaniola.
"We know the elimination of cholera is possible," said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the initiative’s launch on Tuesday. "It has happened in difficult environments around the world. It can and will happen in Haiti."
Cholera was introduced to Haiti in October 2010 and has since killed about 7,750 and infected more than 600,000 people.
"With this new initiative, we will eradicate and remove once and for all the consequences and negatives effects of cholera on the Island of Hispaniola," said Lorenzo Hidalgo, the Minister of Health of the Dominican Republic.
But there are concerns by some diplomats and UN observers that the funds necessary for the programme would not be forthcoming from donors.
"The humanitarian funding is already running out," said Jake Johnston of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. "What's to give anyone faith that these funds will come through?"
Haiti will need $500m over the next two years for its own national cholera plan. The funds allocated in the programme would therefore cover only one year.
UN diplomats told me that the launch of the initiative is meant to reinvigorate the humanitarian effort to tackle cholera, and send a strong signal to donors.
"I'm confident that more resources will come," Nigel Fisher, the deputy head of the UN mission in Haiti, told reporters on Tuesday.
"As we move forward with this, we will indeed see the elimination of cholera."
Additionally, some UN observers fear that the plan will deflect international pressure on the UN to take responsibility for introducing the deadly disease.
Numerous studies - including internal investigations by the UN itself - indicate that cholera was brought in by Nepalese peacekeeping troops. Yet the international body has yet to formally take the blame.
"A just response requires allowing past victims of the UN cholera and their survivors their day in court, to seek justice for their loss of loved ones, income, property and educational opportunities," said Brian Concannon, Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, which has launched a lawsuit against the UN on behalf of the families of 5,000 cholera
More than 6,700 people have signed an online petition launched last week by filmmaker Oliver Stone, calling for the UN to take responsibility.
The U.N. has requested $2.2 billion to battle a cholera epidemic in Haiti that has killed nearly 8,000 people since 2010.
By Ryan Villarreal | December 12 2012 4:07 PM
The U.N. has requested $2.2 billion to battle a cholera epidemic in Haiti that has killed nearly 8,000 people since 2010.
Working with the Haitian government, the U.N. has outlined a 10-year plan to improve water and sanitation systems and provide treatment to those affected by the life-threatening disease.
“The new initiative will invest in prevention, treatment and education -- it will take a holistic approach to tackling the cholera challenge,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday in a press conference.
“The main focus is on the extension of clean drinking water and sanitation systems -- but we are also determined to save lives now through the use of an oral cholera vaccine.”
Mr. Ban seeks to raise $500 million for the first phase of the plan over the next two years. He said that slightly less than half of that amount had already been raised.
“Today I am pleased to announce that $215 million in existing funds from bilateral and multilateral donors will be used to support the initiative. I thank the donor community for this generous commitment,” Mr. Ban said.
“The United Nations will do its part. We are committing $23.5 million, building on the $118 million the U.N. system has spent on the cholera response to date.”
An additional $1.7 billion will be sought during the next eight years to eliminate the disease.
Haiti was struck by a cholera outbreak that killed roughly 7,000 people several months after a devastating 2010 earthquake killed an estimated 250,000 people.
It has become increasingly evident that the cholera pathogen was introduced to Haiti via U.N. peacekeepers from Nepal, where scientists have identified the original strain.
"We now know that the strain of cholera in Haiti is an exact match for the strain of cholera in Nepal," said Dr. Danielle Lantagne, a cholera expert employed by the U.N., the BBC reported.
In the area surrounding Port-au-Prince, the country's capital and most populous city, underdeveloped water and sanitation systems, many of which were damaged in the earthquake, are believed to have contributed to the spread of the waterborne pathogen.
While the U.N. has acknowledged that scientific evidence supports the idea that its employees may have introduced the cholera bacteria, it has avoided claiming responsibility for the outbreak, saying that it was not the fault of “any group or individual,” according to the Guardian.
A recent spike in cholera-related deaths has put the Haitian government on high alert, particularly in the wake of heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy, which passed through in October.
“This will not be a short-term crisis,” Mr. Ban said. “Eliminating cholera from Haiti will continue to require the full cooperation and support of the international community.”
Forwarded by Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
#Haiti - No one knows where $6 billion in earthquake relief funds has gone. What's certain: - it was not spent on Haiti poor
Reconstruction of Haiti’s schools by the Clinton Foundation and the Interamerican Development Bank is exposed in two articles as a textbook case of the “shock doctrine,” with the U.S. trying to house schoolchildren in substandard formaldehyde-laced Hurricane Katrina trailers. (Shock-Doctrine Schooling of Haitian Children by Clinton and IDB )
Haiti: November 18 – Disengagement is not an option - http://bit.ly/Uc9a7Q
"Last night, I didn’t catch the Little Girl in the Yellow Sunday Dress hanging by one arm over the side of a crowded, overloaded Haitian boat. Last night it was in 2007 that I Capsized. Before that, I crossed death and Capsized in 1997 too. It’s another November 18th under occupation and I guess you already know what I hide. I write this piece, each year, mostly to find the strength to carry this name until the end. But two decades of documenting, witnessing, giving homage to the fallen and struggling for justice and to prevent the continuous deaths, sufferings and incomprehensible hardships has taken its toll. The struggle is tough. I go back to the ..." ( Haiti: November 18 – Disengagement is not an option )
"Obama's appointed Clinton-Bush fund is closes after building their neoDuvalierist kleptocracy in Haiti back better, not democracy, not justice, equality nor the self-employed small Haiti farmers - Haiti's largest employer, biggest business assets. Their support of globalists' privatization combined with extortionist unfair trade rules and unregulated exportation of all capital out of Haiti continues to destroy local Haiti agriculture, local distribution, local manufacturing, local job growth, public accountability, local Haiti unions, civic participation, local Haiti tax base, environment protection, health and local capital circulation/multiplier. The US occupation through UN military proxy, of course, also destroys authentic Haiti government civic and democratic participation.
Haiti needs more local production, more local distribution, more local manufacturing, local jobs, local investment in Haiti infrastructure, local capital that circulates in Haiti, not "aid" that's capital to put into the pockets of selfish foreigners, Monsanto, Paul Farmer's pharmaceutical buddies, World Bank interests or Clinton toxic trailer scams. A greater tax base results from local production, distribution, manufacturing and local jobs, local sales. But that's RATIONAL, sensible and scientific. And the elite ruling nations write rational, sensible treatises but they are mostly too high tech to live love and generosity much less common sense. The NGOtocracy and the ruling nations they represent are too emotionally addicted to white narcissism, black adulation to live their own benevolent edicts. The US would rather disenfranchise all Haitians, all Africans for their land's resources and to preserve the colonial white supremacy narrative than to do the rational and sensible and less bloody alternative, which is don't dilute Diaspora local investments (remittances for instance), don't block participatory governance or initiatives as (socialists?), end the US occupation of Haiti. ALLOW the Haitians and the Haitian diaspora to succeed in investing in Haiti's local production, local agriculture, local job creation, et al.. Still we mustn't give up, or engage their insanity, confusion and murderous rampage across the world.
With broken wings, Haiti must dislodge these insane folks, not integrate with injustice." -- Ezili Danto of HLLN
Haiti's Gold Rush - an Ecological Crime in the Making
How Haiti Highlights the Failures of U.S. Immigration Policy
Audit: USAID Haiti work 'not on track'
Haiti is open for business
"Homeless quake victims get evicted in the hurricane season while the Bush- Clinton fund builds a new $29 million shelter for Westerners with donation dollars to help quake victims... They’re open for business on top of our decomposed dead bodies, on top of our crushed bones, on top of our intense grief. Open for business on top of our ground water contaminated by their diseased feces. They’ve made so much money...they still haven’t stop counting collected donation profits, anticipating more huge returns. Panting, salivating for more Haiti crisis, more cholera outbreaks, more back-to-back hurricanes, more calculated or imposed Haiti instability, more such business opportunities.
They’ve even calculated how much they’ll make pushing our decomposed dead bodies around to sell the grieving, Clorox hungry, walking dead Haitians – still living under hurricane-soaked tarps – more of their aquatabs, antibiotics, foreign vitamins, bottled water, nitrate-laced fertilizers and Monsanto hybrid seeds. Open for business building an oasis on top of an open grave, investing in remains. Happiness rings loud laughter at the World Bank, totally orgasmic at the IMF. Rwanda-Clinton says Haiti is open for business, now... Duvalier’s Chalan is back to evict the poor quake victims, build an oasis for Westerners in Haiti, like they have in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic."
Expose the Lies that fragment Haiti opposition to the tyrants, colonial terror and the NGOtocracy - Free Haiti
Help Haiti’s Farmers. Demand an end to unfair US trade, end to no Haiti tariffs on subsidized US rice dumped to destroy local Haiti production