Children Dying in Haiti, Victims of Food Crisis

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Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:36 pm

Post by Barb » Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:16 pm

Yeah, I don't know either. I was food shopping yesterday here in New Mexico and WalMart was selling asparagus from Peru for 99 cents a pound. Lovely for us but on a global scale, one shutters to think how it was achieved.

I've assembled a collection of quotes below:

"I'm so tired of hearing from and about the "less fortunate" around here. America is full of opportunity. Get off your lazy duff and get educated. Then you won't be less fortunate." --Anonymous quote from our local paper.

Published on Monday, November 10, 2008 by
Anger and Hope: Haitian Families Furious Over School Collapse
by Bill Quigley “
…Nobody comes except those who want to take pictures, make reports, and make money. We have been promised everything, but we have received nothing. Watch," he said. "After fifteen days, no one is even going to be talking about this. Only the victims and the families will be talking about it. The government and some other people will get some money out of the disaster and the children and their families and the community will see none of it." (Back from Hurricane Katrina)
In an interview with a local radio station Mayor Ray Nagin almost broke down in rage and anger. "We're getting reports and calls that [are] breaking my heart from people saying, 'I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to my neck. I don't think I can hold out.' And that's happening as we speak."
He added, "You mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on man."

While people are dying and relief is not reaching them, the doctoring and spinning game has begun.

An anguished person emailed from Texas, “Are you guys aware of what is going on in New Orleans. CNN is showing people dying at the convention center left and right with no help in sight. All the authorities have left them to die. There are dead babies all over the floor and bodies. What the Hell is Bush doing!. I am shocked the local channels are not showing what is going on. Why aren't the Citizens in an uproar?”

And a quote from Newt Gingrich ... f-Katrina/
How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane?

Katrina Kids: Sickest Ever
By Mary Carmichael | NEWSWEEK Published Nov 22, 2008
Even before the storm, they were some of the country's neediest kids. Now, the children of Katrina who stayed longest in ramshackle government trailer parks in Baton Rouge are "the sickest I have ever seen in the U.S.," says Irwin Redlener, president of the Children's Health Fund and a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. According to a new report by CHF and Mailman focusing on 261 displaced children, the well-being of the poorest Katrina kids has "declined to an alarming level" since the hurricane. Forty-one percent are anemic—twice the rate found in children in New York City homeless shelters, and more than twice the CDC's record rate for high-risk minorities. More than half the kids have mental-health problems. And 42 percent have respiratory infections and disorders that may be linked to formaldehyde and crowding in the trailers, the last of which FEMA finally closed in May. The "unending bureaucratic haggling" at federal and state levels over how to provide services and rebuild health centers for the Gulf's poor has made a bad situation much worse, says Redlener: "As awful as the initial response to Katrina looked on television, it's been dwarfed by the ineptitude and disorganization of the recovery."

Some kids may end up with permanent developmental and cognitive delays, but many can still be helped. The first step will be finding them. FEMA was supposed to provide Louisiana with contact information for the families that moved out of the trailers; it has not done so. The agency's case-management program also "has yet to provide any services for thousands of families," according to the report, and funding for the program expires in March. Redlener is optimistic that funds will be extended at least through mid-2010, since all that will require is "a stroke of the pen" from the new administration. But, he adds, he's "not Pollyanna-ish about how rapidly" the disaster-planning system will get its act together and come up with long-term plans for the impoverished families—or whether that will be accomplished in time "to make sure this doesn't happen again" with the next storm.

I pray the tide is turning and the dawn is breaking.

Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:36 pm

Post by Barb » Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:02 pm ... 37560.html

UN aid pledges set to be broken?
By Sasja Bokkerink, Oxfam International

The UN conference on Financing for Development takes place this weekend in Doha against the backdrop of a devastating global financial crisis.

It comes at a key moment, and one with little or no economic precedent.

Already climate change and high food and fuel prices are threatening to undo the progress that has been made towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by 189 UN member states and 23 international organisations to tackle extreme poverty, child mortality and fighting disease.

Now the financial crisis looks set to kick the poorest countries while they are down – yet another example of the poor paying the highest price for rich countries' mistakes.

It is therefore more important than ever that we make ambitious and concrete commitments to guarantee that sufficient finance is available for tackling poverty.

And yet the latest noises coming out of the capital of Qatar are not good.

Negotiations are, at best, heading towards a reconfirmation of the broad pledges that were made at the conference's predecessor in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002, and at worst, towards no agreement at all.

Rich countries do not seem to share the sense of urgency that is felt so keenly in the developing world.

Most – with the notable exception of France – have not even seen fit to send their head of state to Doha.

Nevertheless, Oxfam believes that rich governments must take the opportunity of Doha to live up to their responsibilities and clean up the mess they have created.

To do this, they must first of all keep their promises to increase aid.

With recession at home, there is a risk that rich countries will be tempted to cut aid to prove their political commitment to domestic problems.

But given the tiny amounts of money involved as compared with rich country economies, this is, little more than playing to the gallery for political gain and at great human cost.

Cutting aid levels means less money for humanitarian crises such as those in Darfur, or less money to provide life-saving drugs for the millions living with HIV and Aids.

'Aid inflation'
Rich countries have shown that they are more than capable of mobilising vast sums of money when they have the will to do so: in a matter of weeks they managed to raise $3 trillion to bailout their banks – 30 times the amount of current global aid.

But the latest version of the Doha outcome document clearly demonstrates this lack of will.

A reference to not allowing the financial crisis to be used by rich countries as an excuse for breaking their promises on aid has now been deleted.

The document does not even include a clear reconfirmation of the aid promises that were famously made by the G8 in Gleneagles in 2005: to increase aid by $50bn to $130bn a year by 2010.

A major issue that must be addressed at Doha is the inflation of aid figures.

Items such as debt cancellation, foreign student costs or expenditures on refugee immigrants are frequently counted as aid, despite the fact that they don't involve a genuine transfer of resources.

There is a similar problem when it comes to money to help poor countries adapt to and mitigate the growing impacts of climate change.

Oxfam believes that, since it is mainly industrialised nations that are responsible for climate change, it is these countries that should pay for the consequences.

Funding for climate change should be seen as compensation and yet rich nations refuse to explicitly state that this funding should not be counted as aid.

Also high on the Doha agenda will be the enormous leaking of funds from developing countries to rich countries.

Tax evasion
Each year, up to $800 billion in capital flows out of southern countries, often through tax havens in the north.

The lion's share of this is linked not to corruption and crime, but to the tax avoidance and tax evasion practices of multinational companies.

"Transfer mispricing" - which allows multinational companies to allocate profits to sister companies just to avoid paying tax – means that the tax revenue lost to developing countries each year amounts to $160 billion.

That is more than half of the total amount the UN has estimated is needed each year to lift everyone on the planet above the extreme poverty line.

Oxfam wants this problem of corporate tax avoidance to be acknowledged and is calling for concrete measures to improve international tax co-operation to be announced in Doha.

So far, rich countries refuse to acknowledge the specific problem of corporate tax flight, attempting to link it solely to corruption and crime.

And, in spite of the fact that the current financial crisis has dramatically highlighted the need for improved transparency and enhanced international cooperation, they still refuse to commit to bold steps in this area.

IMF and World Bank reform
The economic crisis has also underlined something that had already become painfully apparent: the multilateral institutions of the 20th century are woefully unsuited to the 21st century world.

Oxfam believes that the mandates and powers of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) should be thoroughly reviewed and reformed, and more competencies delegated to regional institutions.

However, it is likely that Doha will ignore the need for a radical overhaul of the boards of the bank and fund and do little more than welcome the reforms that have already been agreed – reforms that are shamefully inadequate, and which have resulted in developing countries increasing their share of votes by just two per cent.

Rich countries must this weekend recognise that strengthened international institutions should not only enhance the voices of major new economies, but should also give a stronger voice to low-income countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa.

The African Union must, for example, have full membership of the G20, in the same way as the European Union.

The Doha conference comes at the end of what has been a devastating year for the global poor.

World Bank statistics indicate that the food crisis alone will have already pushed another 100 million people into poverty.

Now it is estimated that the global financial crisis will drag 40 million people in to poverty in 2009.

It is a time of unprecedented global challenges.

If ever there was a moment for an unprecedented global response, it is now.

Sasja B

Posts: 140
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 1:36 pm

Post by Barb » Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:20 am

Emaciated girl helped by Haiti food aid
Photo of 4-year-old Venecia drew worldwide attention to hunger crisis
It was late afternoon and the young mother was hiding in the kitchen of her banana-thatch shack,
updated 6:27 p.m. MT, Mon., Dec. 15, 2008
lighting a cooking fire she hoped her neighbors would not see she gets food aid while they must scrounge to eat.
Her 4-year-old daughter — whose sunken eyes drew worldwide attention in an Associated Press photograph that showed her dangling limply from the strap of a scale — grinned in anticipation.
It's been a month since little Venecia Louis got emergency treatment for malnutrition, and now she is walking, playing and even has a pinch of baby fat on her cheeks.
Venecia was among dozens of children suffering from severe malnutrition who were airlifted from this remote region in Haiti's southeast to hospitals in Port-au-Prince after 26 children died from starvation here.
As a result, Venecia and her family now get just enough food aid to scrape by.
Venecia smiled last week as her mother, Rosemen Saint-Juste, prepared a can and a half of rice that would be dinner for six people. She has gained some weight and her arms are plumper after treatment with antibiotics, anti-worm medications and enriched milk. But she is by no means cured from her life-threatening bout with malnutrition.
Mother hoards what she can
The child's 30-year-old mother hoards what she can to protect her children's health but says she must give away some to the hungry families who live nearby or risk their revenge — by physical attack or the Voodoo spell she believes they might cast to kill her children.
“The food I have is going to last for three days” instead of four, she said after giving away some of her rice. “If I don't share it with my neighbors, the devil will eat my kids.”
Four tropical storms that killed 793 people in August and September and caused $1 billion in damage made Haiti's ongoing food crisis even worse. Crops were wiped out and mountain roads destroyed, cutting farmers off from markets where they sell their crops and buy food for their children.
Little attention had been paid to the villages around Baie d'Orange, located on a muddy plateau 6,000 feet above the Caribbean, until doctors from nearby cities alerted the international aid groups Terre des Hommes about deaths and severe malnutrition there.
An AP report on the crisis and photos of Venecia, who was initially identified by the hospital as Venecia Lonis, and other severely malnourished children brought an outpouring of offers of help.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, Democrat of Los Angeles, cited the AP report in urging the U.S. Agency for International Development to search for any Haitian children in danger of starvation and pledged to follow up with the Haitian ambassador and President Rene Preval. Two church congregations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that raised $18,000 were among many groups moved by their plight.
Aid groups step up work
In response to the children's deaths, aid groups have stepped up their work in this isolated pocket that in some places lies just over a peak from the capital's richest suburbs — but a six-hour trek over a circuitous mountain highway, washed-out bridges and unmarked goat paths.
The U.N. World Food Program now feeds 5,000 people here every two weeks, delivering food primarily by helicopter. USAID has increased its nutrition programs by $4.5 million nationwide.
Medical aid organizations Doctors Without Borders and Medicins du Monde have set up clinics as they scour the region for more pockets of hunger. They have not found any as severe as Baie d'Orange, according to a Doctors Without Borders spokesman, Francois Servranckx.
Still, the donations are merely a stopgap measure, residents say. Far more critical is support for rebuilding their fields so they can feed themselves.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization delivered seeds to about 400 families last month, and Oxfam is also distributing farm aid. But the farmers say they are not getting what they need most — supplies to restore their barren fields.
“If they give us seeds and they don't give us fertilizer, we can't grow anything,” said Enock Augustin, whose severely malnourished 5-year-old daughter, Bertha, was also hospitalized last month.
Seed costs have tripled
A single sack, enough to cover half an acre for a three-month growing cycle, costs $62.50, he said — more than twice what most Haitians make in a month. And the price has tripled over the past three years.
Both of Saint-Juste's young daughters show signs of extreme protein deficiency — distended stomachs, protruding ribs and frail limbs. But it was Venecia who turned dangerously ill.
For a month, the mother watched as her daughter's frail body swelled and the circles under her eyes darkened. With no money and no hospital nearby, she could only pray as word spread of children dying.
Finally Saint-Juste heard that Doctors Without Borders had come to the region. Carrying Venecia, she walked for hours from their village of Mabrignol to the makeshift clinic, and the child was airlifted by helicopter Nov. 9 to the aid group's hospital in Port-au-Prince.
“I didn't think she was going to make it to the hospital,” Saint-Juste said. The child stayed there for 15 days.
Now home, the girl nicknamed “Manushka” scrambles to keep up with her older siblings, wearing a smudged gray Eeyore sweat shirt. The circles have faded under her eyes, and a healthier color has returned to her cheeks.
Stomach remains swollen
But like her 6-year-old sister Minush, her stomach remains swollen. Their 14-month-old brother, Roselin, is pale and listless. Only the eldest, 9-year-old Silner, appears in reasonably good health.
Saint-Juste and her children huddle each night on a single cot in their shack of dried banana stalks; their former home was burned down by thieves while Saint-Juste was with Venecia at the hospital. Her two eldest children narrowly escaped.
The children's father, a shoeshine named Edner Louis, lives in Port-au-Prince and sometimes sends money. Saint-Juste also earns a ration of food and about 62 cents a day working in her neighbors' fields during the spring.
On Thursday, volunteers from the Greater Works Outreach church in Monroeville, Pa., and St. John's United Methodist Church in Turnersville, N.J., distributed food and other aid to some 600 people in nearby Baie d'Orange.
Emaciated children and desperate parents rushed a balcony to grab peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, rice, beans and canned fish.
As they handed out the food, Venecia — the little girl whose image had inspired their generosity — was just a few miles away. Her mother did not know a distribution was going on.

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