Homeless Haitians: Out of the Papers but Still Our Responsibility (Huffington Post)

by Eduardo Bialostozky

By: Ruth Messinger
President and Executive Director, American Jewish World Service

According to the latest UN figures, 1.3 million Haitians have been left homeless by the quake. Some of these Haitians are no longer sleeping in abandoned cars but in flimsy structures fashioned from plastic sheeting and salvaged wood--a minuscule improvement, to say the least. Over 218,000 survivors are living in makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince at immediate grave risk of flooding and landslides.

In the minds of too many of the privileged and the powerful, post-earthquake Haitian society has become little more than a faded photograph. Survivors' shelter and medical needs are no longer in focus or in vogue and too many relief efforts are being shortchanged. Virtually nothing is being done by either the Haitian government or international actors for those who will be flooded out of their squatter camps. Large-scale food aid--often distributed inequitably--has nearly run dry.

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US Congress passes Haiti debt relief bill (AFP)

by Eduardo Bialostozky

WASHINGTON — The US Congress passed a bill Wednesday calling for easing Haiti's debt burden to help with reconstruction efforts in the wake of the devastating January 12 earthquake.

The measure, adopted unanimously by the House of Representatives, now goes to President Barack Obama's desk to be signed into law.

It directs US representatives to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international lenders to act to relieve Haiti's external debt obligations and calls for future aid to be in the form of grants, not loans.

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Haiti's Preval pledges elections for 2010 (AFP)

by Eduardo Bialostozky

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian President Rene Preval pledged in an interview with AFP to hold elections this year despite the massive difficulties of organizing a successful poll in his quake-devastated country.

Legislative polls, originally set for February and March, were postponed after the January 12 earthquake that demolished the capital Port-au-Prince, killing more than 220,000 people and leaving 1.3 million Haitians homeless.

Preval, who also served as president from 1996 to 2001, is constitutionally barred from seeking a third mandate. His current term expires in February 2011 and presidential elections are expected in December, though no firm date has been announced.

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