Saturday, April 3, 2010

Trauma and Solidarity in the New Haiti

Trauma and Solidarity in the New Haiti, by Mark Schuller, NACLA Report on the Americas, March/April 2010 I arrived in Christ-Roi, a mixed-income neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, on January 20 as part of a 13-person medical team organized by and for a local clinic, Hospice St. Joseph. Eight days had passed since the devastating earthquake. We arrived on one of the first civilian aid flights that the U.S. military, having seized the airport three days after the quake, allowed into the country.

The military’s emphasis on using the airport to deploy troops to organize logistics—at the expense of delivering humanitarian aid, at least in the early days of the crisis—caused serious delays in providing desperately needed help. But the airport was not the only source of delays. The land route for delivering aid was closed off when the occupying United Nations forces closed the border with the Dominican Republic to prevent a flood of refugees. The only other viable option was by sea, but the earthquake destroyed the capital’s port, where most of the country’s goods arrive. Making matters worse, the quake damaged already bad roads connecting functioning ports in Saint-Marc and Cap-Ha├»tien. More...

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