We talked to a lot of people about Haiti yesterday at the South West Contemporary Art Fair in Totnes, England. Everyone we spoke to knew about the outbreak of cholera in Haiti. Nobody we spoke to knew that the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince had been shaken from their sleep by a seismic shock the previous night, or the previous month.
More on Significant Risk of Another Haiti Earthquake
I awoke this morning and checked the news from Haiti. The mainstream media now confirms that the cholera outbreak has reached the capital Port-au-Prince. According to Reuters a UN humanitarian spokeswoman said that the 5 known cases:
More on More Deaths in Haiti. More Shocks As Well.
Unfortunately it's not unexpected, but the BBC reports today that 196 people have already died in an outbreak of cholera in Haiti:
2,634 people have been hospitalised in the central Artibonite and Central Plateau regions by the illness, which causes diarrhoea, acute fever, vomiting and severe dehydration.
More on Haiti Hit by Cholera Outbreak
According to YAHOO! news last month:
A U.S.-based think tank is painting a grim picture of the earthquake recovery effort in Haiti, adding its voice to widespread accusations of ineffectual local leadership.
James Dobbins, a former U.S. special envoy to Haiti and director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center said that:
More on Terribly Troubling Times in Haiti
This week's edition of The Economist magazine includes an article about Haiti entitled "Island in the sun", which begins by saying that:
It might seem callous in the aftermath of 230,000 deaths in January’s earthquake to talk about the opportunity offered by the rebuilding of Haiti. But merely restoring the most benighted country in the Americas to its previous misery would be culpable. Among the opportunities is to improve Haiti’s energy infrastructure.
Even the online version of the Economist's statistics on global economic activity don't include Haiti, so we need to look somewhere else to try and find out what they mean by the term "benighted country". The Thompson Reuters Foundation AlertNet site gives us an idea of how "benighted" Haiti actually is. It uses Gross National Income per capita as a measure of standard of living, and this is what it reveals. The standard of living in Haiti is so low you can barely make it out on the chart. For 2006, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, the numbers are as follows:
More on Rebuild Haiti With Solar Power, Not Firewood?
In February 2005 I went on a surfing trip to the Caribbean. Since I speak English rather than French I went to Barbados rather than Haiti, and made a pilgrimage to Bathsheba on the east coast. According to Kelly Slater, the "Tiger Woods" of surfing, and 9 times world champion:
More on Haiti – The History, The Hate and The Earthquake
The chart below shows month to month variations in the climate at Port au Prince, the capital of earthquake stricken Haiti. Look carefully at the dark green "precipitation" graph:
The month of January when the earthquake hit is the driest of the year. By the time May arrives average rainfall is seven times as much.
More on Haiti Homeless Demand Shelter
Today we've added two new sections to our website. The first contains our current suggestions about how best to help get relief to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. According to Haitian President René Préval the most urgent need is shelter for 800,000 homeless people before the rainy season starts in about a month's time, so we focus on that problem to start with.
More on Two New Sections on econnexus Website
Our apologies to recent visitors to the econnexus website. At some point over the weekend we were hacked, and you may have seen warnings similar to the following if you tried to access this site recently:
More on econnexus Website Hacked!
Update 11:35 GMT on January 20th 2010
Haiti just endured another aftershock. This one was apparently 5.9 on the moment magnitude scale.
Synchronicity struck at the opening of the Art, Ecology and the Economy exhibition at CCANW. Several musicians from South West England have now donated a track to our forthcoming "Water Connects Us" album in aid of Haiti:
More on Haiti Suffers Again