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New election scheduled: The post-hurricane interventions, health crisis, gold rush, and campaigning begin

2016 10 15 Ban Ki-moon surveying hurricane damage over Camp Perrin credit Eskinder Debebe.jpg

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Oct. 19, 2016

Two days after it said it would, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) finally announced on Oct. 14 Haiti’s new electoral timetable. The presidential and legislative elections that had been scheduled for Oct. 9, with run-offs on Jan. 8, will now be held on Nov. 20 and Jan. 29 respectively. The final results will be announced on Feb. 20, 2017.

Haiti had been hoping to inaugurate a newly elected president on Feb. 7, 2017, a year after one should have been inaugurated constitutionally in 2016. The new 2017 inauguration date, which will be set by President Jocelerme Privert’s interim government,  has not yet been announced.

The Oct. 9 presidential election, which was to be a redo of a fraudulent polling in 2015, had to be rescheduled due to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, which passed directly over the cities of Les Cayes and Jérémie on Haiti’s southern peninsula on Oct. 4.

According to an internal Organization of American States report dated Oct. 11, of 157 voting centers in Haiti’s southern department, 112 (71%) were damaged and 29 (18%) were inaccessible. In the Grande-Anse department, investigators were able to visit or verify only 26 of its 106 voting centers. Of those visited, 23 were damaged, and 31 of the total were inaccessible.

Haitians, battered by hurricane, huddle in caves: ‘This is the only shelter we have’

cave beaumont hurricane matthew haiti_0.jpg

By Azam Ahmed, New York Times, Oct. 17, 2016

When the rain comes at night in these distant mountains, the people flee what homes they have left. They race down hills threaded with stones and ragged palm branches, the earth the color of rust.

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They arrive at a cave carved into the hillside, the only sanctuary left after the storm. It is a holy place now, having saved hundreds of villagers duringthe worst of Hurricane Matthew, when nature tore their homes to the ground. It is still the only thing to protect them.

For four days and nights, they huddled in its womb before emerging, frightened the hurricane might return. They slept on a floor of stacked boulders near the cave’s mouth, lighting small fires for warmth and light.

Let's not kid ourselves, Canada is in the war business

A girl lies on a hospital bed in Saada after she survived a Saudi-led airstrike last week, which medical sources said killed six of her family members Naif Rahma.jpg

By Neil McDonald, CBC News, Oct. 21, 2016

For the record, Stéphane Dion's office says he has so far been unable to find any evidence that the Saudi military is using lethal Canadian weapons platforms to slaughter civilians. Hence, billions of dollars' worth of weaponized armoured vehicles manufactured in Ontario are flowing as planned to the Saudis, despite Dion's stern warning in April that:

"Should I become aware of credible information of violations related to this equipment, I will suspend or revoke the permits" that he had just signed. "We are watching this closely," he said, "and will continue to do so."

Asked this week how Dion's monitoring has been carried out, his press secretary, Chantal Gagnon, replied: "Several ways. On the ground, you know, we have people. An embassy in Saudi Arabia."

Elections on hold in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

hurricane matthew damage haiti jeremie.jpg

By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Oct. 13, 2016

Under the leadership of an interim government since February, Haiti will now wait a little longer to elect a president after Hurricane Matthew struck the island, with 130 mile-per-hour winds and up to two feet of rain last week. Elections scheduled for October 9 have been put on hold, with Haiti’s provision electoral council (CEP) expected to announce a new date on Friday. 

As the scale of the damage becomes clearer in Haiti’s rural Tiburon peninsula, where entire communities were left destroyed and under water, negotiations are ongoing in the relatively unscathed capital of Port-au-Prince, where political and economic power has long resided. Pressure is building on Haiti’s besieged interim president Jocelerme Privert to hold the elections in the coming weeks, but an internal assessment of electoral infrastructure obtained by Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch reveals massive damage to voting centers throughout the hardest-hit departments.

Aid groups warn of more 'unnecessary deaths' in Haiti as cholera outbreak threatens

Haitians with symptoms of cholera are treated in a hospital in Jérémie, southwest Haiti on Oct 13, 2016 on Thursday (Orlando Bar

By Nika Knight, staff writer, Common Dreams, Oct 14, 2016

As death toll from Hurricane Matthew reaches 1,000 with almost 800 people missing, aid agencies warn that Haiti may be struck by fresh cholera outbreak.

Cholera is rapidly spreading in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew and the country will be struck by another outbreak of the devastating disease if a massive effort isn't launched to prevent it, aid agencies warn.

Partners In Health: 'We are mobilizing life-saving assistance for hurricane victims in Haiti, please donate'

Partners In Health training hospital in Mireblais, Haiti

October 13, 2016

Dear reader,

In three days of horror, Hurricane Matthew ripped through Haiti, causing damage that President Jocelerme Privert could only describe as "apocalyptic."

More than 1 million people are stranded in the devastated southwest peninsula, cut off from food, clean water, and medical care.

Partners In Health is now mobilizing teams bound for Haiti's hardest-hit areas. Please send an emergency donation today. Click here to donate.

Risk that another round of disaster aid to Haiti will reinforce U.S. domination

Jérémie, Haiti following the passing of Hurricane Matthew on Oct 4, 2016 (photo by UN agency)

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, October 11, 2016

The damage created by Hurricane Matthew as it passed over Haiti on October 4 approaches the scale of the earthquake disaster in 2010, according to reports by observers.

The images and accounts of Haiti’s devastation following Hurricane Matthew’s passage on October 4 are gut-wrenching. The death toll is in the many hundreds and continues to rise. Entire villages in the country's southwest were obliterated. The response of a Haitian government left besieged and without resources by decades of foreign plunder of the country is anemic. The victims’ anguished appeals for help are heart-rending. The United Nations now says there are 1.4 million people in need of assistance, urgent and immediate for half of them. Distressed onlookers around the world want to do something, anything, and fast.

But the greatest danger in the hurricane's aftermath may not come from the destruction of crops and infrastructure, the inevitable spike in cholera cases, or the sudden homelessness of tens of thousands. It may come from the aircraft carriers, foreign troops, food shipments, and hordes of NGO workers which are now descending on Haiti ostensibly to help the storm’s victims.