For Immediate Release
Haiti: A Natural Disaster?
Available for a limited number of interviews, Marek is head of programs for the American Red Cross in Haiti. He is in rural Haiti, where he is traveling in isolated communities to facilitate aid deliveries.
Available for a limited number of interviews, Farmer is just back from Haiti. He is author of The Uses of Haiti, professor of medical anthropology at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Partners in Health. Farmer said: "I have never seen anything so painful" as what he has just seen in Haiti. A recent interview is available online.
Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Concannon lived in Haiti for eight years. He said today: "The catastrophe in Haiti is only a partly natural disaster. It is not natural that Haiti will once again suffer more deaths in the storms than all the other countries in the storm paths, combined. The deadly combination of poverty, weak governance and foreign interference has left the country unable to enforce laws on cutting down trees, install adequate drainage systems or effectively execute disaster planning and response. Haiti has never recovered the governmental capacity it lost in the U.S.-supported coup d'état in 2004, and we are now seeing the consequences.
"Although the international community's emergency help is needed now, it is even more important in the long term for the donor countries to let Haiti develop its governmental capacity, so it can respond to the next, inevitable natural disaster. This means no more undermining of Haitian governments, even if we do not like their policies; canceling Haiti's unfair debt to the International Financial Institutions like the World Bank; and implementing trade policies that allow Haiti to develop a broad-based, sustainable national economy."