Haiti: storm victims starve

About a dozen people reportedly died of starvation in the Baie d’Orange communal section in Belle-Anse in Haiti’s Southeast department towards the end of October. Local authorities say malnutrition is a major problem in the area, which was hit by a series of storms two months ago; people are also suffering from dysentery, fevers and skin diseases. Apparently food relief failed to reach Baie d’Orange until recently because of the area’s isolation, which was worsened by the storms. (AlterPresse, Oct. 30)

International institutions have sent minimal aid to Haiti after the storms. There is still no sign they will offer the country debt relief, or even admit that there is a problem. During a visit to Port-au-Prince on Oct. 20, World Bank president Robert Zoellick reportedly told journalists that Haiti’s $1.7 billion debt was “half-forgiven” and promised “the rest of the debt” could soon be cancelled. $500 million of Haitian debt had already been cancelled, he said, according to reports. Local and international groups say that in fact none of Haiti’s debt stock has been cancelled by the World Bank, and in recent weeks the World Bank has delayed debt cancellation for Haiti by six months. (AlterPresse, Oct. 31)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 2

See our last post on Haiti.