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New Marriott heralded as boost to beleaguered Haiti hotel market
24 February 2015 - Haiti's meager hotel offerings got a major boost on Tuesday with the inauguration of a brand new Marriott in the heart of the capital, the latest in a series of modern additions to the impoverished Caribbean island's hospitality sector. (more)

Bob Keesee's rain catchers bring clean water to Haiti's poorest
15 August 2014 - Bob Keesee first went to Haiti nearly 20 years ago with a group that planned to build a church that could also be used as a clinic and school. When he saw how far women had to walk to get water, and the desperate efforts people made to collect rainwater, he knew he had to do something. (more)

Young Canadian reunites Haitian 'orphans' with parents
28 July 2014 - Morgan Wienberg, a slight 22-year-old from Canada, was only 18 when she joined the wave of volunteers who flew to Haiti to help out after the catastrophic earthquake in 2010. She has returned, putting off a medical career to help Haitian children. Ms Wienberg set up her own charity in late 2011 to safe places for children to receive care while their parents are traced. So far Morgan has rescued 86 children and is helping their families provide for them at home, while also paying to educate 156. Despite her present involvement, Morgan hasn't necessarily given up on medical school. (more)

Haiti witnesses declining cholera rates, significant gains in development
17 July 2014 - Haiti, often cited as one of the least developed countries in the Western Hemisphere, has reached -- or nearly reached -- several of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of the 2015 deadline, according to a report launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) a month ago. Among other achievements, the country has seen a steady boost in enrollment rates in primary education from 47 per cent in 1993 to nearly 90 per cent, achieving equal participation of boys and girls in education. Haiti has also halved the number of underweight children under the age of five some three years ahead of the 2015 deadline. (more)

Haiti: UNESCO to send experts to examine possible wreck of 'Santa Maria'
26 June 2014 - The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced that it will provide technical assistance requested by the Government of Haiti and send a mission to the site of an underwater shipwreck, which may be that of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus's first voyage to America. (more)

Haiti creates commission to monitor possible Santa Maria wreck
28 May 2014 - The Haitian government plans to create a high-level commission to monitor the possible discovery of the 500-year-old remains of Christopher Columbus's flagship off the country's north coast, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said on Wednesday. Lamothe said the commission would be composed of experts from the United Nation's cultural arm, UNESCO, the ministries of culture and tourism, specialists from the Haitian National Pantheon Museum (MUPANAH), as well as Clifford -- the US Marine explorer leading the team that found the wreck. Clifford has said he would like the ship to stay in Haiti as part of a permanent exhibition to help the country's struggling tourism industry. (more)

Shipwreck off Haiti could be Columbus's Santa Maria, explorers say
13 May 2014 - A shipwreck found off the north coast of Haiti could be the 500-year-old remains of the Santa Maria, which led Christopher Columbus's famed voyage to the New World, according to a team of marine explorers. The Santa Maria was one of a fleet of three vessels that departed Spain in 1492 looking for a shorter route to Asia. The ship, after arriving near the Bahamas, drifted into a reef and had to be abandoned. Columbus ordered sailors to build a fort nearby before taking the remaining two ships back to Spain to report his findings. (more)

Clinton Foundation funds recycling plant in Haiti
18 February 2014 - The Clinton Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to a Haitian recycling plant that seeks to clean up the country's dirty capital city. Former President Bill Clinton, who heads the private foundation, made the announcement Tuesday before the end of a two-day trip to the Caribbean nation, where he used to serve as a United Nations special envoy. His foundation focuses on bringing investors to Haiti. The grant goes to Sustainable Recycling Solutions, a business founded in 2012 by a team of Haitian business leaders and foreign aid workers. (more)

Former US President Bill Clinton in Haiti to visit projects
17 February 2014 - Bill Clinton arrived in Haiti Monday to shine a spotlight on some of the projects that his private foundation has supported to help the country recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010. The former US President began the visit with a tour at a solar-powered primary school in Cite Soleil, a forsaken seaside slum that is one of the Caribbean nation's poorest neighbourhoods. (more)

Clean energy company sends hanging solar lights to Haitians
1 December 2013 - Clean energy company Enèji Pwòp is on the mission to transform Haiti with renewable energy. The firm hopes to enhance quality of life within the country's borders through a programme that allows immigrant Haitians to purchase clean energy products like solar lights to send to their loved ones at home. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Documentary charts the dangers of deforestation
20 September 2016 - A new documentary thriller, Death by A Thousand Cuts, explores how the fate of forests in two neighbouring countries has exacerbated social conflict, xenophobia, poverty, and even resulted in multiple murders. '[Haiti and the Dominican Republic] share the island of Hispaniola, but have starkly different trajectories, in large part, related to how they have managed their natural resources,' said Jake Kheel, co-director of the documentary, which won the Jury's best documentary prize at the Seattle film festival. (more)

Haiti violence increasing
18 November 2013 - Thousands of Haitians took to the streets on Monday calling for President Michel Martelly to resign, and some protesters scuffled with police as international concern mounts over rising violence in the impoverished Caribbean nation. It was the largest anti-government protest since Martelly took office in May 2011, surpassing scenes in May this year when deposed former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide made a rare court appearance. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti on Saturday noted the resurgence of violence and killings in the notorious seaside slum of Cite Soleil in the capital, as well as the northern city of Cap Haitien. 'Such crimes are particularly disturbing as they endanger the safety of all, and the social peace that Haiti needs to move forward on the path of strengthening rule of law and socio-economic development,' mission head Sandra Honore' said in a statement. Last month the UN Security Council extended the mission in Haiti until mid-October 2014, and reiterated that building the capacity of the Haitian National Police remains 'a most critical task.' (more)

Despite two bans, styrofoam trash still plagues Haiti.
16 August 2013 - Despite two government decrees making their import and usage illegal, styrofoam cups and plates are used and littered all over the capital, as well as bought and sold, wholesale and retail, completely out in the open. The first decree, dated 9 August, 2012, went into effect on 1 October, 2012, as part of a decree that also outlawed black plastic bags, used by street vendors as well as in greenhouses all over the country. Additionally the government recently adopted a new decree dated 10 July, 2013 and written in much the same language. If the last 10 months are any indication, there is little reason to think the new decree will bring about much change. The streets of the capital region are awash in styrofoam. Any passerby, police officer, or state official can see bright white products, as well as the illegal black plastic bags, being used and discarded everywhere. (more)

Two out of three people face hunger as Haiti woes mount
10 June 2013 - Three years after an earthquake killed hundreds of thousands and international donors promised to help Haiti 'build back better,' hunger is worse than ever. Despite billions of dollars from around the world pledged toward rebuilding efforts, the country's food problems underscore just how vulnerable its 10 million people remain. In 1997 some 1.2 million Haitians didn't have enough food to eat. A decade later the number had more than doubled. Today, that figure is 6.7 million, or a staggering 67 per cent of the population that goes without food some days, can't afford a balanced diet, or has limited access to food, according to surveys by the government's National Coordination of Food Security. As many as 1.5 million of those face malnutrition and other hunger-related problems. 'This is scandalous. This should not be,' said Claude Beauboeuf, a Haitian economist and sometime consultant to relief groups. 'But I'm not surprised, because some of the people in the slums eat once every two days.' Much of the crisis stems from too little rain, and then too much. A drought last year destroyed key crops, followed by flooding caused by the outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy. (more)

Eviction fears haunt Haiti camps after attacks
15 May 2013 - Haitian land owners are increasingly using threats and sometimes outright violence to clear out sprawling displaced person camps, where some 320,000 Haitians still live. Aid groups and officials from Martelly's government say fewer visible encampments and a smaller number of displaced residents are proof Haiti is recovering. But housing advocates worry that many people are actually being evicted with no place to go, at the hands of authorities or people such as Georges who claim to own the land. Evictions were far more common just after the quake, with the International Organization for Migration calculating that 6,650 people were forced from informal camps during the last six months of 2010. The practice had tapered off, but, that number is growing again as private property owners grow impatient to regain their long-occupied land. According to the migration organization, 977 displaced people left the camps through force or threats during the first three months of 2013. (more)

Haiti's road to reconstruction blocked by land tenure disputes
27 January 2013 - Efforts to improve Haiti's infrastructure after the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people keep running run up against the country's land laws. A non-existent land registry, fraudulent land titles, unclear processes for land transfer, and a tangle of bureaucracy, have halted a major, badly needed road project and several other necessary international investments. Haiti's land laws have delayed completion of a Spanish-funded water treatment facility on the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince, and prevented the start of construction on a $26 million public hospital in the city of Gonaives. The Vatican has shied away from building and re-building churches in this strongly Catholic country, while the US Agency for International Development (USAID) decided to build permanent houses in the far north of Haiti rather than the more legally challenging capital, where most of the earthquake damage occurred. (more)

US pledge to rebuild Haiti not being met
21 July 2012 - The deadly earthquake that leveled Haiti's capital more than two years ago brought a thread of hope: a promise of renewal. With the United States taking the lead, international donors pledged billions of dollars to help the country 'build back better', breaking its cycle of dependency. But after the rubble was cleared and the dead buried, what the quake laid bare was the depth of Haiti's dysfunction. Today, the fruits of an ambitious, $1.8 billion US reconstruction promise are hard to find. Critics say the US effort to reconstruct Haiti was flawed from the start. While 'build back better' was a comforting notion, there wasn't much of a foundation to build upon. Haiti's chronic political instability and lack of coordinated leadership between Haiti and the US meant crucial decisions about construction projects were slow to be approved. Red tape stalled those that were. A major frustration for watchdogs of the US effort is a lack of transparency over how the millions of dollars are being spent. From interviews to records requests, efforts to track spending in Haiti by members of Congress, university researchers, and news organizations have sometimes been met with resistance and even, in some cases, outright refusals. (more)

Haiti protest signals political tension for future
1 March 2012 - Several thousand supporters of two-time President Jean-Bertrand Aristide filled the streets of Haiti's capital Wednesday on the eighth anniversary of his ouster, accusing the country's current leader of not doing enough to improve their lives. It was the largest demonstration against President Michel Martelly since he took office in May, and pointed to mounting political strife between the president and his critics as the country struggles to rebuild from the 2010 earthquake. The protest came at a time when the mood in the country feels precarious and abounds with tension. Last Friday, Prime Minister Garry Conille suddenly resigned from his post after just four months on the job because of infighting with Martelly. Conille, who previously worked as an aide to former US President Bill Clinton in his role as the UN special envoy to Haiti, is staying on as the country's No. 2 government official until legislators ratify a successor, a process that could take weeks and could prove tricky with an opposition-controlled Parliament. (more)

Haiti marks two years after catastrophic quake
12 January 2012 - Haitians marked the second anniversary on Thursday of a devastating earthquake that ravaged their impoverished Caribbean country, as their President held out new promises to rebuild the shattered land. Many women donned white dresses as they observed a national day of mourning by attending church services across the deeply religious country. President Michel Martelly has vowed to redouble government efforts to help people rebuild their lives and reverse a painfully slow recovery marked by squalid tent camps that are home to more than a half a million people in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Despite billions of dollars of international donations and aid pledges, many Haitians say they see few tangible results of the recovery and reconstruction effort. Just over half of the piles of concrete, steel and other debris littering Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas has been cleared. Haitians also complain about a lack of housing and jobs two years after the quake. (more)

Haiti 2 years later: Half a million still in camps
8 January 2012 - Two years years have passes since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, causing a death toll of nearly 300,000, and prompting the world to opened its wallets in response, but the lives of hundreds of thousands of Haitian have barely improved. While $2.38 billion has been spent, Haitians have hardly seen any building at all. The reasons for the slow progress are many. Beyond being among the world's poorest nations and a frequent victim of destructive weather, Haiti's land registry is in chaos -- a drag on reconstruction because it's not always clear who owns what land. Then there's a political standoff that went on for more than a year and still hobbles decision-making. New housing is still the most critical objective, but the encampments of cardboard, tarps, and bed sheets that went up to cope with 1.5 million homeless people have morphed into shantytowns that increasingly look permanent. (more)


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