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New Deaths In Haiti

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - As if the January 12th fury of Mother Nature that claimed over 200,000 lives was not enough, more deaths were this week reported from a rainstorm that lashed the capital, Port-au-Prince, on Friday.

Authorities say five people were killed as the storm slammed into the numerous temporary settlements that sprang up in Haiti following January`s catastrophic earthquake. Thousands of temporary shelters in the camps for the survivors of January`s earthquake were either shredded or swept away in the flash floods, further devastating the lives of Haitians.

Caroline Noel, a 34-year-old mother, lives with her husband and three children in Carradeux camp together with almost 2,000 other families. `The situation here is really terrible,` UNICEF reports quoted her as saying.

Noel queued up for a distribution of blankets by UNICEF – one of three long lines full of people who had been affected by the storm. `After the earthquake I lost everything, there was no other solution than moving to a camp,` recalled Noel, who arrived in Carradeux in April from another camp. `Already after the earthquake I had lost everything, now I have lost everything again.`

Like other camps in the battered capital, Carradeux camp is now a scene of partial destruction. People sit on chairs or on the ground next to the remnants of tents that were their homes for the past eight months.

`This is the result of only half an hour of heavy winds and rain,` said UNICEF Representative in Haiti Françoise Gruloos-Ackerman, who visited Carradeux.

`It really underlines the need for us to work with all our partners on prevention and disaster risk reduction,` she added. `As the hurricane season is still upon us, we have to put all our efforts together to move these families into more solid structures. Some children have lost all their belongings twice in nine months, and this is very traumatic.`

The storm came as at least 1 million people are still living in tent camps or makeshift housing following the earthquake. 

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced sadness at the loss of life and damage caused by the storm and offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

He stressed the need for donors to continue to support post-quake relief and recovery efforts across Haiti, with an estimated $450 million in additional funding still required.

His comments come as the AP reported Tuesday that nearly nine months after the earthquake, not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived.

The money is still tied up in Washington owing to bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, The Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy.
Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far — less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11, the AP report added. 


STORY TAGS: BLACK , AFRICAN AMERICAN , MINORITY , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , NAACP , URBAN LEAGUE , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY

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