No matter how bad insecurity ever has been, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has always maintained an important presence in Haiti. With approximately eighty percent of Port-au-Prince being under gang control, the ICRC must maintain constant communication with many of the 300 gangs and manage their ever-shifting alliances in order to provide assistance to the most vulnerable. In response to Haiti's worsening situation, ICRC intends to increase its humanitarian efforts including by expanding training for emergency health staff, ambulance services, and support to over-burdened health care facilities in insecure neighborhoods. The full BBC article by Vanessa Buschschlüter is linked and follows.
Given ongoing political instability, it is easy to lose sight of long-term development issues in Haiti like deforestation. Agriculture, with the food and rural jobs it provides, depends in part on strategically reversing environmental degradation. There are many challenges in doing so - electrifying major cities from which the demand for wood charcoal comes, creating alternative fuel sources that are accessible and less expensive the charcoal, creating more jobs from protecting the environment than from exploiting it, and of course, education. North Haiti Christian University (NHCU) is one instiution with programs to promote agriculture and protect the environment. A short BBC article by Gemma Handy about NHCU is linked and below.
The Decheteries De Carrefour Feuilles factory, founded by CASCAF, was selected among 12 finalists in the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Challenge 09 Competition. This project has created jobs, cleaned up neighborhoods, and made available a reasonably priced alternative to the wood charcoal that has left Haiti's hills and mountains largest deforested. If you also feel that this program deserves to be expanded and replicated, vote for it at the BBC World Challenge website. Bon Chans!