Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Haiti "aid": follow-up

Yesterday I remarked that I didn't know what the effect of the current food aid to Haiti might be. I am now slightly better informed as a result of watching the Al Jazeera Fault Lines documentary "Haiti: The Politics of Rebuilding" on The Real News network at (a source that I highly recommend).

First, it appears that food is being distributed not only in Port-au-Prince but also in other towns that were NOT affected by the earthquake, and as in the past this must be harming local farmers and therefore increasing malnutrition.

Second, many of the people who earlier left the countryside to swell the shanty towns of the capital (now destroyed) have returned to their home villages. The big question is whether reconstruction efforts will be directed at agriculture so they can stay there or whether they will be forced to return to work in rebuilt factories in Port-au-Prince and once again make apparel and other trash for the US market. The popular organizations are pressing for the first option, while the official reconstruction plan backed by the US, World Bank etc. is geared to the second option, with the number employed in offshore industry envisioned to rise from 25,000 to 150,000.

We also learn that many workers were crushed to death in the earthquake because they were locked inside factories and unable to escape.

No comments: