Haiti by the Numbers

890 million.  Amount of international debt that Haiti owes creditors.  Finance ministers from developing countries announced they will forgive $290 million.  Source: Wall Street Journal.

644 million.  Donations for Haiti to private organizations have exceed $644 million.  Over $200 million has gone to the Red Cross, who had 15 people working on health projects in Haiti before the earthquake.  About $40 million has gone to Partners in Health, which had 5,000 people working on health in Haiti before the quake.   Source:  New York Times.

1 million.  People still homeless or needing shelter in Haiti.  Source: MSNBC.

1 million.  People who have been given food by the UN World Food Program in Port au Prince – another million in Port au Prince still need help.  Source: UN World Food Program.

300,000.  People injured in the earthquake, reported by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.  Source: CNN.

212,000.   People reported killed by earthquake by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.  Source: CNN.

63,000.   There are 63,000 pregnant women among the people displaced by the earthquake.  7,000 women will deliver their children each month.  Source:  UN Populations Fund.

17,000.  Number of United States troops stationed on or off coast in Haiti, down from a high of 22,000.  Source: AFP.

9,000.  United Nations troops in Haiti. Source: Miami Herald.

7,000.  Number of tents distributed by United Nations. Source: Miami Herald.   President Preval of Haiti has asked for 200,000 tents.  Source: Reuters.

4,000.  Number of amputations performed in Haiti since the earthquake. Source: AFP.

900.  Number of latrines that have been dug for the people displaced from their homes.  Another 950,000 people still need sanitation. Source: New York Times.

75.   An hourly wage of 75 cents per hour is paid by the United Nations Development Program to people in Haiti who have been hired to help in the clean up.   The UNDP is paying 30,000 people to help clean up Haiti, 180 Haitian Gourdes ($4.47) for six hours of work.  The program hopes to hire 100,000 people.  Source: United Nations News Briefing.

1.25.   The U.S. is pledged to spend as much as $379 million in Haitian relief.  This is about $1.25 for each person in the United States. Source:   Canadian Press.

1.  For every one dollar of U.S. aid to Haiti, 42 cents is for disaster assistance, 33 cents is for the U.S. military, 9 cents is for food, 9 cents is to transport the food, 5 cents to pay Haitians to help with recovery effort, 1 cent is for the Haitian government and ½ a cent is for the government of the Dominican Republic.  Source:  Associated Press.

via Bill Quigley: Haiti by the Numbers.


Art for Haiti by Ricardo Levins Morales

This poster is sold signed. Half of the proceeds goes to Partners in Health for earth quake relief. PIH is the grassroots organization established in Haiti by Dr. Paul Farmer. It is Haitian-led and provides direct assistance in Haitian communities without the costs of an administrative bureaucracy. [link]

Morales is a famous local printmaker and artist, whose work you may very well have seen previously.  He’s recently opened up a new operation, after the previous one with which he was affiliated closed its doors.


SOUNDING for Week Ending 1/15/2010


KI-Media consolidated a series of youtube clips from a French-language documentary film about the Khmer Republic under Lon Nol, from 1970-1975. Very worth checking out, especially if you can understand French. [link]

Whenever the topic of the Khmer Rouge comes up, you’re bound to hear someone impugn Noam Chomsky as a Khmer Rouge apologist. Here’s a new review of the evidence, which seems pretty evenhanded to me. Check it out. [link]

Milton Osborne wrote an essay on “The Mekong River Under Threat” for Asia-Pacific Journal, reprinted here in Japan Focus. Milton Osborne, “The Mekong River Under Threat,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, 2-2-10, January 11, 2010. [link]

Important statements from Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), on the reason why there were fewer labor actions in this last year:

The president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers stated that there were more than 100 demonstrations and strikes held by workers in 2009, but this number is less than in previous years. However, the decline in numbers is not due to better working conditions, but due to restrictions imposed by the government on demonstrations and strikes, especially due to suppression of workers movements by the local authorities. [Daem Ampil, translated by the Mirror. link]

Mony has also written to the US government asking for them to drop all export tariffs from Cambodian goods to the US. [link]

The International Republican Institute (IRI), rather infamous among those who pay attention, even rising to the level of international scrutiny during the US 2008 presidential election (McCain is a booster), declares that Cambodia’s government just keeps getting better. Read it here. [link]


Thich Nhat Hanh has finally spoken out forcefully, laying the blame for the violent evictions of students, monks, and nuns in Vietnam, upon mobs for hire at the command of the Vietnamese government. This is important; wait for more. [link]

Another positive review of Anne Hansen’s excellent book How To Behave, by Craig Reynolds. [link] I reviewed Hansen’s book previously for the Journal of Asian Studies, 67.3, pp. 1123-1127.


Of course, the biggest news of the week is the unimaginable devastation ongoing in Haiti. It’s unbearable. Please consider giving money to worthwhile organizations.  William Easterly, the most prominent critic of bad development aid and proponent of effective aid, has a blog called “Aid Watch.” Over there, Laura Freschi has published suggestions.  Please take a moment. [link] Avaaz has other good suggestions [link]. You might also read Anthroman’s reflections on Pat Robertson’s horrific comments.


Not that this is really news, but the World Food Program announced the other day that of all the world’s hungry people, three-quarters are the rural poor. [link]

I’m digging on the Middle Mekong Archaeological Project’s weblog. Check out these two posts: Guano and sacrificial pigs, and A family in every pot. The latter includes this awesome, death-related, photograph.

Oh yes, Google might stop helping the PRC censor its citizens. [link]


McCain and the IRI (International Republican Institute)

While this article is about the role of the IRI in Latin America, and presumptive Presidential Nominee John McCain’s important role in this organization, it is important to remember that the IRI works outside of Latin America – indeed, there is a very active IRI group in Cambodia.

Here are a few choice quotes from the article. Read the whole thing here. [via narconews]

Presidential hopeful John McCain is hiding a skeleton in his closet. Not your typical political scandal, Senator McCain’s dirty little secret is his longtime involvement with the International Republican Institute (IRI), an organization that operates in 60 countries and is budgeted by millions of US taxpayer dollars each year. The IRI is “officially” a politically independent entity, though in reality it is aligned in most respects with the Republican Party and its ideals. Senator McCain has been chairman of the IRI since 1993 and Lorne Craner, president of the organization, is one of the presumptive Republican candidate’s informal foreign policy advisors. If McCain’s involvement with the IRI does not worry Latin America yet, it certainly will if the policies that have had such a destructive influence in the past are backed by the power of the presidency. His connection to the IRI could endanger already stressed US-Latin American relations in the event of a McCain victory.

The IRI in Haiti Continue reading


US Ambassador Claims Cambodian Chams Receiving Massive Influx of Cash from "Outside Extremists"

Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli was in Washington, D.C. last week, where he described Cambodian Cham Muslims as a “very peaceful and tolerant group,” and then immediately went on to discuss the serious concerns he had regarding their potential radicalization from “outside extremists.” Reported in Voice of America: (via KI-Media)

A lot of money was coming into Cambodia’s Chams from groups spreading a violent, intolerant form of Islam, which have a lot of resources and are attracted to poor communities.

I thought of saying something snarky about this, such as identifying a few other groups which “have a lot of resources and are attracted to poor communities,” such as USAID. Instead, I’ll attempt to be more mature on this page: I asked my friend Alberto Perez-Pereiro, currently doing research in Cambodia on the Cham, to contribute a short piece in response to the Ambassador’s comments. His judicious and thoughtful piece is below; I think it deserves serious attention. Alberto begins after the jump: Continue reading


Bad timing in the resumption of military aid from the USA to Cambodia

Am I missing something? The logic of this donation – in which 31 used GMC cargo trucks will be given to the Cambodian military – escapes me.

The United States has not given direct military aid to any Cambodian armed force since the 1997 coup de force that installed Hun Sen as the sole political leader in the country. Why resume now, when the U.S. military is facing unbelievable costs and strain as it pursues its war in Ira*? Why resume aid to a regime which has shown no determination to reduce the illegal logging and landgrabs which are destroying the natural base (and thus, the economic base for upwards of eighty percent of the population) of the country?

Taken from Avon Hill Company

These trucks are more likely to be used to transport illegally cut and traded wood than for border security.


Go Read the LA Times Article on Burma's Continuing Catastrophe…

I was alerted to it by New Mandala, which in turn was made aware of it by a reader of theirs. That reader summed up the article nicely:

The article seems credible, the reporter pretty thorough, the LA Times fairly reputable. If the same content were on a rebellious blog site, it would be almost unbelievable, incomprehensible, but my opinion is that this reporter is working hard to report what is actually going on.

The article itself outdoes that description. There are references to attempts to glean the odd red chile pepper or onion out of mud stinking of corpses, and for comfortable computer users who dislike unnecessary drama, it can be appealing to assume that this is mostly emotional reportage. On the other hand, consider the level of devastation wrought by Nargis in Burma, compounded by Burma’s insane rulers and their refusal to allow people to help survivors directly, and the mounting public health crisis, and this seems thoroughly reasonable.

The article is also notable for reporting on the clandestine (and apparently rather effective) aid efforts organized by heroic monks. Here’s a relevant quote on that front, but please go read the original article here.: Continue reading