Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Security Situation III

The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005.

...The rhetoric from Washington has been very different during these two disasters, but the outcome may be much the same. In both cases very little aid arrived at the time it was most needed and, in the case of Port-au-Prince, when people trapped under collapsed buildings were still alive. When foreign rescue teams with heavy lifting gear does come it will be too late. No wonder enraged Haitians are building roadblocks out of rocks and dead bodies.

In New Orleans and Port-au-Prince there is the same official terror of looting by local people, so the first outside help to arrive is in the shape of armed troops. The US currently has 3,500 soldiers, 2,200 marines and 300 medical personnel on their way to Haiti.

Patrick Cockburn in the Independent, which also reports:

Haitian authorities are rounding up troublemakers to prevent sporadic looting from turning into wider violence in the aftermath of the Caribbean nation's devastating earthquake, a senior security official said.

"There have been some attempts to make trouble. There are thieves coming out," Haitian police inspector-general Jean-Yonel Trecile told Reuters late yesterday.

"To make sure this does not spread, we have taken a number of these people off the streets. We have arrested about 50 people. I hope now we will stay peaceful."

Shooting has broken out several times in downtown Port-au-Prince, witnesses say, since Tuesday's earthquake, killing tens of thousands of people.

Some refugees, in makeshift camps all over the coastal capital, say thieves are preying on their meager possessions, while looters have been carrying goods out of a few shops.

But Haiti's feared gangs do not appear to be terrorizing the streets as they have in the past, locals say. The desperation of the homeless and hungry also has so far not turned into mass protests or ransackings, although many worry that may still happen.


  1. Blackwater has that security situation taken care of, though:

  2. they could just kill tens of thousands of people now and nobody will count, nobody will know it wasn't the quake and the well intentioned bungling and delays from that overwhelmed airport traffic jam. they deny people water so the population cannot resist at all, can indeed scarcely move.