Odious debts and global responsibilities. Haiti’s example shows how foreign debt can lead a defenceless population into a catastrophe

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From time to time catastrophes remind us of the dangers lurking along the uncertain paths of historical development. Such was the case with the banking crisis which made the destructive potential of neoliberalism clear for all to see. This is also the case with the Haitian earthquake which left 250,000 dead and 1.5 million homeless. At this point we should not be talking about global responsibilities in the abstract, we should be naming the responsible parties. Catastrophes – even those unleashed by natural causes – always have a “man-made” component. Danger does not reside in the floods per se, nor in the earthquakes or typhoons alone; rather danger emerges from the interaction of these natural phenomena with each person’s respective vulnerability.



Haiti: Between Emergency and Reconstruction. An inadequate response

This led paper written by Jean-Marc Biquet (Médecin sans Frontières, MSF), is followed by reactions and analysis from Andrea Binder (Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin). Despite repeated requests to – and commitments from – the UN (UNOCHA in particular) to provide a response, we did unfortunately not get any written reaction to MSF’s article.

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What do Haitians need after the earthquake?

The earthquake that hit Haiti in the beginning of 2010 led to tremendous international solidarity in the recovery effort. Despite the tons of aid sent to Haiti, relatively little is known about the effectiveness of the aid or about the continuing needs of the Haitians. Using data collected from in-person surveys with over 1,000 Haitians, we sought to quantify some of the impacts of the earthquake while determining people’s relative preferences for food and other basic needs in the aftermath of the Haiti’s earthquake.

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