Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake: "Our country is destroyed, we have nothing left."

Jean-Claude Bordes at FCCJ Tokyo: "Some friends told me: Forget it, you don't have a country any more."

✍ Haiti or a fatality.

Haiti is one of the poorest country in the world. 80% of Haiti population lives with less than 2 $ a day 50% with less than 1 $ a day in extreme poverty. What does the world wait for not only helping Haiti but also to develop the nation. Today' s emotion requires a lot of mobilization. Policies, national and international, have failed about Haiti and it is time to show responsibilities. Since 2006, Haiti is living under a democratic power after the revolution liberating from dictators as the Duvalier and Aristide. In spite of colonialism and dictators, the situation in Haiti remains one of the most crucial challenge to world "bonne conscience". The issue now is: will Haiti people able to manage the aid, massive, provided by international aid. Haiti is a country where rules seem not existing and where corruption is pandemic. About the seism: everyone knew that Haiti is on a seismic fault but nothing had been respected for construction to protect lives and the nations citizens. Corruption here too killed people. Haiti policies making is not independent because there reigns a lack of trust and Port au prince has to take her destiny in her hands as her neighboring nations did. The major question about Haiti now is to know what will happen after the "aid circus", how will Haiti be reborn if ever and what will new governance be?

Haiti's actin Ambassador in Japan Jean-Claude Bordes mourned for a city he learned had been "totally destroyed" by the quake. "The conversations I had on the phone were not too long. I just heard screams. Our country is destroyed, we have nothing left. It's God will, we have to accept it," he told us today at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Haitian acting Ambassador to Japan Jean-Claude Bordes told reporters at the FCCJ press conference in Tokyo that there is a need for relief supplies and emergency aid from Japan to help the Caribbean country. Bordes said while he has not gotten any official information from the Haiti government, relief supplies are urgently needed, such as medicine, medical assistance, rescuers and above all clean water. "It's like when a bomb is's flattened," Bordes said, describing the situation in Haiti where electricity and telephone communications have broken down, and the severity of the disaster has yet to be fully measured while expressing hope the nation will be able to rebuild, and that something will be born from the debris.

The Hatoyama government dispatched a team the same day to examine the local situation with an eye toward offering further medical support. Tokyo will immediately implement the $5 million relief in cooperation with international organizations such as the U.N. Children's Fund and the U.N. World Food Program, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said at a press conference.

Speaking to reporters in the evening, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama offered his condolences to the victims and expressed hope that missing people would be rescued quickly. Japan sent the inspection team "to determine as soon as possible what Japan can do to help the country," he said. "We will make utmost efforts to help save the lives of people in Haiti in cooperation with other countries worldwide." The team is being led by Japanese acting Ambassador to Haiti Nobutaka Shinomiya and comprises officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency among other entities.

Also from the Asia-Pacific region, Australia pledged $9m while Taiwan, whose ambassador to Haiti was hurt, South Korea and New Zealand also offered aid. Japan, well used to quakes, pledged five million dollars and offered tents and rescuers. (Sources Reporter's notes, agencies)

✍ I moderated this event at FCCJ and as I had noticed in Kobe 15 years ago it is obvious and urgent to understand that the main issue, as the acting Ambassador JC Bordes confirmed, is about the logistics and the coordination with a duty of a very quick reaction within 48 hours to save as much people as possible, then to handle the tragic gathering of dead victims to avoid epidemic. Needless to say that JC Bordes often had tears in the eyes while addressing today the press who offers their condolences to the Haiti 40 years experienced diplomat. Jlk

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