Monday, February 14, 2011

Haiti: One year later

A BROKEN COUNTRY -The unsettled political situation and sinking economic vitality, exacerbated by the U. S. embargo since autumn 1991, has left Haiti in disarray.
- Public transportation is unreliable, and although seemingly chaotic to people experienced with modern mass-transit, the brightly colored jitneys or tap-taps (buses) work well enough to service Haiti's limited infrastructure.
- Roads throughout the nation are in disrepair to the extent that vehicles cannot negotiate the potholes without suffering damage to tires and suspension, and the embargo has ensured that repair parts are out of reach.
- While there are no apparent cases of starvation, there is malnutrition, and deaths among the very young can be traced to sanitation, diet, and a lack of available medical care and pharmaceutical products.

- - The Pan-American Health Organization, a branch of the World Health Organization, released a study in March 1991 stating that one in 10 pregnant women in Haiti is now found to be infected with the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) virus.
- About 10 percent of Haiti's population (over half a million people) suffers from tuberculosis. Syphilis, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis, typhoid fever, malaria, and acute diarrheal disease are endemic in the population. There is no viable medical infrastructure to provide care on a nationwide basis, though 38 air miles north of Port-au-Prince provide help to local people.

- Haiti had an unemployment rate of 60 percent. It has been estimated that 90 percent of the population lives on less than $100 a year.

- There have been some increases in air and surface drug shipments to Haiti since the Aristide coup.

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