US troops have descended by helicopter to take control of Haiti's ruined presidential palace as the earthquake relief operation intensifies. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/7028714/Haiti-earthquake-US-troops-take-control-of-presidential-palace-in-Port-au-Prince.html
Haitians at the Presidential Palace's fence. From Telegraph.co.UK
Haitians are complaining about Americans; US troops showing themselves occupying the devastated Presidential Palace produce a feeling of invasion. Comments are like these:
"I haven't seen the Americans in the streets giving out water and food, but now they come to the palace," said one man, as some of the homeless living rough in the Champ de Mars square before the palace shouted abuse”.
"It's an occupation. The palace is our power, our face, our pride," said another”.
While the tense situation in the aftermath of the severe earthquake is spiralling into violence, thousands of Haitians are staying in camps, living in cities of tents, and thousands of those who feel USA as the enemy, are trying to massively migrate to this country. It reminded me this joke about Mexicans “Yankees go home but take me with you!”, but this situation has nothing of a joke. It’s a desperate situation and maybe a convenient solution for Haitians’ relocation could be found. To offer the African land, or even other land in Haiti, wouldn’t be enough if there is no infrastructure, no jobs, no food, no sanitary conditions, to begin with; and a massive immigration to US or any other country could be disturbing and destabilizing. Consider the impact it would provoke….
The two excerpts below are showing the two sides of the same coin. The following pictures are from http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/01/earthquake_in_haiti.html
The Fire Department of Los Angeles County urban search and rescue team loads equipment in Pacoima. The team would be travelling to Haiti to help with rescue efforts.
Haiti to relocate 400,000 quake homeless
Times of India. AP, 22 January 2010, 10:37am IST
Haiti: Within days, the government will move 400,000 people made homeless by Haiti's epic earthquake from their squalid improvised camps throughout the shattered capital to new resettlement areas on the outskirts, a top Haitian official said.
``The Champ de Mars is no place for 1,000 or 10,000 people,'' Longchamp told The Associated Press. ``They are going to be going to places where they will have at least some adequate facilities.''
He said buses would start moving people within a week to 10 days, once new camps are ready. Brazilian U.N. peacekeepers were already leveling land in the suburb of Croix des Bouquets for a new tent city, ….
The hundreds of thousands whose homes were destroyed in the Jan. 12 quake had settled in more than 200 open spaces around the city, the lucky ones securing tents for their families, but most living under the tropical sun on blankets, on plastic sheets or under tarpaulins strung between tree limbs. …….
Offshore, the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort was reinforcing its crew to 800 doctors, nurses and medical technicians, increasing its hospital beds to almost 1,000, and boosting its operating rooms from six to 11 in the next few days, the Navy said”
Haiti earthquake: US ships blockade coast to thwart exodus to America
By Bruno Waterfield
Published: 8:53PM GMT 19 Jan 2010
“US officials have drawn up emergency plans to cope with a mass migration crisis and have cleared spaces in detention or reception centres, including the Navy base at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay.
The unprecedented air, land and sea operation, dubbed "Vigilant Sentry", was launched as a senior US official compared Haiti's destruction to the aftermath of nuclear warfare.
"It is the same as if an atomic bomb had been exploded," said Kenneth Merten, America's ambassador to Port-au-Prince, as officials estimated the numbers of those killed by last weeks earthquake to over 200,000.
As well as providing emergency supplies and medical aid, the USS Carl Vinson, along with a ring of other navy and coast guard vessels, is acting as a deterrent to Haitians who might be driven to make the 681 mile sea crossing to Miami.
"The goal is to interdict them at sea and repatriate them," said the US Coast Guard Commander Christopher O'Neil……
In response to America's closed door, Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal's President, has offered Haitian descendants of African slaves the chance to resettle in "the land of their ancestors" and offered them plots of land.
"Africa should offer Haitians the chance to return home. It is their right," he said.
US Homeland Security officials said hundreds of immigration detainees have been moved from a South Florida detention centre to clear space for a first wave of Haitians expected to reach America's shores.
The plans, first drawn up in 2003, are aimed at avoiding a repeat of previous Haitian refugee influxes in the 1990s and the "Mariel boatlift" when as many as 125,000 Cubans fled to the US 30 years ago.
In 2004, following political upheaval in Haiti over 3,000 Haitians were stopped attempting to reach America and officials are braced for greater numbers following the worst natural disaster in the region for 200 years…..
Dieumetra Sainmerita, the manager of Port-au-Prince's main bus terminal, said people were selling whatever they had left of value to buy tickets out of the city.
"First there were the people who lost their houses. Then there were people who lost relatives. Now the people I see, they are afraid of the thieves trying to steal from them in the night," he said”.