Haitian and U.N. officials on Tuesday said they planned this week to begin “decompressing” the capital of Port-au-Prince by removing rubble to make space for people to return to their homes or temporarily resettle, Reuters reports. “The ‘Debris Management Plan’ drawn up by experts from the United Nations, the United States and other countries with Haitian government officials marks the next big push by the international relief operation following major distributions of food, water and shelter materials to earthquake victims,” according to the news service.
Water and Sanitation
A Senate Foreign Relations Committee report, written by two Senate staffers, who just returned from Haiti where they assessed relief efforts, draws attention to “immediate shelter and sanitation concerns” and voices “concern about the coordination of Washington’s U.S. government response to Haiti,” Politico’s Laura Rozen writes on her blog. A link to the text of the report appears on Politico’s Web site.
The major earthquake in January in Haiti could have killed as many as 300,000 people, an estimate that includes bodies buried in the rubble, Haitian President Rene Preval said on Sunday at a meeting of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in Mexico, Reuters reports.
The U.N. on Thursday launched its “largest appeal following a natural disaster,” calling for $1.4 billion “to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation to 3 million Haitians throughout 2010,” Bloomberg/BusinessWeek reports (Varner, 2/18).
The rate of stillbirths was cut by more than 30 percent after health workers in rural parts of six developing countries were trained “in how to help a newborn start breathing and to keep it warm and clean,” according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Reuters reports. The trainees â€“ who included midwives, nurses, traditional birth attendants and physicians â€“ were given “hand-held pumps and masks to fill babies’ lungs with air if they were not breathing at birth, clean-delivery kits to prevent infection and scales to measure their weight,” the news service writes.
Agence France-Presse examines efforts to eradicate Guinea worm, a “painful water-borne parasite that can leave people weakened and sick for months every year” (2/17).
U.S. senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) departed Friday “for a trip to Africa,” the Associated Press/Chicago Tribune reports. The Senators “planned to visit Tanzania, Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan. They were expected to return to the United States on Feb. 19” (2/13).
A decreased need for troops has led the U.S. military to reduce its troops from a high of about 20,000 after the earthquake to 13,000, General Douglas Fraser said on Saturday, Agence France-Presse reports. Fraser also said the Haitian government was resuming control of the Port-au-Prince airport during daylight, according to the AFP.
Heavy rains hit earthquake survivors in tent camps in Port-au-Prince on Thursday, “bringing a warning of fresh misery to come for the 1 million people living on the streets,” Reuters reports. “While the rain could wash away some of the dust from the hundreds of collapsed structures in the stricken city, it could also worsen a fierce blight of mosquitoes,” according to Reuters, which reports that Haiti is struggling to get all the earthquake survivors out of make-shift tents and into more substantial shelters (Loney, 2/11).
Also In Global Health News: Pakistan IDPs; HIV And Herpes; Ending FGM; WFP Budget In Afghanistan; Cholera In PNG
U.N. Launches $538M Aid Appeal For Displaced Persons In Pakistan The U.N. launched an international appeal Tuesday, calling for $538 million to provide aid in Pakistan for “hundreds of thousands of people displace[d] by army clashes against the Taliban,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (Toosi, 2/9). Agence France-Presse writes: “The…