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Haitians Forced Back to Rubble To Die,
Because of Obama Refusal To Act

Feb. 26, 2010 (EIRNS)—The Haitian government and relief agencies have been forced to adopt an unworkable policy because of President Obama's firm "no" to the proposal that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertake an immediate, emergency relocation of some one million Haitians from hundreds of unsanitary makeshift camps, into more elevated areas of Haiti before the rainy season arrives in April. Haitian officials are now telling people in the Port au Prince camps to pick up their bedsheets, plastic sheeting, or (for the lucky) their tents and tarps, and go set them up in the rubble-covered neighborhoods from which they had fled after the quake.

With rain falling last night (sending sewage streaming down streets and camps), and Haiti's first big rainstorm since the earthquake forecast for this weekend, pressure is building to "do something" about the camps. Associated Press reports today that relief officials are "delaying plans to build big refugee camps outside the capital," focusing instead on this return-to-neighborhood strategy, called "the big new strategy"by Mark Turner, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which plays a leading role in camp policy.

Gerald-Emile Brun, an architect with the government's reconstruction committee summed up the implications of this strategy to AP bluntly: "Everything has to be done before the start of the rainy season, and we will not be able to do it."

Residents of the 20,000 or so person Champs de Mars camp are being registered as a pilot project for the "return to nothing" strategy, because 45% of its residents came from one neighborhood (Turgeau). Yet, according to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Blackwell, who is involved in coordinating the plan, engineers have evaluated only 25% of that neighborhood to determine which houses are safe for return, and which have to be razed. For the latter, it is proposed that smaller camps of 50 or 100 tents can be set up. Blackwell estimates it will take at least until late March to sufficiently clear enough rubble to enable resettlement of merely that one camp—yet aftershocks of significant magnitude continue knocking down pieces of precarious structures in the city, the rains are coming on, and 1.2 million malnourished, shell-shocked people, tens of thousands of them wounded and most with dangerously-weakened immune systems, are living in crowded camps, the majority still without access to even latrines, or shelter from the weather.

The question raised by Lyndon LaRouche on Feb. 24 still stands: How many Haitians are going to have to die before it becomes obvious that Obama must be either impeached or forced to resign, under threat of impeachment?