A Haitian crisis may be coming which will test the resolve of foreign donors, according to relief workers. While money has poured into the earthquake-devastated country, the Haitian government is unable to govern many parts of the country. While American troops have set up a food distribution network, 75% of Haitian schools in Port-au-Prince have been destroyed and none of them are operating. The earthquake caused enough damage “to fill the Superdome five times,” according to U.S. Army Colonel Rick Kaiser, the head of the food distribution network. The good news is that after three weeks, the U.N. World Food Programme has finally been able to deliver rice to the countryside. Relief workers hope that once the crisis becomes back page news, it will not be forgotten.
This week the number of U.S. troops serving in Haiti to support humanitarian efforts increased from 2,600 to 4,600. The dominant American presence in Haiti has not come without controversy. The French Cooperation minister criticized the United States for taking control of the extremely congested airport, which was forced to turn away a French aid flight last week. Additionally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has accused the United States of occupying Haiti.
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday that a new humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis will be implemented immediately. Three key groups will be targeted during the policy:
- Children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti and are being adopted by U.S. citizens.
- Children who have been previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents.
- Under applicable laws, unaccompanied minors entering the country without a parent or legal guardian are subject to special procedures regarding their custody and care. DHS coordinates with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement on the cases of these unaccompanied minors.
DHS is encouraging U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti to send detailed information about their cases to HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov.
For more information, see the Press Release.