PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI: A Haitian man holds the photo of his dead son at the GOC university ruins on January 19, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Humanitarian aid is beginning to reach many of the survivors of last week’s deadly magnitude 7.0 earthquake amid fatalities estimated in the tens of thousands and widespread devastation. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Miche Guerieri, 21, sits on a boat with her six-week-old baby after spending three days on a crowded ship off the coast of Port-au-Prince January 20, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Hundreds of displaced Haitians have taken refuge on ships in Haiti’s damaged port inlets, waiting for boats to help them escape from the squalid, earthquake-damaged capital.
Aid has started trickling out to Haitians devastated by last weeks earthquake that ravaged the country, though many fear not enough will reach desparate citizens in time to prevent humanitarian catastrophe. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images).
Haitians wait in line for the distribution of food by members of the 2nd brigade of the 82nd Airborne January 19, 2010 in the town of Terra Noire just outside Port-au-Prince.
Scenes in Haiti This Week
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI: Soldiers from the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division walk to a Navy helicopter to be dropped off to secure an area to drop in food and water supplies near the Cite Soleil area, as relief contiues to arrive after the massive earthquake January 18, 2010 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Planeloads of rescuers and relief supplies headed to Haiti as governments and aid agencies launched a massive relief operation after a powerful earthquake that may have killed thousands. Many buildings were reduced to rubble by the 7.0-strong quake on January 12. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images).
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – JANUARY 18: A U.S. Army soldier carries an injured child from a helicopter as she is brought in for care after being hurt during the massive earthquake.
Haitian-US citizens earthquake survivors waiting at the airport to leave Port-au-Prince return to USA, on January 17, 2010. The airport congestion also touched off diplomatic rows between the US military and other donor nations. France and Brazil both lodged official complaints that the US military, in control of the international airport, had denied landing permission to relief flights from their countries. Photo by Tolga Adanali/AA/ABACAPRESS.COM
Editor’s Note: Over recent days, there has been reported criticism from within Haiti, and formal complaints laid by France and Brazil, and its aid agencies, that the US soldiers were “occupying” Haiti, and not prioritising medical workers. Clearly, the US Military are providing medical aid, and other relief, on a scale we have never before witnessed. After the challenges with airport congestion in Haiti, and aid reportedly not reaching people in need, someone needed to step in, take control and ensure there was an orderly process in order at Haiti Airport. The Haitian Government, under the circumstances, were incapable of doing that. Good on the US Military for stepping in, and stepping on diplomatic and aid agency toes, to ensure aid reached people in need. Haitians were crying out for help. Now the US military are in Haiti, they’re now facing criticism for doing a job they were called on to do as part of the international effort. In case governments and aid agencies need reminding, the US military are responding , along with Mexico, France, Brazil, Israel and others, to a catastrophic crisis of devastating proportions. Give them a break .
Patients affected by the recent earthquake wait outside the Killick Haitian Coast Guard base clinic to receive treatment from U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard medical workers, January 16, 2010. (Candice Villarreal/US Navy News Photo/MCT).
Medical staff from the U.S. Navy, left, and U.S. Coast Guard, right, treat earthquake victims at the Killick Haitian Coast Guard base clinic in Haiti, January 16, 2010. (Candice Villarreal/US Navy News Photo/MCT).
Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Jason Harold of Goldsboro, North Carolina, transfers a young Haitian earthquake victim from an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter during a medical evacuation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Saturday, January 16, 2010. (Candice Villarreal/US Navy News Photo/MCT).
Dr. Sanjay Gupta examines an injured Haitian girl in the medical facility aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) near Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on January 18, 2010. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and reporter for the CNN news network, was brought to the ship to assist in performing brain surgery on a 12-year-old Hatian girl. UPI/Erin Oberholtzer/U.S. Navy.
Cmdr. Jerry Berman, left, a Navy surgeon, Dr. Henri R. Ford, Los Angles Pediatric Hospital Surgeon-in-Chief originally from Haiti, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a CNN medical correspondent and practicing neurosurgeon, and Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn Berndt, a Navy surgeon, prepare a 12-year-old Haitian girl with a severe head injury for surgery aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson near Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on January 18, 2010. Surgeons removed a piece of concrete from the child’s brain caused by the earthquake in Haiti. UPI/Michael Barton/U.S. Navy.
U.S. military members distribute food and water to Haitian citizens in Port-Au-Prince on January 17(UPI/US Navy)
A Haitian boy receives his meal-ready-to eat (MRE) and bottled water from U.S. military members that are distributing food and water at one of the distribution points in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 17(UPI/Laura A. Moore/US Navy)
A SH-60F Sea Hawk helicopter arrives to deliver water and supplies on January 15, 2010 to Port-au-Prince (UPI/Daniel Barker/U.S. Navy).
Sailors from the United States Navy deliver an injured U.S. citizen to USS Carl Vinson on Friday, January 15, 2010. Health Services department moved the man to one of the deck elevators for transfer to the ship’s medical facility. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing 17 are conducting humanitarian and disaster relief operations in Haiti in response to the January 12, 2010, earthquake disaster. (Adrian White/US Navy News Photo/MCT)
U.S. Army soldiers unload food and supplies on January 15, 2010 from a U.S. Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.(UPI/Candice B. Villarreal/U.S. Navy).
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (center right) meets with Haiti’s President Rene Preva (third from left) on Saturday(yesterday NZtime), January 16, 2010, to discuss conditions in the country following Tuesday’s deadly earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Julie Jacobson/AP/Pool/MCT)
Sun, 17 Jan 2010 21:38:47 -0600
Joint Communique of the Governments of the United States and Haiti
Office of the Spokesman
January 17, 2010
Issued at Port-au-Prince, Haiti
President René Préval of Haiti and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of the United States of America met in Port-au-Prince in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake of January 12, 2010 and its tragic aftermath, and issued the following joint communiqué: Read the rest of this entry »
A call for more volunteer builders, electricians, plumbers and drainlayers to head to Samoa. You are needed to join the teams in January 2010. These are two week work periods. For more information, contact Habitat for Humanity directly by clicking here
Habitat for Humanity New Zealand sent through the following photos to pacificEyeWitness.org yesterday afternoon. He says three homes are now complete and 10 under construction. Volunteer builders and tradespeople from New Zealand have been recruited by Habitat for Humanity NZ, who are project managing the Samoa Government’s rebuilding of tsunami-destroyed homes along the South Coast of Upolu.
The Government is paying for 90 percent of the costs with Habitat for Humanity NZ still needing more donations to help fund the remainder of the work they are doing. In addition to the Government rebuilding programme, church organisations in Samoa such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are rebuilding homes as well although they have not required the help of Habitat, or Government, to do that. They are independently financing the rebuilding of their member’s homes and chapels through Latter-day Saints member voluntary contributions from around the world, from what we understand.
Volunteers & Habitat for Humanity NZ
Thank you to David Lawson at Habitat for Humanity for sending these photos. Plus, a special thank you, and debt of gratitude to all New Zealanders – builders and tradespeople – and others alike (we understand a team from the Waikato Times newspaper have volunteered) who have, and will be, volunteering their time to rebuild Samoa and the Tongan island of Niuatoputapu.
All volunteers are staying in the Church Hall at the village of Lepa on the South Coast of Upolu. Local Samoans are taking care of all volunteer meals. We know that they will do everything they can, in the Samoan way, to take care of New Zealand’s builders and tradesperson, and make sure they are well fed after a long day’s work.
Fa’afetai tele lava.
This story is written by a young Samoan woman who survived Samoa’s tsunami. Because of its length, it will be posted as a three part series. When we first heard of this young woman’s experience, we contacted her to see if she would be willing to share her story with our readers, in her own words. Her name is Steph. Here’s an excerpt from what she wrote to us in which she stresses the need to hear other people’s stories:
Other stories are more miraculous than mine but I’m thankful I have somewhere to voice what happened where others cannot, and believe me, there are other stories from that disaster that I hopefully will be told to the world. God bless. Steph
In honour of all the dead, the victims, and survivors of Samoa and Tonga’s Tsunami.
By Steph Fa’amatala
This story is dedicated to Kenape the boy who held onto me.
My mother, my son and myself all travelled to Western Samoa on the 19th September 2009. We were heading to a village in Saanapu Tai on Upolu Island, where most of my mother’s family lived.
On the Tuesday 29th September 2009, between 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning, the earthquake struck. As the earth continued to tremble, my mother, my aunties, and all the elderly ladies were trying to get us kids out of bed, and out of the house, using those held samoan- made brooms, known as salu lima.
Photo frames were falling off the walls, flower necklaces, pictures, stereo and TV, all falling off. The computer fell off its table. Our suitcases fell off the tables it was on. Chairs were falling over backwards.
Us elder kids grabbed the little ones and tried to run out of the house. It was difficult as the ground was shaking so bad that you could not even walk straight. Everything was smashing all around us. The little ones were crying. The elders were screaming from outside to get out. The older boys were carrying the elderly up behind the houses and huts towards the hills and mountains. The little kids who were all dressed for school, were running up the hill, laughing, happy thinking, this is a game.
I grabbed my mother’s bag, and our passports, that were in our suitcases. I looked around and everyone was just standing around talking about what just happened. My mother and her sisters, were just telling us to run for the hills and to get away from the houses.
We started moving towards the hills but the majority of the villagers were still standing around wondering what happened … ( as Samoans sometimes do,) when the minister drove past in his car in a hurry and screamed that a tsunami was coming.
Everyone was for their own self after that. We were running but it was hard to run up the hill. I was wearing se’evae kosokoso (sandals), and the grass was high, the bushes were thick, the trees and shrubs were sharp but the loud explosion was what kept us going. It was an explosion like a bomb had been set off. Then there was a noise like a rushing sound only louder. Little did we know, as we were rushing up that hill, that the sound was the waves coming towards us.
Someone pushes me upwards and forwards. I’m pushing a neighbour’s child up the hill and pulling my cousin with me. I look far up ahead and see my mother crying and looking out towards the ocean behind me. I hear children screaming. The older boys are yelling:
Faakope le kamo’e la ua sau le galu! (“Run faster the wave is coming!”), kamomo’e! (“Run”).
I turn quickly only to see the house that we slept in half an hour before look so tiny against the big waves. It was a sight that i’ll never forget for the rest of my life. I look towards the bottom of the hill. There are still people coming…I knew that they might not make it.
I prayed and I cried. I knew what was coming and that some of us might not make it. I was shocked.
I see a man hold a woman to a tree and then throws himself around her and pushes her into the tree. I see men holding onto each other and holding onto fences that were the entrance to the hill. I knew I had to run but I couldn’t stop watching.
Someone slaps me on the head and screams, Aikae Kamoe! (S***t, run!”). It was my older cousin. He had already taken the kids off me and had ran straight pass me. I don’t remember much after that, but I knew that I had just keep going.
HONIARA, SOLOMAN ISLANDS: Burned out buildings in Chinatown are shown following rioting and looting April 20, 2006 in the Solomon Islands Capital of Honiara. Rioters angered by the election of the unpopular Snyder Rini as prime minister attacked police and plundered parts of Chinatown in response. One hundred and eighty Australian soldiers and police arrived in the capital to quell the protests. (Photo by Ross Land/Getty Images)
Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ
Solomon Islands: Time to end safe haven for crimes under international law
Amnesty International has today launched Solomon Islands: End Impunity Through Universal Jurisdiction, the first paper of the No Safe Haven Series covering a country in the Pacific and the first to analyse a common law legal system.
The paper evaluates whether Solomon Islands has met its obligations as a member of the international community to define crimes under international law as crimes under national law and to provide effective universal criminal and civil jurisdiction over those crimes. The paper also examines whether Solomon Islands is able to cooperate – subject to human rights safeguards – with other states in the extradition of those suspected of such crimes and in the exchange of information to assist other states which are investigating or prosecuting them.
Solomon Islands’ courts can exercise universal criminal jurisdiction over grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. However, Solomon Islands has failed to define the most heinous crimes, such as crimes against humanity, war crimes (other than grave breaches), torture, extrajudicial executions or enforced disappearances as crimes under national law. Amnesty International is deeply concerned that Solomon Islands is, therefore, currently a safe haven from prosecution in its courts for foreigners who are responsible for these crimes (committed abroad against other foreigners).
A second series of concerns pertains to extradition. Amnesty International regrets that the Solomon Islands is also a safe haven from extradition to any country for foreigners who are responsible for genocide, war crimes, torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances committed abroad, as none of these crimes are listed as extradition crimes. In addition, such persons cannot be arrested and surrendered to the International Criminal Court or any other international criminal court.
Furthermore, no legislation authorises Solomon Islands to exercise universal civil jurisdiction, which means that it is unable to fulfil its obligations to provide full reparation for victims of crimes under international law.
Amnesty International is submitting this report to the Solomon Islands Law Reform Commission, urging it to take into account its detailed recommendations for law reform so that the country can fulfil its obligations under international law and rightly be at the frontline in the fight against impunity for the worst imaginable crimes.
This paper is the sixth in a series on each of the 192 member states of the United Nations, designed to help lawyers, victims, and their families identify countries where people suspected of committing crimes under international law might be effectively prosecuted and required to provide full reparations through universal jurisdiction.
Each paper also provides clear recommendations on how the government concerned can bring its national law into line with international law. The series aims to ensure that no safe haven exists anywhere in the world for those responsible for crimes against the entire international community.
To read the paper, Solomon Islands: End Impunity Through Universal Jurisdiction, please visit www.amnesty.org.nz/news/solomon-islands-time-end-safe-haven-crimes-under-international-law
Celebrate International Human Rights Day (10 Dec) with us!
Visit http://www.amnesty.org.nz to find out how
APIA, SAMOA – OCTOBER 02: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key speaks with tourists at the Sinalei Resort near the village of Maninoa following on October 2, 2009 in Apia, Samoa. The 8.3 magnitude strong earthquake struck 200km from Samoa’s capital Apia on Tuesday, triggering a tsunami wave across areas of the island. Clean-up efforts have been hampered by a further quake measuring 6.3 which struck yesterday 85 kilometres south-east of Tonga. The official death toll across the Islands stands at 149. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images). Content © 2009 Getty Images All rights reserved.
The latest report from Samoa Government shows New Zealand $4 million donation to Samoa post tsunami is intended for the redevelopment of tourist resorts damaged in the tsunami of Tuesday 29th September 2009.
Other help and aid provided to Samoa Government by New Zealand Government:
- Budget support assistance, post-tsunami, of $5 million (AUD?).
- Official development assistance increased to $14 million for this year. (Another rise in the next two years of $15 (NZ) million and $17 (NZ) million dollars respectively.)
- Assistance of NZ$1 million to sustain the Air New Zealand flights to Los Angeles.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi also report on the progress of the tsunami rebuilding process and cost estimates for work that needs to be done. Minister of Works also explained in detail the current situation of the tsunami rebuilding phase and forthcoming works.
Appreciation to New Zealand Defence Forces
The Minister also thanked New Zealand’s Defence Force for their service in saving lives and conducting aerial surveys for tsunami rebuilding-development plans.
Other issues discussed included:
- Discussions on the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme, and to emphasize the importance of this scheme in providing employment for Samoans,
- Ocean surveillance for fishing between Samoa and New Zealand and other Pacific countries,
- Export of Samoa’s produces to New Zealand,
- Security work that include Police and the Office of the Attorney General,
- Corresponding in education, scientific research, environment and natural resources, and
- Corresponding between Samoa and New Zealand through their Ministries of Women and Social Developments
These issues have already been approved in the JMC and will be forwarded to offices of the two countries for implementation to further reflect good relations between Samoa and New Zealand.
Samoa’s delegation also visited a shop at Greenlane which sells the organic lady’s finger bananas (misiluki) imported to New Zealand with assistance from the Women in Business organization and Samoa Commission of Trade in New Zealand.
A special Church service in memory of the New Zealanders who died in the tsunami and also to honor all the tsunami victims was held in Auckland after the JMC meeting. Prime Minister Tuilaepa presented a wreath on behalf of the Samoan people during the service. Also attending the service were the Prime Minister of Tonga, Members of the Royal family and representatives from American Samoa and the United States of America.
Heading Samoa’s delegation was Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi which include the Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Afioga Tuisugaletaua Sofara Aveau; Minister of Women Community and Social Development, Afioga Fiame Naomi; Samoa’s Consular in Auckland, Afioga Asi Tuiataga Blakelock; Consular of Trade, MPMC Chief Executive Officer Susuga Vaosa Epa, MNRE Chief Executive Officer Afioga Taulealeausumai Laavasa Malua and Foreign Affairs CEO Afioga Aiono Mose Sua.
Source: Government of Samoa, Press Secretariat
Photos taken by Malia Tu’ai Manuleleua and Pastor Ron Westwood
Along the South Coast of Upolu, on Tuesday 29th September 2009, over 140 people lost their lives, over 300 injured, crops ruined, villages, schools, clinics, fales and some resorts destroyed leaving thousands homeless, hungry and destitute after an 8.3 earthquake triggered a destructive tsunami. American Samoa and Niutoputapu lost over 40 lives.
PEW writer Malia Tua’i Manuleleua recently returned from Samoa after volunteering with the Psycho-Social Response teams working in tsunami-affected villages along the South Coast of Upolu. One of about 70 or so local and overseas volunteers, Malia was part of a team assessing the physical, spiritual and mental health needs of individuals and families affected.
They worked in the villages of Ti’avea Tai, Vaovai and Saleaumua. Other team members: Ruta Sinclair, Team Leader and local volunteer; Pastor Ron Westbrook, Assembly of God, Australia; David Lui (NZ), and Peone Afamasaga (Samoa). They identified those who required counselling and further specialist services. Other teams visited families in all the affected villages along the southern-west and east coastline from Siumu, Falealili to Aleipata including the small island of Manono.
In the photos are a mix of volunteers working on the South Coast of Upolu, including an Air New Zealand pilot(he’s wearing a black T-shirt with white koru design), who volunteered during his rest break.
There are also photos of the following: local staff at Samoa’s National Hospital in the ward of tsunami survivors; staff at Disaster Management Office showing crops and checking through goods received and distributed; Village of Saleaaumua: Malia interviewing an elederly gentleman on his needs; a picture of a swamp where five people lost their lives; a village mechanic and his boys helping a stranger/volunteer to get his car back on the road after the axle broke.