Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti Update 4--Security Round-up--new video added

For the mostly-good-but-absolutely-true news, check the Big Picture blog entry for Haiti, ten days in. Forty-six photos show a range of human emotion on Haiti's people and their caregivers. Nearly every photo depicts a human being who has their humanity back, full force.

It's impossible to evaluate security measures completely without access to Command Centers somewhere. But this round-up of articles may give a sense of the challenges and victories, holding actions and improvements. This picture is of a security guard on Jan 19th or thereabouts, someone attempting to keep order. (Reuters/London Telegraph)

January 19, 2010
The Telegraph reports that Haitian police have conceded that they've lost control of security, particularly in the waterfront slum Cite' Soleil. Rescue workers have been attacked, which probably means that rescue work is suspended in that area.
Police officers, whose limited success against slum gang lords has been based on the support of armoured UN troops, have now effectively given up by appealing to local vigilantes to take the law into their own hands.
"If you don't kill the criminals, they will all come back," Haitian police officers announce over loudspeakers from heavily armed checkpoints in the slum area.
Residents say that people have been killed and several women raped in a turf war between gangsters nicknamed "Belony" and "Bled" in the six days following the earthquake which destroyed the prison.

CNN similarly reports that the Haiti police are ill-equipped., with looting everywhere. Also according to CNN on January 19, (substantive article) the UN Security Council would be asked to approve another 2,000 soldiers and 1500 police officers into Haiti. The word is "quickly" rather than an actual date. Logistics again play a factor, and also diplomatic wrangling about who's going when, but still a good move.

January 20, 2010
Apparently the appeal to vigilantism was answered with vigilante enforcement within several areas. Former gang leaders and others have been executed without trial. From the Guardian. Several vigilante groups have blockaded neighborhoods in an attempt to keep order.

January 21, 2010
The Washington Post reports seven police officers  from Prince George's County, Maryland, will deploy to Haiti. All are of Haitian descent, who will know the language. Godspeed to them.

Orphanages have been attacked, and food stolen, at CNN.

January 22, 2010
The BBC headline "Haiti police appeal for help over escaped prisoners' makes it sound like the police are utterly overwhelmed, but further down in the article, BBC notes 'vast majority is calm' and 'sporadic violence in the historically troubled Cite' Soleil area.' So it sounds like definite progress. Here is a video, from,  that shows calm among the debris:

This video, however, displays the difficulties attendant with that 'sporadic violence':

**Canadian RCMP volunteers seek to replace their two officers fallen in Haiti. This is a wonderful article, because it includes part of Sgt. Mark Gallagher's assessment of Haitian crime and policing Before the Quake. From the Toronto Star: if you read nothing else, this article will be worth it.

This video shows great footage of the peacekeepers from China, and a great deal about how it looks from the inside of an armored vehicle--now preferred. Note: the introduction reads twice in this video before you get to the actual story.

January 23, 2010
Increased security is going to facilitate every other kind of security there is. For instance:
from the Wall Street Journal: Haitians regain access to cash. The banks are full of soldiers and private security, but you can now buy instead of steal or barter. A huge step forward, for this grim and terrible trouble.  Many thanks to our security providers everywhere.

From Big Picture Blog, linked above.

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