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IANS/Sify News Reports On International Aid Response To Haitian, Pakistani Disasters

“Nearly 260,000 people died in earthquakes, floods, typhoons, heatwaves, fires and landslides in 2010 – the worst toll since 1976 – compared with 15,000 last year, according to reinsurance company Swiss Re. Haiti and Pakistan stood out because of the massive death toll and millions of homeless, and the extent to which both countries tested the limits of international aid. In both countries, the collapsed infrastructure will take decades to rebuild, and the disasters likely set back development gains for generations,” IANS/Sify News writes in an article examining the fall out from the disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.

The article looks at the damage to the economies in Haiti and Pakistan, writing: “The damaged infrastructures in Pakistan and Haiti will be the main barriers to long-term economic growth, poverty reduction and stability, aid agencies say.” According to the news service, Haiti lost $7.8 billion representing 119 percent of its GDP and Pakistan lost $9.7 billion or 5.8 percent of its GDP.

Elizabeth Ferris of the Bookings Institution points out even though the severity of natural disasters is getting worse, the “reality is that the international humanitarian system is not prepared to cope with more than one large-scale disaster a year.” The article also provides an overview of why the international community has responded differently to the situations in Pakistan and Haiti (12/23).

USA Today Examines Rape In Haiti’s Tent Camps

“Rape was already a serious problem in Haiti even before the earthquake. The United Nations reported in 2008 that almost half of the girls and young women living in slums like Cite Soleil and Martissant had been raped. Since the earthquake the situation for women has gotten even worse, rights groups say. Rapes have gone up threefold in Port-au-Prince, according to Refugees International,” according to USA Today.

“Women and advocates say that the police typically ignore or shame women when they report attacks, so many rape victims choose not to,” the newspaper writes. The article also looks at how MINUSTAH, the U.N. peacekeeping agency in Haiti, is working with local police to improve the response to rape (Armstrong, 12/23).

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