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As UNDP Brags of Debris Removal in Philippines, Failed in Haiti, Of Relocation

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- While the UN promotes its response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, including debris removal by the UN Development Program, Inner City Press on Monday asked UNDP's Haoliang Xu what the UN learned from its failures in cash for work debris removal after the earthquake in Haiti.

  Xu said he didn't know much about Haiti, but experts from Aceh were being sent to the Philippines. He spoke about recycling downed coconut trees.

  During the UN's last headquarters press conference about its response to the typhoon, Inner City Press asked UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs chief Valerie Amos about OCHA identifying as a constraint that "no legislative decision has yet been made on alternative re-settlement or re-location arrangements, or on response to movements of people."

  When Inner City Press asked the UNDP's Xu about this, he called it "sensitive" and said that a "Post Disaster Needs Assessment Exercise" would be finished by January, and used by the government in its future plans.

  On the debris removal, UNDP's Xu said workers will be vaccinated... for tetnus. UN Peacekeeping neither screened nor vaccinated for cholera the soldiers it brought to Haiti from Nepal.

Footnote: The automatic first questioner, Pamela Falk of CBS speaking for the United Nations Correspondents Association -- which some correspondents call the UN's Censorship Alliance -- mentioned cholera, but not Haiti. She was most fixated on tourism in the Philippines (one wonders if CBS will actually cover this, or it was just a question asked for the sake of demanding the first question).

   Xu to his credit said it is not the time for tourism in Tacloban. Tell it to the censors: this is their month of champagne. Watch this site.


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