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GEO Haiti 2010 State of the Environment Report

GEO Haiti 2010 State of the Environment ReportThe GEO Haiti 2010 Report assesses the state of the country's natural resources and the problems encountered in trying to preserve them from the uncontrolled urban development of the main towns and an excessive use of resources without the necessary protection and security measures. This report aims first to educate the general public, seemingly ill-informed of the natural phenomena which frequently strike the country, including how to adequately prepare for them. Similarly, the weak level of response by the governmental institutions responsible for intervening in such situations increases the country's vulnerability to natural disasters. Experience in regard to natural disasters over the past years has clearly demonstrated the fundamental importance of effective coordination and management of emergency services during critical situations (fire department, hospitals, police), at the national, regional and local levels. The environmental challenges that Haiti must now overcome are tremendous. The central problem with respect to environmental conservation and quality of life relates to the current sources of energy: the use of firewood and charcoal versus the preservation of the few remaining forests and water resources. Another serious problem is the quality of surface and aquifer water that has been compromised by deforestation and soil contamination due to solid and liquid waste and lack ofadequate sanitary structures. Poor environmental conservation and protection, whether of coastal marine resources, water resources or biodiversity, is an issue which should be quickly dealt with and resolved by the relevant authorities. These issues have undeniable repercussions on the health and quality of life of the population. Haiti is currently rebuilding vast areas affected by the January 12, 2010 earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks. In light of these efforts, and against the current background, we hope the GEO Haiti 2010 Report can, in addition to offer information, also support the work of environmental policy decision-makers as well as of those who, in one way or another, will have to restructure urban areas. Measures must be immediately implemented as to enable a better monitoring and response to disasters. Although such measures may not prevent natural disasters, they may at least prevent the wide-scale level of the human and material losses caused by the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

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