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Cablegate: Tfha01: Embassy Port Au Prince Earthquake Sitrep As of 1800,

VZCZCXYZ0022
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPU #0102/01 0291346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291344Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0285
INFO HAITI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE

UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000102

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO MARR PREL PINR AMGT HA PGOV AID
EAID
SUBJECT: TFHA01: EMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE EARTHQUAKE SITREP as of 1800,
Day 15

1. (SBU) Summary: US and UN representatives continue to keep the
Government of Haiti (GOH) apprised of coordinated relief efforts.
President Preval publicly announced that he will not seek to extend
his presidency beyond the scheduled end of his term. Despite
significant personnel losses, the Haitian National Police and local
banks slowly begin to resume business, and the GOH aims to meet
payroll for all civil servants with its own funds for now. End
summary.

RELIEF COORDINATION UPDATE PRESENTED TO GOH

2. (SBU) On January 27, Ambassador Merten, JTF Commander LTG
Keen, Unified Relief Coordinator Ambassador Lewis Lucke, and
acting UN Special Representative Tony Banbury met to brief
President Preval and PM Bellerive on progress of JTF and UN efforts
to provide food and shelter. The goal was to provide relief supply
info to the GOH that was reliable, explain the plans for future
supply efforts (food surge), explain plans to repair the damaged
seaport, and demonstrate an integrated UN/US effort. President
Preval approved dividing the airport landing slots by category of
organization. He asked repeatedly about tent supplies, saying
explicitly that he has no confidence in the NGO and UN numbers, and
by implication, no confidence in their capacity to deliver. He
also raised again bringing in prefab school rooms from Broward
County with JTF assistance. He agreed to regular joint UN/US
coordination briefings and proposed once a week for 3-4 weeks, and
once a month thereafter. The UN and US representatives held a
joint press conference with the Prime Minister outside the GOH
building after the meeting. Preval came out of the building
halfway through the formal press conference and met the local press
off to one side for the first interview he has given to the local
press since the earthquake.

PREVAL SAYS WILL NOT EXTEND MANDATE

3. (SBU) Speaking on local radio on January 28 for the first time
since the earthquake, President Preval said that he had no
intention to remain as president after the end of his term in
February 2011. He did not specify, however, when parliamentary and
presidential elections would be held. Meanwhile, there are
increasing reports of small demonstrations against Preval and in
support of the US presence in Haiti, including motorcycle taxis
carrying US flags in the southern city of Les Cayes.

NATIONAL POLICE AND GOH PAYROLL

4. (SBU) Mario Andresol, Director General of the Haitian National
Police, announced that seventy police officers died in the
earthquake, and 491 remain missing. The Police continue to return
to the streets of the capital, directing traffic. Meanwhile,
according to Canadian Embassy contacts, verbal orders were
allegedly given by police leadership to shoot escaped prisoners on
sight. United Nations Civilian Police officers close to prison
authorities reported hearing unconfirmed reports of instances of
extra-judicial killings of presumed criminals by the police.

5. (SBU) The new MINUSTAH Police Commissioner, General Chaumont,
met with Prime Minister Bellerive on January 27 and confirmed that
the GOH will meet its January payroll, including for the police.
According to Bellerive, the payment checks are currently being
printed, and he does not foresee major difficulties. According to
police sources, paychecks were supposed to be delivered today, but
have not arrived.

6. (SBU) The Governor and Chief Internal Auditor of the Central
Bank have both repeatedly reassured EmbOff that re-establishing
payroll for civil servants remains a priority and is currently
within the means of GOH reserves. The Central Bank has also
offered the use of its armored vehicles to transport funds between
bank branches.

FINANCIAL SERVICES ATTEMPT TO REGAIN FOOTING

5. (SBU) Maxime Charles, President of the Haitian Bankers'
Association told EmbOffs on January 27 that the Central Bank, with
the help of MINUSTAH, is supplying funds to bank branches in
provinces. According to Charles, about 20 bank branches in
Port-au-Prince were destroyed or are not functional; however, other
sources estimate the number at more than 30. Charles noted the
importance of negotiating a loan guarantee fund with local banks to
absorb collateral and reserve requirements. The exchange rate for
USD is stable at purchase price of HTG 39 to USD 1, and sale price
of HTG 41.50 to USD 1. Commercial banks are conducting foreign
exchange transactions, but in small amounts. Money transfer houses
are functioning, with long lines of customers, but less than in
previous days. C.A.M. Transfer, one of the largest local transfer
houses, has provided funds for five branches in Port-au-Prince, and
has resumed regular business hours.

GOH COUNTS PERSONNEL LOSSES

6. (SBU) According to the World Bank, human capacity within the
GOH, including the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank, has
suffered particularly at the mid- and senior-managerial levels, due
to deaths and absences since the earthquake. As staff within the
GOH and the banking sector continue to leave the country, banks are
not operating at capacity. In cases where computer records have
not been destroyed, information, including tax information and
records, will not be retrievable from servers for weeks, if at all.
MERTEN

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