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

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPU #0120/01 0350040
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 040036Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0304
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 000120

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,
February 3, 2010

1. (SBU) Summary: Parliamentary elections originally
scheduled for the end of the month are officially postponed until
further notice. The Prime Minister attended a Senate hearing to
defend the government's response to the earthquake. Protests
against the government remain peaceful and small. President Preval
extended the state of emergency. Police officers are increasingly
reporting for duty. Despite logistics constraints, Haiti's garment
sector has recommenced exports to the U.S. and will further benefit
from new legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate today. End
Summary.

CEP POSTPONES ELECTIONS

2. (U) The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) officially
announced on February 2 that parliamentary elections were postponed
until further notice. One of the CEP's buildings collapsed in the
earthquake. President Preval had already implied that elections
would be postponed. It is uncertain when parliamentary elections
will be held, or if the presidential election, scheduled for
November, will be postponed as well.

PM BELLERIVE AT SENATE

3. (SBU) Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and several
ministers, including Paul Antoine Bien-Aime (Interior) and Alex
Larsen (Health), attended a Senate hearing to defend the
government's response to the January 12 earthquake and the slow
delivery of relief. Bellerive defended the presence of foreign
troops on Haitian soil to assist in aid delivery, but conceded that
the GOH had little control on the distribution of relief, which the
NGOs have managed so far. Bellerive had turned down the Senate's
request last week, and his appearance with key ministers signalled
an apparent intent to cooperate with the legislative branch.

4. (SBU) Both the Senate and Lower Chamber are still holding
sessions at their new location on the grounds of the Police
Academy. Lower Chamber President, Levaillant Louis-Jeune, remained
confident that the issues of reconstruction, postponed elections
and constitutional reform could be addressed through a political
consensus, while new parliamentary commissions continued to reach
out to various sectors in their efforts to formulate a strategy for
reconstruction.

MORE PROTESTS, BUT SECURITY SITUATION STABLE

5. (SBU) Additional peaceful protests have taken place since
last week. On February 2, a small group shouted anti-Preval
slogans in front of the new GOH offices near the airport. On
February 3, about 1000 protesters gathered in Petionville to
express grievance over the alleged theft of food aid destined for a
shantytown by the Mayor of Petionville. Another group of 400
individuals linked with this group marched down to the Embassy
carrying an upside down American flag. The group's leaders, all
young men, expressed their discontent with the GOH's response to
the disaster in their conversation with Embassy officials, citing
corrupt leadership, and wished for the USG to take over Haiti's
recovery process. All protests have remained peaceful so far, and
while the situation is tense because of built-up frustrations with
the provision of basic needs, security incidents remain sporadic.

STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED

6. (U) President Preval extended the state of emergency by
another 15 days, extending the initial 15 days announced on January
16. Parliament will have to approve any further extension.

POLICE REPORT FOR DUTY

7. (SBU) As of February 3, HNP DG Andresol reports that no
police units have been paid to date, despite reports that several
specialized HNP units were already paid. The HNP received the
payroll checks on February 2, and is in the process of distributing
to each Department and unit.

8. (SBU) The HNP reported that on Sunday, January 31, over
3,000 officers reported for duty during the day shift in
Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Prior to the earthquake, a
normal Sunday turnout would have been 1,600 officers. NAS
attributes this unusually high turnout to the distribution of food
to HNP officers, and the hope that they would receive pay checks.

GARMENT EXPORTS RESUME

9. (SBU) Haiti's garment sector, supported by USAID contractor
CHF International and sub-contractor TC Squared, is reaching out to
the apparel industry worldwide to remind them of Haiti's resilience
and commitment to the garment sector. The response from current
and potential clients has been extremely positive; they remain
interested and supportive of Haiti's garment sector. Separately,
USAID, members of Congress, President Clinton, the Inter-American
Development Bank (IDB), and others have voiced their continued
commitment to the sector.

10. (SBU) Initial data collected with the help of Gregor Avril,
Executive Director of the Haitian Association of Industries (ADIH),
reveals the current state of garment factories. Of the eighteen
factories in Port au Prince, two must relocate and completely
rebuild from the ground up, and the vast majority need to undertake
minor to moderate repairs, clean-up, and reconstruction. In
addition, cash-flow needs of the apparel-assembly sector for the
next three months exceed USD 6 million total.

11. (SBU) During the week of January 25, several factories were
able to resume production, with more expected to come back
on-stream in the coming weeks. Hanesbrands made a public
statement regarding its three primary T-shirt sewing operations in
Haiti; all three have at least partial production under way as of
this past week. All of their facilities have been inspected by
engineers and have been cleared to resume production and safe
occupancy. They expect all of their employees to be working by the
first week of February. Customers in the U.S. confirmed that
finished garments were already shipping out of Haiti via private
ports, with raw materials trucked in through the Dominican
Republic. Logistics constraints, while not wholly solved, have
been partially resolved more quickly than expected.

12. (SBU) The USAID-supported Haiti Apparel Center (HAC), which
began training new sewing machine operators in November 2009, was
scheduled to hold its official inauguration on February 3.
However, HAC's building in SONAPI Industrial Park is temporarily
lending space to USAID for a medical supplies warehouse. USAID
expects to return the space by end-March to finish the renovation
and complete repairs for the HAC to become fully operational.

US SENATE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO BOLSTER HAITIAN ECONOMY

13. (U) On February 2, Senators Ron Wyden and Bill Nelson filed a
bill entitled "Renewing Hope for Haitian Trade and Investment Act
of 2010." The Renewing Hope for Haiti Act is intended to provide
short-term relief to Haiti's apparel sector, which prior to the
quake accounted for three-quarters of Haiti's exports. It extends
current trade preference legislations, including the Caribbean
Basin Trade Preference Act (CBTPA) and the Hemispheric Opportunity
through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE II) Act, and provides for a
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) presence in Haiti, in addition to
establishing an interagency Haiti Recovery and Investment Task
Force, led by the Secretary of Treasury.

14. (SBU) Comment: This legislation sends a positive signal to
U.S. retailers and producers in Haiti and the Caribbean, and should
also send an encouraging message to the more than 25,000 Haitian
factory workers who rely on garment factory jobs to provide for
themselves and their families. End comment.
MERTEN

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