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Wave of Violence in Haiti Is Just Rumor, Says Brazil’s Defense Ministry

Haiti child helped by Brazilian soldiers The security in Haiti is under control, says the Brazilian ministry of Defense in note, adding that the situation is very near what it was before the earthquake that devastated the country on January 12.

According to the ministry, civilian and military authorities who are leading efforts by Brazilian personnel to assist earthquake victims have assured them that news about a wave of violence is nothing but a rumor.

The note from the ministry says that colonel João Batista Carvalho Bernardes, the commander of the Brazilian Battalion (Brabatt), which is part of the UN Stabilization Mission to Haiti (Minustah), has admitted some concern about a group of prisoners who escaped from jail getting organized. But he reports that his men are tracking the criminals down.

Colonel Bernardes reports that acts of violence over the last few days were isolated incidents and that such things occurred even before the earthquake. The only difference now is that the media is all over the place, he says.

The Minustah force commander, major general Floriano Peixoto, a Brazilian, considers the security situation in the capital, Port-au-Prince, his priority and therefore has ordered his men who were stationed outside the city  to return.

Peixoto is reported to have said that he does not think criminal elements will be able to organize themselves into anything that could actually threaten the peace or his forces.

“I have overwhelming military superiority,” is what generak Peixoto said, according to the note from the ministry of Defense, which goes on to point out that the UN has just authorized an increase in its mission forces of  2,000 soldiers and 1,500 policemen.

The most recent development in this story was the announcement that Brazil is considering doubling the number of soldiers it has in Haiti.

Meanwhile, the bodies of 17 out of 18 Brazilian soldiers killed in the Haiti earthquake arrived in Brasilia where a special ceremony was held to honor them at the airbase. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, ministers, military leaders and family members attended.

The dead soldiers were all serving in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (Minustah). Brazilian soldiers have been part of this mission since it was established in 2004 following political instability in Haiti.

The bodies were transported aboard a Brazilian Air Force plane from Port-au-Prince to Manaus where military doctors prepared the bodies and embalmed them for funeral services. It was not possible to do this in Haiti.

Meanwhile, according to the Office of Institutional Security (SGI), the ministry of Health is registering healthcare professionals and volunteers who want to work in Haiti.

At the same time, the Crisis Cabinet has set up a group consisting of representatives of the ministries of Foreign Relations, Defense, Health and National Integration to coordinate the shipment of medicine, food and water to Haiti.

ABr

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  • Captain America

    Some of the leaders of foreign aid to Haiti
    BRAZIL: $19 million in aid pledged. Eighteen flights have delivered 200 tons of aid including food, water, tents, medicine, a hospital and medical equipment. Forty six medical doctors and nurses have been sent, along with 50 firefighters who specialize in search and rescue using search dogs. Nearly 1,300 Brazilian U.N. peacekeepers are working in rescue operations.

    AUSTRALIA: $13.8 million in aid pledged.

    BRITAIN: $33 million in aid. A 64-member search and rescue team is on the ground.

    CANADA: $130 million in aid pledged. So far, Canadians have privately contributed more than $39 million and Ottawa will match those funds. Some 2,000 military personnel, including two warships.

    FRANCE: $28.6 million in aid pledged, plus more than 500 personnel, especially rescue workers, and 61 tons (55 metric tons) of supplies. Dispatched Francis Garnier, a ship that specializes in humanitarian missions, and three military transport planes.

    GERMANY: $14.28 million in aid pledged by government. $25.56 million donated by private citizens.

    NORWAY: $17.5 million in aid earmarked for the World Food Program, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and other aid organizations. The country’s Red Cross and other aid organizations have raised at least $4.5 million for the country.

    SOUTH KOREA: $10 million in aid from government, aid agencies, religious groups and business companies, plus relief workers.

    SWEDEN: $25.6 million to organizations working in Haiti, including the U.N. and E.U.

    UNITED STATES: $130 million in aid, according to USAID. Has sent about 12,000 military personnel so far, 265 government medical personnel, 18 Navy and Coast Guard ships, 49 helicopters and seven cargo planes to assist in aid delivery, support and evacuations. Is managing operations at the Port-au-Prince airport.

    INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK: $200 million pledged.

    WORLD BANK: $100 million pledged.

    WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: More than 250,000 ready-to-eat rations delivered. More than 10 million to arrive within the next week.

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