Tags: Haiti | jobs | quake | desperate

Haitians Desperate for Post-Quake Jobs

Wednesday, 05 May 2010 09:31 AM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- They line up well before the break of dawn, as early as 3 a.m. next to a collapsed hospital in this quake-ravaged capital. With yellow envelopes in hand, and a color photo attached to their hand-printed applications, they wait -- holding out hope and a prayer they will be among the chosen few.

``I just want to work,'' said Jimmy Antoine, 30, an unemployed manager who lost his livelihood when the hotel he worked in toppled into rubble during the deadly Jan. 12, 7.0-magnitude earthquake. ``It doesn't matter what kind of job. I'll take whatever I can find.''

Since Jan. 18, the operators of SODEC International, one of Haiti's few employment agencies, have collected 147,000 applications from job-seeking Haitians like Antoine, who spent hours braving the Haitian heat and chasing rumors of employment opportunities.

Haiti's desperate plea for jobs is poised to get a huge boost Wednesday when U.S. lawmakers from both chambers and parties approve legislation aimed at bolstering long-term investments in Haiti's textile and apparel market by giving the Caribbean nation greater access to the U.S. clothing market.

The expansion of the trade preferences would allow Haiti to triple its duty-free access for knits and woven fabrics -- while extending the benefits well into the next decade. In 2006, Congress passed the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act to boost Haitian exports to the United States. It was then modified. This is the third modification.

It's a move Haitian officials had been pushing for well before the Jan. 12 catastrophic quake but pursued in earnest after the devastation shattered what little there was of Haiti's economy, and leaving 1.3 million Haitians homeless.

``I heartly welcome this latest move by such a broad coalition of both parties and of both houses of the U.S. Congress to help attract massive investment to Haiti in the textile sector,'' President René Préval told The Miami Herald.

To read full Miami Herald story — Go Here Now.

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- They line up well before the break of dawn, as early as 3 a.m. next to a collapsed hospital in this quake-ravaged capital. With yellow envelopes in hand, and a color photo attached to their hand-printed applications, they wait -- holding out hope and a prayer they will
Haiti,jobs,quake,desperate
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2010-31-05
 
 

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