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Haiti Accuses Japan of Sending Contaminated Rice

Haiti national dish, Rice and Beans

Recently the news media published an article reporting that Japan had sent Haiti rice containing radioactive particulate matter. The article claimed the rice stored was located close to the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant. The Japanese Embassy strongly denied the report, and presented its version of the facts.

The embassy responded by saying the storage space used for housing the rice wasn't located close by the Fukushima evacuation areas, but at Ishikari and Otaru storage facilities on Hokkaido, a northern island at a distance of 404 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Not only was the rice stored well outside the areas of contamination, but that Japan had imported the rice from the U.S. in 2009 and 2010, well before the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011. In addition, Japan exported the rice to Haiti two weeks before the earthquake, allowing the government of Haiti (GOH) plenty of time to test and certify the rice's safety for consumption. The delivery happened ahead of schedule due to the GOH's demand for it so they could issue it to the poor and hungry.

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Thousands of People in Cap-Haitian in the Street against Michel Martelly

Protest Cap Haitian

On Friday, September 21, 2012, thousands of people took to streets in the second city of Haiti, Cap-Haitian, to demonstrate against Martelly - Lamothe government. Barricades made of tires, stones and garbage were erected in several areas of the city. Traffic was difficult in many areas and in the neighborhood of La Fossettete and Cite Lescot where the tires were burning, impossible.

The people demonstrating were throwing slogans to show their dissatisfaction with the current policy of the government. They chanted against recent increase in food price and government corruption. Some of the people in the crowd were asking for Martelly to leave the government.

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Struggle against high prices, Haitian government ordered 300,000 bags of rice

Rice Haiti Imported

Understanding the vulnerability in which the Haitian population is today in regard to high cost of food, the Haitian government has reacted by creating a price stabilization Commission. In addition, the government has ordered 300,000 bags of rice in order to affect the current price of rice in the market.

The 300,000 bags of rice is expected to be injected immediately into the market in order to reduce the price of rice. The Martelly Lamothe government informed the public that they will continue to follow this policy every time they see an increase on price of rice.

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