Senegal offers land to Haitians

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is offering free land to displaced Haitians who want to "return to their origins" in Africa: 

"The president is offering voluntary repatriation to any Haitian that wants to return to their origin," said Wade's spokesman Mamadou Bemba Ndiaye late Saturday following the president's announcement.

"Senegal is ready to offer them parcels of land - even an entire region. It all depends on how many Haitians come. If it's just a few individuals, then we will likely offer them housing or small pieces of land. If they come en masse we are ready to give them a region," he said.

He stressed that Wade had insisted that if a region is handed over it should be in a fertile area - not in the country's parched deserts.

The offer may be unusual, but it's not out of character of the octogenarian Wade, who is known for his pan-African sentiments and lofty visions.

The troubled and impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo has also raised some eyebrows  by offering $2.5 million in aid to Haiti. Political scientist Ntanda Nkere told the BBC the likely reasoning behind the offer:

"It's a contradiction to see a country which is facing serious financial problems giving away $2.5m but at the same time, it's a purely diplomatic reaction, the Congolese government wants to appear like any other government."


Port au Prince, a Photographer's Dispatch

When wars unfold or natural disasters strike, few journalists are required to get as close to the action as photographers, whose work can never be done remotely, via phone call or email. Getty Images' Chris Hondros, who is now in Port au Prince documenting the aftermath of the horrific earthquake, sent these thoughts to FP:

Dazed people walking the streets of Port au Prince keep saying the same thing: "Haiti is dead." And on one level that's true -- this small country has just endured one of the most searing natural disasters in history, and death is everywhere.  Death is on sidewalks, on the roads, in rivers, buried in rubble and noticeable only by its smell.  The scale is so unimaginable that the usual human traditions and courtesies for the dead have been suspended: many thousands of bodies have been collected by backhoe and dumped into mass graves with no more ceremony than the rubble that goes into the same pits.

But admidst the carnage and chaos there have been remarkable glimmers of hope and strength, of heroism and selflessness. I'm sleeping in my truck in the parking lot of a hotel; outside the walls thousands of Haitians, with nowhere else to go, are camping out on the streets.  But as night descends the singing starts, jumping voices sounding through the darkness, spirituals and ancient songs sung from those streets late into the night. I listen to this from inside the truck as I drift to sleep; its jarring and achingly beautiful."