Four Years After the Quake, Recovery Lags in Haiti

Haiti CrisisIn recent months, the world has endured several devastating natural disasters: the earthquake in Pakistan, flooding in Cambodia, and the massive Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. These disasters remind us of another tragedy closer to home – the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

Approaching its 4th anniversary, the 7.0Mw Haitian earthquake claimed the lives of approximately 250,000 people and injured hundreds of thousands more.  It also destroyed (or severely damaged) 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings, leaving over a million people homeless. The resulting humanitarian disaster remains one of the worst of the 21st century.

So what is the status of Haiti today? The country and its foreign partners have made progress on several fronts. As of 2013, they have removed most of the 10 million cubic meters of debris and housed 158,000 affected families. They have provided grants, training, and over 470,000 temporary jobs. They have vaccinated 3,000,000 children and constructed new hospitals. Moreover, they have enhanced preparedness for future disasters. But these achievements are overshadowed by the crippling challenges Haiti continues to face.

JP HRO Haiti Relief
According to The Economist, more than 350,000 Haitians still live in tents or substandard housing in “hillside shanties and seaside slums”. Unemployment hovers at around 75%. A cholera epidemic, which has taken over 8000 lives, continues to spread. Furthermore, the underlying, long-term problems inflicting Haiti remain unaddressed. Yet, aid for the tiny Caribbean country is running out. Many non-profits have disbursed their funds and are struggling to attract new donations given “donor fatigue”. Others have succumbed to corruption, squandering funds on exorbitant salaries, travel, and consultant fees. Finally, as highlighted by the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, many aid pledges have simply gone “unfulfilled”.

Op4G’s partners, however, remain committed to serving the people of Haiti. Greater Good: Haiti focuses on delivering primary school education programs and sustainability projects in under-served communities, while A Chance for Kids works for the “relief and betterment” of Haitian children. Please help create lasting change in Haiti – support these non-profits today!

 

Flickr Photo Credit

May is Haitian Heritage Month!

haitiMay is Haitian Heritage Month in the United States! It is time to celebrate all things Haitian – from music and folklore to language and cuisine. But it is also a time to reflect on the struggles of this tiny Caribbean country.

Located just 681 miles from Miami, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It has a long history of political violence and corruption, as well as significant deforestation and resource depletion. These problems were compounded when the island was struck by a 7.0 hurricane in January, 2010. As a result, it is said that 70% of Haitians live on under $2 per day and that almost half a million are still homeless.

Fortunately, several non-profits are devoted to improving the lives of the people of Haiti. Op4G is proud to partner with 2 such non-profits. Greater Good Haiti provides “basic primary education as well as environmental sustainability education through school programs, public forums, and community based projects in under-served communities”. Furthermore, A Chance for Kids provides Haitian children with educational programs, social activities, and athletic events. Please support our partners today!

Flickr photo credit: Cecilia