Last year at this same time myself and Rudy Landa (a photo journalist and producer) werejust landing in Ft. Lauderdale after being in Haiti for 30 harrowing and rewarding hours. At that time the news agencies were reporting the deaths resulting from 7.0 earthquake in Haiti were between 100,000 to 150,000 with more than a 500,000 people homeless with the most critical need being for clean water. Water for drinking. Water for cleansing infected wounds. Water for hygiene. Everywhere people were looking for hope.
One year later we know that almost 300 people lost their lives with 1.2 million homeless and with billions committed to its reconstruction Haiti remains a nation in crises. But is there hope for a better tomorrow? With all the money given, time spent and prayers focused toward this tropical island, have we been able to influence the future of Haiti?
Yes, there have been vast improvements:
- Children are being fed.
- There is a steady supply of clean water.
- Aid agencies can now freely move about Port of Prince and Haiti in general.
- Teachers and students are returning to classes.
- Limited new construction is underway
Michael at one of the Convoy of Hope sites in Haiti
But the situation in Haiti remains grave.
- An epidemic cholera strain has been confirmed in Haiti, causing the first cholera outbreak in Haiti in at least 100 years. Cholera has proven a fatal bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Hundreds have died especially in the Haitian countryside.
- The capital is still a panorama of debris: collapsed and half-fallen stores, banks, apartment buildings and homes, hillsides covered by broken shacks. Gnarled steel rebar lies all over in massive tangles, roads with huge trenches some call pot holes. Only 90% of the rubble has been removed.
- There is a lack of jobs for the population. The youth are bored and end up in gangs that roam the streets preying on the weak.
- In many places there is still no running water and proper sewage collection and disposal placing children like Michael at risk to great sickness and disease.
Now, add to that Baby Doc returned “home” to Port-au Prince. This is the same dictator that raped the land of it riches and fled the country with his family and entourage. I along with so many, are thrilled that the Haitians are showing signs of strength.
With the news that Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was charged with corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds and other alleged crimes committed during his 1971-1986 rule, I for one, am hopeful that this investment of time and energy in the people and nation of Haiti is worth it.
Hope is alive in Haiti!
Yes, there is hope. Yes, we have made a difference. Yes, our influence is producing good fruit. And yes, it will take more time to rebuild this beautiful nation. Let’s give them time. Pray for the people of Haiti and support great organizations like www.ConvoyOfHope.com as they engage with and meet the need.