Haiti, 6 months later

This picture = holy shit.

The MSNBC article that accompanies this lead-in photo, “Haiti recovery paralyzed 6 months after deadly quake”, says,

The number of people in relief camps has nearly doubled to 1.6 million, while the amount of transitional housing built is minuscule.

Most of the $3.1 billion pledged for humanitarian aid has paid for field hospitals, plastic tarps, bandages, and food, plus salaries, transportation and upkeep of relief workers. About $1.3 billion went through U.S. relief groups.

Hundreds of millions have yet to be spent, with agencies such as the American Red Cross saying they want to avoid dumping money into half-baked projects.

Aid workers say the money already spent helped prevent epidemics, floods and political violence, while distributing food and other essentials. Food markets are back to normal, and the foreign doctors and equipment that flowed in have left medical care — while deeply flawed — better than it was before the quake.

Most Haitians didn’t have running water and electricity before the quake, and still don’t.

Police and U.N. peacekeepers are back on patrol. Crime is more prevalent since the quake, with attacks in camps terrorizing thousands, especially women and girls. However, violence is nowhere near the levels faced when the U.N. troops arrived six years ago.

But very little long-term progress has been made. Reconstruction remains a dream.

I want to remind you about the severe issue of sexual assault in the midst of everything else.  Amnesty International has a report about the issue [trigger warning].

Two months ago, This American Life did an hour-long report about Haiti that was completely and totally amazing.  It helps explain why things take so long in the country, even when it seems to us Westerners/Americans that it shouldn’t.  The third part of the program, “Haiti is Destiny” is brutal because it feels so true.  You can stream the episode (or pay 99 cents to download it) on the above linked website.

And finally, I am going to link to a search on NPR on the topic of “Haiti.” Because NPR, better than almost any other news and information network has kept their eye on Haiti.  Shows like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” report on it regularly from someone who is either continually visiting or living there.  They remind us all the time that Haiti still matters and still needs help.


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