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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Haiti Continues to Suffer

Fixing Haiti should be a world humanitarian priority but local Haitians must be part of the country's solution. 

Although natural disasters have a tremendous impact on people and the environment, it's a mystery as to why Haiti has been unable to recover, three years after experiencing a devastating earthquake

"Something is not working," Haiti's President Michel Martelly said, calling for everyone involved to reassess the recovery initiative.

Certainly Haiti received many million in world disaster aid and the support of high profile world dignitary visits, who brought attention to the crucial human needs.

But, President Martelly has said international aid to help Haiti recover from a devastating earthquake three years ago is not working.

In a speech to mark the anniversary, Mr Martelly said the government had directly received only one third of the aid pledged.

Aid donors needed to co-operate more closely with the Haitian government, he added.

Some 200,000 people died in the earthquake, the authorities said.

More than 300,000 Haitians remain in temporary shelter with poor sanitation.

"Where has the money given to Haiti after the earthquake gone?" asked the president.

"Most of the aid was used by non-governmental agencies for emergency operations, not for the reconstruction of Haiti."

Now, a Cholera epidemic is compounding recovery efforts.  Some feel the Cholera was brought into Haiti by United Nations workers from Nepal, who allowed human waste to pollute the water.

After half a century without a single case of cholera, the Haitian Institute for Justice and Democracy says a country already ravaged by a massive earthquake, intractable poverty and waves of political instability has now seen five percent of the population contract cholera, and more than 6,000 people die from it, because of the reckless actions of peacekeepers from Nepal.

Obviously, money pouring into Haiti has had minimal impact on improving the country's dire humanitarian situation. Massive human suffering is outlasting the impact of the earthquake.

Although the continuous spiral of suffering is baffling, the Haitian president should certainly do more than call for a solution.  Rather, he should lead a solution.  Outside influence in Haiti seems to have caused even more harm by bringing Cholera into the country.  Therefore, it's time for the Haitian people to take charge of their situation and create a plan for recovery, using resources provided by  numerous international aid organizations.  Of course, Haiti is a nation racked by corruption, so national efforts must be monitored to support the intended use of resources.  

Nevertheless, future resources to help Haiti must include putting the people of this nation in charge of their own destiny. Haitian aid must include providing populous leaders with the encouragement they need to build national pride and improve the human condition for Haitian people.  And do it soon, very soon.

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