An immense humanitarian crisis: Haiti – 10 years later
It has been a decade since a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti.
More than 200,000 people lost their lives, and tens of thousands more were injured – an estimated 1.5 million Haitians were left homeless.
International aid began to flow into Haiti immediately to help rebuild the devastated country.
In a recent article in, The Conversation titled, A decade after the earthquake, Haiti still struggles to recover, on how the country is fairing, the findings were not promising. The story reports that the situation has not changed, and much of the aid was not used for the people most in need in as the country tried to recover.
Ed Epp from Hope and Healing International has worked on many projects in Haiti. He told Context’s Faten Al Faraj that he is disappointed. “We had high expectations for the recovery of the country, but it seems it still hasn’t been achieved.”
There are many aspects to the lack of progress in the recovery of this country, but two main factors stood out to the authors of The Conversation’s article: “The weakness of Haitian public institutions, and the disorganized work of the international organizations and NGO’s.”
According to the former president of Médecins Sans Frontières, Dr. Joanne Liu, many of those organizations did not go to Haiti to assess the needs of the Haitian government or its people, but instead served their own interests.
Ten years later, the rubble caused by the destructive earthquake is still not cleared away. Most of the buildings remain in ruins, and people are still living in camps.
Epp maintains that “the change must, and will, come from within the Haitian people themselves. That’s what we saw years ago when we were visiting and speaking about our work with those with disabilities. It’s common in the Haitian culture for those with disabilities to hide and be ashamed. But as we were sharing, people started to bring their family members inside our tent – the only place we could be together as the buildings are too unsafe – and that’s when one church pastor approached me and said, ‘We should do our work more actively as a church and not wait for international organizations to come and help our people.’”
Years later that same pastor contacted Epp to tell him that he started a project to help those with different kinds of disabilities in their church.
Haiti may not have fully recovered from the enormously destructive earthquake yet, but there is hope for Haiti. With more organized efforts between the international organizations and the Haitian government, and the empowering of the Haitian people to continue to make changes themselves, hope is revisiting Haiti once again.
Watch coverage from Lorna Dueck on the ground in Haiti just one month after the earthquake struck in 2010: