Under Tents, an international campaign for housing rights in Haiti, released a housing brief this week highlighting the facts on the country’s internally-displaced persons (IDPs). Thirty-three months after the earthquake, over 369 000 Haitians are estimated to be living in tent camps. Designed as temporary housing for the 1.5 million people left homeless following the earthquake, almost no progress has been made towards transitioning residents of displacement camps into permanent housing. Of the US government’s $988 million contribution to post-earthquake recovery efforts, only 10% has been spent on housing, with almost none of this percentage supporting permanent housing options.
Today marks two years after a devastating earthquake killed more than 300,000 people and displaced more than a million in Haiti. Haitians continue to struggle through the process of recovery with at least half a million people still living in displacement camps and many other survivors struggling to meet their basic needs.
We pray for Haiti’s continued recovery and remember all those who have endured much hardship.
18 months after Haiti was devastated by the January 12, 2010 earthquake, many Haitians are still without basic homes or shelter and cholera continues to claim lives. In a recent interview with NPR, Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners in Health and United Nations Deputy Special Envoy in Haiti, speaks about the situation on the ground, looking at the effectiveness of the aid response in Haiti and highlighting the importance of investing in Haitian institutions for sustainable reconstruction.
By Adrienne Wiebe
“We are working for life against forces of death.” “Planting trees is giving life.” “Change happens as we heal from our slave past, and restore dignity and pride in ourselves.” More than a month after a visit to Haiti with an MCC Advocacy Delegation in August this year, I can still hear the voices of the people I met.
Haiti has been at the centre of world news because of the devastating earthquake that struck the capital city, Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, killing 230,000 people, leaving one-million people homeless, and destroying much of the city’s infrastructure and economy. The primary purpose the trip was to explore the advocacy issues in the aftermath of the earthquake. However, I got a glimpse of a country that is much more than the most recent political or natural disaster that we hear about on the news. Read the rest of this entry »
Theo Sitther writes for PeaceSigns about his recent trip to Haiti:
In August, I visited Haiti as part of a delegation of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) staff. The purpose of this trip was to meet with MCC’s staff in Haiti, connect with partner organizations and to gain a firsthand look at the situation on the ground. The following are some key insights that we learned from this visit.
Decentralization: One reason for the large scale of the disaster is that aid, development, and economic policies have historically focused on Port-au-Prince. Many of Haiti’s rural areas were neglected and neo-liberal economic policies devastated Haiti’s agriculture. This forced many to migrate to the capital city to find work. People were crowded into dense slums, factories, and homes when the earth shook and the buildings collapsed.
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Through the voices of Haitians, the video explores the struggles in Haiti that led to the massive devastation following the January 12, 2010, earthquake and speaks of hopes for the future. A study guide offers opportunity for further discussion.
MCC has released an advocacy guide for Haiti. The widespread devastation caused by the earthquake was only possible as a result of economic injustice. Haiti has long been subjected to external interventions such as unjust international trade policies, onerous debt payments on debt acquired by the Duvalier dictatorships, military interventions and paternalistic charity that have perpetuated the nation’s structural poverty. Beginning in the 1980’s, structural adjustment policies imposed on Haiti by international financial institutions like the World Bank and IMF and food dumping by the United States weakened national agricultural production and exacerbated the poverty in rural Haiti, resulting in mass urban migration that made Port-Au-Prince especially vulnerable to this earthquake.
The MCC Haiti advocacy program is seeking to address these issues both by engaging constituents and policymakers in the US and Canada and by working through local partner organizations that are committed to social and economic justice. Political advocacy is a form of public witness and a tangible way of loving our neighbor.