In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, the international community mobilized to support Haiti’s long-term recovery and development. Nearly three years later, it is worth examining how efforts are progressing. In this issue we will explore how the U.S. pledge to “build back better” is going; examine the effects of the United Nations peacekeeping force; and discuss the need for a comprehensive housing solution.
While the earthquake itself was a natural disaster, the widespread devastation that resulted was due to unnatural causes. Haiti has long been subjected to unjust international trade policies, onerous debt payments, military interventions, and paternalistic charity that have perpetuated the nation’s structural poverty. These policies significantly weakened agricultural production and exacerbated poverty in rural Haiti, resulting in mass urban migration that made Port-au-Prince, the capital, especially vulnerable to the earthquake.
Our vision for a just and prosperous Haiti must be guided by biblical principles that hold the dignity and worth of every Haitian as central to any rebuilding effort. MCC’s relief and development work in Haiti, as well as our advocacy work in Washington, are informed by the prophet Micah’s vision of a day when nations will abolish war and injustice, and every person will live a life of dignity without fear (Micah 4:1–5). God’s desire for people, communities and nations is to enjoy a life free from poverty, injustice and all other forms of oppression