by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear friend of Double Harvest,
QUESTIONS. One year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, questions are still swirling around about its recovery. What does Haiti look like now? Where did all the aid money go? What has the Haiti government done? Is there any progress at all?
For those organizations and people who have lived and served in the country for a period of time, the ANSWERS are sadly not surprising. Less than one-tenth of the rubble from collapsed homes, churches, schools and other buildings has been cleared. One million displaced people still live in tattered and filthy makeshift camps. Amid the squalor, stories of robbery and rape are surfacing. One headline attempts to capture the situation in the wide area surrounding Port-au-Prince: “Haiti Still Mired In Misery!”
Regarding aid, much of the initial private charitable donations assisted organizations tending to the health of the injured and reclaiming the bodies of some 230,000 dead. A portion of the international government aid has gone to debt relief, while the greater percentage has not yet been delivered partly because there is no assurance it will be used properly. A government structure that was weak and corrupt before the quake has not been able to help coordinate a viable relief and rebuilding response. Only recently have new construction codes been released delaying rebuilding efforts. Enforcement of the codes will be another story.
As we’ve noted before, added to this “misery” was a brush with a hurricane and a crippling cholera epidemic. Now, a disorganized and fraudulent election to replace the exiting president, Rene Preval, has escalated public frustration. A disputed run-off election between two top candidates of the original 39 has been delayed until next month. Confusing this political turmoil has been the unexpected return of exiled “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the former brutal dictator. He is being held in the country for legal questioning.
Has there been progress? It is generally spotty. Some buildings have been repaired; some people have been able to start new businesses; some companies are building factories to provide jobs. These are areas Double Harvest has been addressing all along, while at the same time presenting spiritual answers that will provide hope for this life and the next. For details on what has been accomplished, please go to our website and click on “Newsletters” for past updates. With your financial partnership, we have been able to continue to accomplish our mission: “Sowing Seeds of Life”. We thank you for your compassion and generosity!