Haiti: 10 months later…

by jonathonprince

It has been t10n months since a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti.

Reports from the ground tell stories of little progress, broken systems, and organizations struggling to effectively distribute the $1.3 billion donated by the American people. Yet there are individuals and groups on the ground doing great work to provide access to health care, create jobs, and build the infrastructure necessary for redevelopment efforts.  Here’s your opportunity to see their work firsthand.

Last week, a team traveled to Haiti, where Partners in Health (PIH) generous host for an up-close look at the work underway and the challenges at hand—challenges difficult to comprehend from afar.

I wanted to share a few takeaways that you likely haven’t seen in the news:

1. The number of people displaced is staggering

About 1.3 million Haitians are living in 1,300 settlement camps in and around Port-au-Prince. Most camps were spontaneously formed and are situated by the roadside or in low valleys on the city’s outskirts. In a country where a 15-minute rainstorm can flood the main highway, camps are often flooded.

Other camps are more formally run by NGOs, like the Dadadou camp visited on the site of a former sports facility. Built atop a soccer field, an estimated 5,000 people have been living in tents separated by tiny mud paths for more than nine months. To give you a sense of perspective, the soccer field was about 70% of the size of a football field; overcrowded doesn’t begin to describe how these families live. You could feel the frustration and desperation in the air.