The Situation of the Displaced Six Months Later
“I am here, just as they have left me.” These are the words of Roger Bastien age 67, who lost his wife and his son in the earthquake of January 12th. He took refuge in St. Louis Gonzague, an elite private school, on January 13th.
With three children, he is struggling without any help for more than three months, it is the hope for tomorrow and his family that keep him going. Under a tarp with some pieces of dirty sheets is where this family is housed.
Six months after the earthquake hit the country, there is no appreciable change or effort that shows signs of improvement in the situation of the poor who suffer through the day in the sun, and the night in the rain, without food and without health care.
The Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (ICRH) has been created, is spending money, and NGOs and MINUSTAH are partying, while more than a million people do not know what to do with themselves during this hurricane season.
Most of the tents and tarps that were received have nearly completely broken or ripped in this storm season for which meteorological services have predicted more than 7 major hurricanes to hit Haiti. These hurricanes could cause immense damage. As you know, we are in a country where any level of rains and flooding can cause heavy damage.
However, that does not mean anything to the authorities because, 140 million American dollars have already been announced for the reconstruction of state’s offices in order that these men can continue to waste funds, while less than one penny has been allocated to prepare for the hurricane season which has already begun to create panic in the country.
Many beautiful promises have been made for rebuilding, which is no different from the USAID pledges made in 1986 after the end of the dictatorship.
Marise Desulme is working for money, (cash for work). She abandoned Gonaives in 2004, after she had lost her family in Hurricane Jeanne. Marise came to Port-au-Prince to seek a new beginning, but the earthquake was like salt in her wounds.
“180 gourdes (approx $4.50) per day is not enough to eat with my husband who is unemployed, and it is in a camp that we have been living for more than five months now. It rains every day and we cannot sleep neither day nor night. We have to watch out so that the floodwaters don’t wash us away. I would return Gonaives but it is worse than Port-au-Prince. There hasn’t been any kind of authority that has come to ask us, what do we bring to sell? I do not think people will ask me to vote for anyone again- what will be will be.”
One of the most important things to discuss is how the political class and the government have created a political crisis, to control the most personal conversations and distract people from the humanitarian crisis, which is the most important thing.
“He must go” (President Preval), elections, the law declaring a “state of emergency” and who will represent the small group of greedy individuals on the Interim Commission, are the main debates and headlines on those topics on the radio and television. There are only announcements about the hurricane and insecurity issues; there are no plans to prevent disaster and reduce crime so it will be now, this prophecy will be fulfilled: “Swim, to save yourself (Naje pou soti) and look at me in the eye, I’m looking you in the eye.”
We will leave you with a comparison and some numbers for you can take a good look at the true goal of our leaders and their UN and NGO colleagues.
- In less than three months, an NGO in Chile has already built more than 20,000 temporary houses. This NGO, called “A Home for My Family” (Un Techo Para mi Familia), has less capacity, logistics and money than the United Nations, Oxfam, Red Cross, IOM, World Vision – but we will stop naming them there, as there are several hundred large NGOs present in this country to earn big money in the name of the victims.
Analyze this comparison and you can do your own analysis on the situation that your brothers, friends and family are living in after January 12 and what the authorities are planning for us.