11 Months Later: Will Help Ever Arrive?
Spend a moment with the reality of Haiti’s earthquake survivors today. Eleven months after the earthquake, so little has changed. Haitians who have been living out in the open are beginning to lose patience, as we saw through the angry protests in the street last week.
While Haiti is much more than Port-au-Prince, the camps of internally displaced people living in the metropolitan area have become the most painful reminder of the failure of the international humanitarian community and Haitian authorities to decisively provide assistance that changes the conditions of homeless earthquake survivors. Instead we have watched makeshift shelters that were put up within the first few days after the quake fray and tear under the weather, but the settlements of people become more and more permanent with each passing day.
When will things begin to change for the better? Haitians never expected to be rescued, and in recent months a new grassroots mobilization for change has begun to grow throughout the IDP camps, the neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, and the peasant movements of the country as a whole. Through peaceful protests and popular university discussions, people are beginning to envision their own path for the future. Where those least affected by the quake have failed to solve the problems, those most affected by it cannot fail. They must create a new path forward, because Haitians cannot remain under tarps for years.
These photos are heartache in images; they depict the most painful moments of confrontation between nature and the frail human bodies under tarps, between powerful international forces and the valiant young people, women and men who demand something better for their lives. They take us from pain to protest to action. Hopelessness is a luxury Haitians cannot afford, and so the challenge is to spend a moment with the Haiti of today and still find the hope you need to get up and do something.
For every Haitian women, man and child that woke this morning under a tarp or a tent or a bed sheet, who stepped out into the hot Caribbean sun thankful to be alive another day even if in the midst of the most difficult living conditions in our hemisphere, for these survivors we must hope for more. We must demand more.
PHOTOS: January 12 to December 12, 2010
From Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye and Let Haiti Live