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Haiti’s future unclear


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Haiti’s future unclear

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A major international humanitarian organisation says it is still unclear what the future holds for Haiti almost a year after the massive January 12 earthquake.
In its annual report on the situation in the impoverished French-speaking Caribbean country, World Vision makes it clear that the country cannot return to what it was before the devastating quake.
“Every indicator—water supply, sanitation, health, nutrition, education, income—was a summary of despair, even before the earthquake,” said Kevin J. Jenkins, president and CEO of World Vision.
“Nor is it acceptable to pour vast amounts of money into a broken system. We and our partners target every investment to ensure long-term, sustainable good for the greatest number of children, families and communities,” he added.
Jenkins said that responding to an earthquake of such strength would be complicated, even in the best-resourced nations.
“The factors that made Haiti so vulnerable to this calamity compound the difficulties of responding to it,” he said, adding that Haiti lacks resources and infrastructure and skilled workers are rare.
“Governance is weak, and the history of political violence is strong. It’s hard to find land for housing, hurricanes batter the island every year and food shortages are common,” he said.
Jenkins said World Vision’s response to the earthquake began immediately after the earthquake, stating that many of his colleagues were victims themselves and were struggling to find their families in the rubble.
“Nevertheless, enough were able to respond that we had our first distributions within 24 hours,” he said.
Today, in addition to the development work it has been doing for 30 years, World Vision said it is providing post-earthquake emergency relief, reaching hundreds of thousands of families in five regions across the country.
It said activities range from a combination of child protection, health, education, water, sanitation and shelter services down to single activities, supplying water or building latrines.
“We have begun work to get people’s livelihoods back on track, making them more resilient to future shocks, while helping youths and children engage in rebuilding their country,” Jenkins said. (CMC)
Officials said about 300,000 people were killed and 1.5 million left homeless by the earthquake.
Over the last year, World Vision said it raised US$194 million and has provided aid to 350,448 people.
CMC/nk/pr/10

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