Haiti: One Year later

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Early in the evening a year ago, I was sitting where I am now writing a diary and browsing the Internet, thinking about dinner. My thoughts were abruptly interrupted by my cell phone’s emergency alert, the house phone ringing and my husband’s cell phone alerts beeping frantically. “Earthquake; Haiti; Lost contact with PauP” were some of the text messages that began flooding the screen of my cell phone. I can’t explain the reactions that this triggers, only to say that it makes me cold and shivery. It passes and what is now an instinctive secondary reaction takes over, check in with “emergency desk”, activate notifications to other “team” members to get their gear,etc. It is a check list I now have memorized.

A few hours later, we were on our way to the airport where we met up with the rest of our “assessment team” and headed for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. It took another day to get into Port au Prince with what little we carried, thanks to the good will of a news organization that had a large helicopter, the only aircraft able to land at the incapacitated airport. The initial assessment was worse than I had seen in other disaster areas, 95% of the city was severely damaged, much of it leveled. A year later and currently in the midst of a Cholera epidemic that shows little signs of abating, there is some progress but hardly enough to ease the suffering of a devastatingly and chronically impoverished country.

A Look at Haiti, One Year After the Devastating Earthquake

MSF Report on Haiti: Despite Massive Aid Response, Significant Needs Remain One Year After Quake

MSF issues review of emergency response and current gaps in medical care; shelter, water and sanitation, and secondary health care challenges

Port-au-Prince/Geneva/New York, January 10, 2011 While overall access to basic healthcare has improved since the earthquake, the rapid spread of cholera across the country underscores the limits of the international aid system in responding effectively to new emergencies. International agencies must live up to the commitments made to the Haitian people and to donors by turning promises into more concrete actions, said MSF.

Urgent humanitarian needs must be met while long-term reconstruction plans are pursued. The overall health of the population and the ability to contain the risk of disease outbreaks depend on improving water and sanitation and ensuring that the one million people still living in tents have access to sufficient transitional shelter.

Haiti Earthquake Recovery One Year Later

After massive aid, Haitians feel stuck in poverty

By William Booth

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 11, 2011; 12:02 AM

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI – One of the largest and most costly humanitarian aid efforts in history saved many lives in the aftermath of last January’s earthquake but has done little to ease the suffering of ordinary Haitians since then.

As U.S. officials, donor nations and international aid contractors applaud their efforts – all the latrines, tents and immunizations – the recipients of this unprecedented assistance are weary at the lack of visible progress and doubtful that the billions of dollars promised will make their lives better.

Since the Jan. 12 quake, the roads are worse, electricity spotty and rice costs more. Carnival is being canceled again. There are still few jobs. President Rene Preval is missing from public view. Political paralysis grips the country. The results of the mismanaged, chaotic Nov. 28 presidential elections remain a mystery. After uncovering troubles with the conduct of the vote, a monitoring team from the Organization of American States is set to recommend that the government-backed presidential candidate be eliminated from the second round of voting, the Associated Press reported Monday.


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