Haiti Waits

4 10 2010

courtesy Oxfam International

We don’t hear the word “Haiti” crop up in conversations as much as we used to.  The news cycle ended, but the misery in Haiti did not.

The 1.3 million homeless in Port-au-Prince sit and wait for help.  There’s too much rubble for them to rebuild their homes in the city.  They can’t move out of the city to build on vacant land in the countryside, because the land is privately owned, and figuring out who exactly owns the title to a piece of land is challenging in Haiti.

Nor can the Port-au-Princians make a living so far out of the city, even if they’re allowed to move and build homes.  Most are not farmers or ranchers by trade – their livelihoods are urban-based, not rural.

The letters pouring in to the suggestion boxes put out by International Organization for Migration provide a glimpse into the helplessness that is felt by the homeless. In the words of one letter writer: “We are so powerless. It is like we are bobbing along on the waves of the ocean, waiting to be saved.”

The bulk of the promised reconstruction money sits in Washington and other world capitals, with only 15 percent actually in Haiti.

Reports indicate that the U.S. Senate and House have voted for the funding to be available, but they failed to include language indicating how or when the funds should be spent.  So, the money sits.  The State Department is trying to circumvent the bureaucracy, but there’s no word on how that’s going.

If you’d like to help, ask your elected officials in Washington to do whatever needs to be done to get the money for rebuilding Haiti out of D.C. and into the hands of those ready to work.



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