By Adeola Aderounmu
Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake last January. Several aid agencies sprung up overnight. Along with the Red Cross, and other notable charity organisations like doctors without boundaries, the agencies scrambled for attention. They clamoured for help for Haiti.
The year is going to an end and Haiti is not getting better. Life has not been saved since the earthquake or the attempts to do such have been minimal and not forthcoming.
The story and history of Haiti remain sad. From the days of slavery to present day Haiti, the people are yet to fulfil their destiny. In an essay “What Haiti Needs” former president Bill Clinton wrote,
“Haiti isn’t doomed. If we rally around them now and support them in the right way, the Haitian people can reclaim their destiny”
What has happened is that the world pretended that it rallied round and supports Haiti but reports from Haiti shows that the people are still suffering. They are in pain.
More than 2000 people may have died in the last one month alone in Haiti. No one knows exactly how many people have been buried in the mass graves dug around the country. Cholera is taking its toll on the population.
Before the January 2010 Earthquake Haiti was a nation in dire need of sanitation. The country is poor and the people are also poor. They live under very bad conditions. No city in Haiti has a public sewage system. So before the Earthquake Haiti was already a zone of probable epidemic. It remains so.
In January this year, in a special report, Michael Elliot wrote in the Time Magazine:
“As always in the developing world, the first priority [in Haiti] will be clean water. With drinking water distribution systems destroyed-and survivors crammed into camps without sanitation-water supplies could quickly become contaminated. That could lead to rapidly spreading waterborne diseases like cholera and dysentery that can sweep through refugee camps.” Michael wrote that with adequate aid the worst might be averted.
Unfortunately for Haiti the worst was not averted. People are dying in Haiti now due to cholera. This was a disaster that could have been averted through provision of clean water.
Since the Earthquake, have Haitian cities been equipped with public sewage systems? What are the aids organisations doing in Haiti? Are they treating and caring for people who have become sick or are they trying to prevent sicknesses? The funds that came from individuals and governments worldwide to Haiti this year, what have they been used for? Do we have a catalogue of funds and projects? Were any of these directed at preventing secondary calamities associated with the earthquake? Like cholera for instance?
I took some time to read a brief history of Haiti. There are similarities to some of the events that have taken place in Africa. The colonial masters, the international community and the so called peace missions have been used to divide and repress Haiti and Haitians. Haitians think that the cholera currently ravaging their nation was imported by the United Nations’ soldiers.
The rape of my African sisters by the United Nations officials and soldiers is a continuing scandal that the United Nations has failed to tackle appropriately. Why does the UN tend to leave more pain where it meets sorrows?
Haitians must know that a strong democratic government is one of their recipes for survival. Haiti cannot afford another failed internal government or any new form of tyranny.
All the aids agency is Haiti must know that there is a need to combine their efforts to create a synergy that will be more productive. Governments that have made promises must fulfil their pledges. Those who have fulfilled their pledges must create a means to follow up what they plan to do with their funds.
No money, funds or assistance sent to Haiti should be unaccounted for. Agencies that receive donations should stop fattening their own pockets or allowances while the intended recipients of the donations continue to suffer and like we see these days, die of preventable causes.
The future of Haiti, like other developing countries in the world, ultimately lies in the hands of Haitians. There is nothing wrong if the rest of us help them to reclaim their destiny. We can’t do that be being hypocrites. People are dying..!
Ref 1&2: Time Magazine Special Report January 25, 2010