Day 121


Only when human sorrows are turned into a toy with glaring colours will baby people become interested – for a while at least. The people are a very fickle baby that must have new toys every day – Emma Goldman.

It’s 7: 44 PM on day 121 of my journey towards independence and I’ve managed to brush my teeth, feed myself bead and egg  myself for breakfast,   tweet about my Clean Water For All Campaign for a few hours – someone made a $21 donation– yay ! 🙂 –    feed myself rice and curry for lunch, and exercise for 10 minutes.

A year ago today Haiti was struck by a divesting earthquake and today being the one year anniversary of the tragedy I had hoped against hope that the Haitian population was getting back on its feet, but after reading an article in one of our local online newspapers (see below) I realized with great sadness that the people of Haiti were slowly, but surely falling through the cracks. Do you forget about the suffering of your fellow human beings when they are no longer under the media spotlight? 😦         

 

A year on, Haiti’s hopes lie in ruins

January 12 2011 at 03:34pm
By Jonathan M Katz


The man’s body was face down, his white shirt glistening like wax in the sun, as he was unearthed in the ruins of a restaurant here a year after the earthquake.

That bodies continue to be found in rubble is a sign of how far Haiti has to go to recover from the disaster that left the capital in ruins and more than 230 000 dead.

As the dust was settling after the January 12 disaster, volunteers and hundreds of aid groups flocked in with food, water and first aid.

But the effort to rebuild has been dwarfed by the scale of the tragedy and the need and, perhaps most fatally, the lack of leadership and co-ordination of more than 10 000 disorganised non-governmental organisations.

The international community “has not done enough to support good governance and effective leadership in Haiti”, the aid group Oxfam said in a recent report.

Less than 5 percent of debris has been cleared, leaving enough to fill dump trucks parked bumper to bumper half-way around the world.

About one million people remain homeless, and camps look like permanent shantytowns on the fields and plazas of the capital.

A cholera epidemic has left more than 3 600 people dead, and an electoral crisis threatens to rupture the fragile political stability.

The Rand organisation in the United States said donors and the Haitian government were responsible for the failure not to have cleared more of the rubble.

Workers have not been given personal equipment, while heavy-lifters have been blocked by customs officials over the payment of fees. Also, the government has not designated enough dumping space.

Unless rubble was cleared expeditiously, hundreds of thousands of Haitians would be in tents during the hurricane season in June to November, the Oxfam report said.

With nowhere to build, construction of housing has barely begun.

Only 15 percent of the temporary shelters needed have been built and there are few permanent water and sanitation facilities.

The quake was an opportunity to remake a broken education system where only half of children of school-going age were enrolled.

Plans from the Inter-American Development Bank for safer buildings and a unified Creole-language curriculum have not come to fruition. Instead, schools have opened here and there.

About 80 percent of children who were attending school before the quake were going to classes again, Unicef said.

Unicef planned to build 200 semi-permanent classrooms, but was able to finish only 88 last year because the cholera outbreak took its attention.

The reconstruction effort seems hampered by the failure to deliver or spend billions of dollars expected in aid.

Americans contributed more than $1.4 billion, but just 38 percent of that has been spent.

More than $5.3bn was pledged at a March 31 donors’ conference for 18 months. Only $824 million has been delivered, says former US president Bill Clinton’s UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti.

As today’s anniversary arrives, Haitians will hold a commemorative Mass in front of the ruins of the capital’s cathedral. – Sapa-AP

 

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