New quake renews frustrations over Haiti’s rebuild progress

Haiti (MissionNetworkNews) ―  On the other side of the world, another moderate earthquake struck southern Haiti last week, causing some people to relive the terrors of January 2010.

Eva DeHart with For Haiti With Love says while the 4.6-magnitude quake caused little physical damage,  the real injury was psychological. “It renewed all of the fear. Because of the shaking, everybody was running out of buildings. It brought back and made fresh all of the memories from before. ” Now, she says, it’s a double fear. “[It’s] all of the memories that they have from 2010, it’s the recent shake, it’s ‘when will the next one happen?'”

It also reminded people that the promises of rebuilding are not being fulfilled as quickly as hoped. Tens of thousands are still without proper shelter. “They’re extremely frustrated because they’ve got tens of thousands of people still living in muddy, dilapidated tent cities, with little food, very little or no good water, and absolutely no sanitation facilities.”

With so little to show for the billions of aid dollars pledged, people are growing restless. “They know the generosity of the people around the world, and they know there was a lot of money. They know there was a lot of interest in seeing things get better for them, and they know that money is someplace else, because it never came to Haiti. They’re not living any better. They’re living worse.”

As a result, many of Port-au-Prince’s tent cities are seeing a dramatic escalation in violent crime. There are genuine fears that the situation will deteriorate further.  Asked whether or not the situation could degenerate into an uprising against the government, DeHart doesn’t think so. It’s a matter of priority, she notes. “They’ll burn tires. They’ll vent their frustrations. But at the end of the day, they’re going to be searching for something to eat.”

The abrupt resignation of Haiti’s Prime Minister poses additional challenge to the government’s struggles to organize and get funds flowing while also confronting the poverty and instability that pre-dated the disaster.

With progress stalled, many have given up hope to find a better life outside of the capital. DeHart explains, “As people can find a way to get out of their on their own, they are. Even though they don’t know anyone, there are no more jobs up north than there are down south, but at least they aren’t having to live in all of the rubble.”

For Haiti is headquartered in Cap Haitien, about 150 miles north of Port-au-Prince. They’re seeing the influx of the refugees now. “They are making it to the north, so that increases our activity through our clinic. It increases the activity for the food program.”

For Haiti’s need for more supplies is growing as they’re meeting the needs of a growing population. They just cleared a container of supplies for the burn clinic and a container of food. Each container has 207,000 meals that For Haiti distributes to those in their care. “We’re just grateful for each time a container clears so we can keep the line of food going for these people. The people we’re feeding literally have no place else to go, and they will starve if we turn them away.”

“You help people with their homes, you help clothe them, you help fill their bellies,” says DeHart. In that hope, there is healing, too. It’s the practical impact of the Gospel that shows them who Christ is. “You just show the Haitians that those Scriptures are real. You bring them alive through your actions, because ‘love’ is an action word.”


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