Haiti after the 2010 earthquake
by Yves J. Manigat MD July 2013
It is now a little over 3 years. The dark moments of the earthquake are gone. The magnitude of the losses is still shocking: 220.000 lives were taken, over a million people became homeless, 250.000 homes damaged or collapsed, 30,000 commercial and landmark buildings partially or totally destroyed.
But Haiti has survived, focused in pursuing its destiny, seen thru the prism of its glorious beginnings by raising the attention of the world to a system that was unjust and inequitable.
Due to its resolve, Haiti has risen from the rumbles of its destroyed infrastructure and from the corpses of its people for a new phase in its history.
The process is however slow and challenging. The dream entertained by many of turning Haiti into a vast field of construction for a quick physical rehabilitation of the country has not come true.
The billions pledged by the countries friends to Haiti have not materialized. The allocated portions have just barely reached its shores,in some occasions. Much more is expected of them. President Obama talking in the name of the United States, and the United Nations suggested to the Haitian people that they will not be leaving them soon as in the past, referring to the quick fixes which they were known for, following our prior calamities.
The tent cities that have mushroomed from everywhere following the earthquake are however disappearing progressively as the more than a million of displaced haitians who were sheltered in these habitats were being relocated.
The people have been fed with the help of many non governmental charity organizations.( NGO).
The children are protected and allowed to grow in a number of de novo orphanages supported by special grants.
The shanties from everywhere are given a new outlook with brilliant colors.
We have escaped the great cholera epidemic after loosing close to 8000 of the victims.
It has been contained on time by our Health Professionals, but the issue of the potability of our waters is still not resolved.
Haiti has lost its splendor with its mountain tops being bold, with no trees, making them more vulnerable to erosions with catastrophic results on our cities as seen a few years ago in 2004 when rains and flooding brought about by Hurricane Jeanne engulf the city of Gonaives, killing 3000 people. Some small- scale projects of restoration of our trees have been initiated.
The religious organizations coming from the United States abound and florish,due to their good faith and their genuine concern for the haitian people in dire needs.
Churches are being built. Schools are popping up from everywhere, the latest being the majestic building which is now lodging the College Marie Anne run by the Sisters of Ste Anne and financed by the Sushi Foundation, based in Alberta Canada.
Mirebalais is now the mecca of Medicine since the construction of this magnificent 300 bed hospital paid by Partners in Health,and classified as a University Hospital, equipped to proceed to the education of our young Physicians.
A University has been built with the help of our neighbor the Dominican Republic at Limonade in the north part of the country, which has become operational since October of 2012.
Our visitors and tourists are likely to be housed in a new hotel, like the “Oasis” which stands up by its straight architectural lines, its modern decor and the luxury of its restaurants.
It has been predicted that Haiti is soon to have more available hotel beds than any other country in the region.
However the government buildings for the most part are still missing, grounded and replaced with large tents, in some cases. The dismantled National Palace has been knocked down. Viable spaces are missing at the State University School of Medicine. The library has been converted into a classroom.
The hospitals have been outpaced by the size of the population and its increasing needs. They function however with no resources.
In spite of all of that, the spirit of the haitian people has not flinched. Their resilience to suffering, their acceptance of hardship and their tolerance to poverty have come to be some of the more selected words for description of the haitian people.
The big plan for the coordination of all the efforts is not mentioned enough.
The five E plan laid down by the current government, referring to their commitment to Education, Employment, Environment,Etat de droit ( rule of law) and Energy, is their proposed compass to pull the nation off its misery.
The reconstruction of Port-au-Prince seems to be forgotten . It is definitely in the sub-conscience of the people and has been their everyday concern. It is not however a subject of public discourse as it should have been.The maquette for the reconstruction of the city, if there is one, has not been displayed even if a foot note referring to the non availability of its finances should be apposed next to it.This would serve to remind everybody of our objective as a nation.
The government is hopefully evolving into a stronger entity, as its various branches, be it the executive, legislative, or judicial, are becoming more and more aware of their respective roles and limitations.
The President appears motivated. Surrounding him is a mixture of good will citizens along with some presumed malefactors. His position is more nebulous from the political stand point when dealing with issues such as the elections, the expected legislative elections , and in his attempt to glorify the role of some of our former Presidents in the future of the country.
Corruption continues to be rampant, as an accepted way of life.
Political parties cease to exist after elections. They are still defined only by their leaders and not by their philosophy or their policies coming from ideas or views which unit people of similar thinking.
We are due for better days with a much more structured country, less impoverished and ready to step up into civilization and the 21st century.
Haiti has already survived isolation, indemnity, bad governance, military coups, natural disasters, foreign occupations, embargo, corruptions with misappropriation of its resources.
It will continue to be. But for a consistent improvement in the life of its citizens , we will all have to better ourselves as a people, work harder for the common good, and hopefully garner the right help, without concealed exploitation, for the proper development of the resources of the land.
Published in ” L’Informateur “a Haitian-American newspaper from Philadelphia ”