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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Haiti still in ruins 18 months after devastating quake

As another potential climate threat approaches Haiti in the form of Tropical Storm Emily, one has to ask the question why is the country still in ruins 18 months after a devastating Earthquake destroyed most of the Capital city of Port-au-Prince and left some 200,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands more homeless? In what was the largest relief effort mounted in the world’s history, billions of dollars were collected and dozens of agencies descended upon Haiti to help rebuild the country. Yet 18 months later most of the rubble has still not been cleared and as the following report claims, some 400,000 – 600,000 people are still living in makeshift shelters where a cholera outbreak claimed hundreds of lives recently. As Tropical Storm Emily approaches Haiti, it is sure to bring more death and destruction to this destitute nation. Will billions more then be collected and disappear into a black hole somewhere? Beware of Aid Agencies like United Way and World Vision. The money they collect pays more for a luxury lifestyle for administrators and for guns rather than for food and shelter. This is the reason why in the most destitute countries in Africa like Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is always a shortage of food but never a shortage of guns; it is your money that pays for these guns!

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians in makeshift camps are bracing for heavy rain during the day as Tropical Storm Emily swirls near their country. The US National Hurricane Center is warning of flash floods and mudslides. Haiti is still struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Haitian officials issued a red alert and urged people to leave camps, many of which are sited on deforested hillsides.  "People living in unsafe housing will be the worst affected if flooding hits," Harry Donsbach from charity World Vision told AFP.

"Landslides are of courses a threat, but even simply heavy rain has the potential to worsen the volatile sanitation conditions in camps, which, with cholera still prevalent in Haiti, is a serious concern."

According to the International Office of Migration, some 634,000 Haitians still live in camps, although other estimates of what is a necessarily fluctuating population put the figure at 375,000.

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