- CNTV English - CCTV News

Natural and man-made disasters hamper Haiti's recovery

04-13-2012 14:43 BJT

MEXICO CITY, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Both natural and man-made disasters are slowing reconstruction efforts in post-earthquake Haiti.

More than two years after the 2010 Haiti earthquake toppled thousands of buildings, killed more than 220,000 people and left over 2 million homeless, the tiny island nation is still far from being back on its feet.

Earlier this week, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization issued a joint statement calling for "the continuation of emergency and humanitarian activities, as Haiti remains exposed to numerous hazards -- hurricanes, earthquakes, and disease outbreaks -- and has limited capacity to respond to potential new emergencies."

April marks the start of the annual rainy season, also the "cholera season," which threatens to deepen the already critical spread of the disease among Haiti's 10 million population.

As many as 7,000 Haitians have died from a cholera outbreak that began in October 2010, months after the earthquake, according to the United Nations.

Cholera deaths and infection rates later steadily declined, but then spiked in the first few days of April, mostly due to seasonal rains and flooding.

Just last weekend, torrential rains and rising flood waters forced 700 people into temporary shelters in several towns in northern Haiti, Haitian officials reported.

Meanwhile, Haiti's Health Ministry said it detected a rise in cholera infections, with nearly 80 new cases registered every day around the country.

Cholera does not have to be fatal, but the lack of housing, proper sanitation and clean drinking water and widespread malnutrition in Haiti make it so.

While a lot has been accomplished in Haiti, the sheer scope of the tragedy means much remains to be done, Nigel Fisher, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on the agency's website.

Half a million homeless Haitians are still in need of shelter, he said, adding "conditions in many camps today are much worse, because the tents are falling apart and clean water is less available. We are worried that people in need might become more vulnerable this year."

The initial response from the global community to the Haiti earthquake tragedy was by all accounts extraordinary.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the total amount of aid pledged globally is estimated at 12 billion U.S. dollars.

Given the enormous amount of aid pouring into the country, why hasn't more been accomplished in Haiti?

Jonathan Katz, a U.S. journalist and author who stayed in Haiti, is providing some answers in an upcoming book titled "The Big Truck That Went By: How the world came to save Haiti and left behind a disaster."

"Aid groups continue pursuing short-term projects without any serious attempt at coordination or sustainability," Katz told Xinhua by email.

"Foreign governments continue to undermine the Haitian state. Haitian politicians continue battling each other for small political advantages at the expense of larger goals. With all that going on, it's no wonder that the major systemic problems in Haiti go unaddressed," Katz said.

Another critical look at the handling, or mishandling, of aid in Haiti was presented in a documentary "HAITI: Where Did the Money Go?", which was aired on public television in the United States in January 2012 to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the quake.

"The single biggest problem is that there's no accountability, and without that (aid agencies) don't have to have transparency," filmmaker Michele Mitchell told the Caribbean Journal news magazine. "We literally have no idea how this money has been spent."

Still, she added, "some of the aid organizations are really good. I don't want people to stop giving money. The point is to give wisely."

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program