Four years after the devastating Haiti earthquake, “nearly every Haitian family struggles to overcome the travails of Haiti’s worst moment, and more than 145,000 remain without permanent shelter,” noted Church World Service (CWS) President and CEO John McCullough prior to the fourth anniversary of the Jan. 12, 2010 quake.
McCullough joined a CWS local partner agency in Haiti in urging that 2014 be a year of advocacy, solidarity and reconstruction.
“Haiti has not forgotten what we have already accomplished together, and we cannot afford to forget what Haiti still needs to get done as an expression of our common humanity,” McCullough said in a just-published reflection on earthquake.
“Those watching Syria and other disasters should take note of what has happened in Haiti over these past four years. How the international community responded to Haiti will remain the litmus test for how natural and manmade disasters are addressed elsewhere.
“Four years later, nearly every Haitian family struggles to overcome the travails of Haiti’s worst moment, and more than 145,000 still are without permanent shelter. Haiti has not forgotten what we have already accomplished together,” McCullough said, “and we cannot afford to forget what Haiti still needs to get done as an expression of our common humanity.”
From Haiti, the Rev. Herode Guillomettre, who heads the Christian Centre for Integrated Development, a CWS partner, said, “We see there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. We can say, for example, that repair and reconstruction work hasn't even really started yet, let alone finished. Projects to improve road infrastructure, schools, hospitals and even public buildings for people to receive services have not yet been realized.”
CWS and its partners in Haiti ― including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance ― continue to stress that for ordinary Haitians to prosper, investment and funding must flow to agriculture to enable Haitians to grow food and feed themselves.
Calling 2010 “a disastrous year,” Guillomettre asked that “the American Congress and American humanitarian actors, churches and NGOs all over the world to stand up, to advocate,” and to join forces in solidarity with the people of Haiti.
Said McCullough, “The systematic policy failures, lack of leadership and unclear political action ― in Haiti and in international centers where policy towards Haiti is decided ― explains why so many Haitians today are still waiting for their country and their lives to be “built back better.”