Haiti Earthquake Anniversary: Grim Numbers for Struggling Country
1 year ago
Anniversary a reminder of work that still needs to be done
Many will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010 only to be greeting by discouraging numbers: two-thirds of the record $2.1 billion has already been spent by international aid organizations, yet over a half-million Haitians still live in squalor.
An estimated 220,000 people perished and 1.5 million were displaced from their homes. On Thursday, 7,500 Haitians will march on Parliament to hand-deliver a list of demands, which includes the development of safe, affordable housing and agricultural policy changes to improve the rights of farmers.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported last week that 15 of 53 charities that reported to them were either broke or had less than $200,000 on hand.
While some organizations still have a lot of cash on hand, others have been forced to scale back their work, particularly their plans to build permanent housing for homeless Haitians.
Over all, 60 groups and their international affiliates raised a total of $2.1-billion, including $1.43-billion from Americans, according to a Chronicle tally. Fifteen of 53 groups that provided updated information to The Chronicle had either spent all of their money or had less than $200,000 left.
Relief International has spent 81 percent of the $599,344 it collected after the disaster. The money it has left won’t be enough to pay for new homes, the group says.
“As we approach the second anniversary of the 2010 earthquake,” said Cheryl Mills, Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Huffington Post in her report on Haiti, “it is important to remember those who lost so much; and, to honor Haitians' unrelenting commitment to realize a more prosperous and stable nation by shining a light on some of the progress toward the great future they seek.”