Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Haitians turn to God at quake anniversary

Haiti faces NGO quandary
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Jan 8, 2011 - Aid groups are filling a void of effective government after Haiti's earthquake, but the influx risks hampering longer-term development and is seen by some as an occupation. Pre-quake estimates for the number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in Haiti ranged from 1,000 to 10,000 and that number has certainly swollen since. Haiti's government was notoriously dysfunctional even before disaster struck on January 12, 2010. Ministries were flattened and key infrastructure ruined as more than 220,000 lost their lives in one of the worst ever natural disasters. When the international airport was up and running again, foreign NGOs arrived in droves, stepping in to care for the injured, and the children, and working in a host of different sectors from agriculture to sanitation.

But even before the quake, Haiti had something of a reputation for relying on NGOs and concerns are growing that without shaking of the shackles of foreign dependence, the country cannot properly recover. "Haiti has become an NGO state," said Karl Jean-Louis, who heads a local Haitian citizen oversight group known by its acronym OCAPH, which monitors relief organizations. "No one knows precisely now many organizations are here, what they are doing, or how much they spend." Jean-Louis and others say NGOs may have noble intentions but have worn out their welcome. "The country is controlled by NGOs," said one Haitian official who asked to remain anonymous.

Michaelle Amedee Gedeon, president of the Haitian Red Cross, said aid from private organizations "was necessary after January 12 but the results have been mixed." Others offer a staunch defense of NGOs, arguing they have been critical to helping the country in the aftermath of the quake and the cholera epidemic that followed. "The emergency humanitarian response was very successful. We as in all aid agencies working together kept millions of people alive," said Julie Schindall, a spokeswoman for Oxfam in Haiti. "The government hasn't taken leadership but at the same time donors are not supporting the government to do this. They need support, they are completely overwhelmed." Schindall said reconstruction efforts have been stalled because of the inaction of the government, which has the sole legal authority to undertake major projects.

"The critical problem here is a lack of leadership," she told AFP. Only a fraction of the 5.3 billion dollars in international aid pledged to Haiti has been allocated for reconstruction, but NGOs say this is not their fault. "It is extremely difficult at this time because we are looking at a need to implement longer term construction programs;, but at the same time you have a national outbreak of cholera, with a terrible lack of infrastructure," Schindall said. Pierre Salignon of Medecins du Monde (MDM - Doctors of the World) said "we must realize that this is still an emergency. The disaster has only increased Haiti's dependence on international aid." Pierre Tripon of the NGO Action Against Hunger, said that if all aid groups leave Haiti, "there will be a lot of suffering. Our efforts are still indispensable. One Haitian at least, identified only as Ognol, said residents like himself appreciated the contributions of the NGOs. "There is no doubt, the NGOs have been an immense resource for us," he said. "They are present in health, education, house. It is thanks to them that Haitians have survived in the absence of the state."
by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Jan 9, 2011
Faith is about all Haitians have left a year after an earthquake destroyed their country and on the last Sunday before the anguished anniversary, they flocked to praise God.

In Port-au-Prince, hundreds of Roman Catholics attended Mass under tents erected next to the cavernous ruins of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption.

Their prayers filtered through palm trees and over rubble. Men wore immaculately pressed long-sleeved shirts and the women crisp white and pink dresses, somehow kept free of the dust and dirt choking the capital.

All across the city similar scenes unfolded. Later Sunday, thousands flocked to a stadium to hear an American preacher, Franklin Graham, a star in the conservative US evangelical movement.

Haitians have long been known for fervent, rather idiosyncratic faith. A majority are Roman Catholic, but various Protestant churches have made strong inroads, while the deepest rooted faith here may be in voodoo.

On the eve of Wednesday's anniversary of the January 12, 2010 earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people and made homeless more than a million, Haitians say they are more devout than ever.

"The earthquake increased faith for many people. Many returned to their faith," said Franceeur Roland, 32, a plumber attending the open-air Mass at the cathedral.

Asked what was he was praying for, Roland, wearing a white coral necklace, answered: "That this doesn't happen again."

The pastel pink and white outer walls of the cathedral still stand but inside is a scene of terrifying destruction. Giant pillars lie tossed over mountainous heaps of rubble. Pieces of stained glass -- blue, red, gold -- wink from the dusty debris.

Eder Charles, a gatekeeper at the cathedral complex, said the entire choir, which had been in rehearsal, was crushed and that bodies still lie under the rubble. Haiti's Catholic archbishop was among the other victims that day.

Charles's prayer, he said, was for "something to change." What? "Everything. We are praying for the country to change."

At the city stadium, preparations were being completed to welcome Franklin Graham, son of Reverend Billy Graham. Many Haitians have turned from Catholicism to the more participatory Evangelical movement specializing in large-scale, emotionally charged events.

Beatrice J. Delievre, organizing at the stadium, said religion helped her believe that the natural disaster visited upon her country, the mass deaths, and overwhelming poverty, were not cause for despair.

"If all Haitians were not killed on January 12, then there is hope. Those who died, this was their time. But for those alive, there is hope," she said.

What Haitians have lost faith entirely in are the human powers of their political class.

At the moment when Haiti most needs leadership, the country finds itself in yet another round of political turmoil, with candidates from a first round of presidential elections squabbling over who should enter the second round.

Many here blame a lack of political vision for the inability to put Haiti back on its feet.

Not only has there been almost no rebuilding, or restoration of services, but barely any of the rubble has been cleared from earthquake sites -- including the collapsed presidential palace.

"Those are men and mankind is weak," Delievre, 29, said. "You can't put your trust in mankind, only in God. God can do everything."

Hapless Haiti: A timeline of misery
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Jan 8, 2011 - Haiti has been plagued by pestilence and natural disasters since a catastrophic earthquake a year ago killed more than 220,000 people. Here is a chronology of the main events: January 12, 2010: - The 7.0-magnitude quake shakes Haiti at 4:53 pm (2153 GMT). Towns like Leogane and Jacmel are flattened along with large parts of the capital Port-au-Prince, where the presidential palace and key ministries collapse. - January 14-15: After almost two days cut off from the outside world, the first international aid flights land at Port-au-Prince's badly-damaged international airport. More than 15,000 corpses have already been collected. - January 16: US President Barack Obama calls predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to the White House and charges them with gathering funds for the mammoth reconstruction task that lies ahead. - January 18: As fears over widespread looting and general lawlessness grow, the United States deploys up to 10,000 soldiers to maintain security and oversee the aid effort. - January 19: US Marines descend by helicopter to take control of the ruined presidential palace as the aid effort gathers pace and supplies begin to reach those most in need. - January 20: Elisabeth, a 23-day-old baby, is rescued from the ruins of a house in the devastated town of Jacmel in southern Haiti after spending seven days trapped with nothing to eat or drink. - January 30: Ten American missionaries are arrested attempting to take 33 Haitian children across the border into the neighboring Dominican Republic without the necessary paperwork. - February 27: Flooding kills at least 10 people in the southwest of the country, which was largely spared quake devastation. - March: A week of heavy rain causes widespread flooding in the tent cities that have sprung up around the capital to house the estimated 1.3 million people left homeless by the quake. - March 31: United Nations member states and international partners pledge 5.3 billion dollars for the next 18 months to begin Haiti's path to long-term recovery and almost 10 billion dollars overall. - May 17: Capping a 108-day ordeal, a judge frees the head US missionary accused of trying to smuggle out the 33 Haitian children. - June 1: The US military ends major relief operations in Haiti. - October 18: Floods submerge much of Port-au-Prince, leaving 13 dead. - Mid-October: The country's first cholera epidemic in more than a century erupts in a central river valley. By the year-end more than 3,300 people will have died from the disease. - November 5: Hurricane Tomas leaves a trail of destruction in the west of the country, killing 21 people and worsening the cholera epidemic. - November 15-17: Three people are killed in riots targeting UN peacekeepers blamed for bringing cholera into the country. - November 28: Haitians vote to choose a successor to President Rene Preval, who has served his maximum of terms and is widely unpopular due to slow pace of recovery since the quake. - December 7: Protests erupt when preliminary results reveal Preval's handpicked protege has made it through to a run-off ahead of a popular opposition candidate -- at least five people are killed. - December 9: The electoral commission agrees to recount tally sheets, but weeks later Haitians still await final results and no decision has been made on who will contest the indefinitely delayed run-off. - December 22: Authorities say at least 45 people accused of spreading cholera, several of them voodoo practitioners, have been killed by angry mobs since the epidemic began.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Terrifying rumors torment Haiti on anniversary
Tabarre, Haiti (AFP) Jan 8, 2011
The latest news in Haiti's Trazeli tent camp? A new earthquake is imminent. Yes and politicians are spreading cholera. A year after nearly a quarter of a million people died in a magnitude seven earthquake, unfounded rumor is one of the few commodities Haiti has in good supply. In Trazeli, home to about 4,000 people on sun-scorched waste ground outside the town of Tabarre, three actors r ... read more

Time for aid groups to 'step aside' in Haiti: MSF

Aid group says Haiti rebuilding effort too slow

In Haiti, empty tombs but no resurrection

'Noah's Ark' refuge for Australia's flood-hit animals

Direct Observation Of Carbon Monoxide Binding To Metal-Porphyrines

Tablets and smart gadgets ruled at CES

Liquid Pistons Could Drive New Advances In Camera Lenses And Drug Delivery

How Do You Make Lithium Melt In The Cold

Low squid haul worries Argentina

Study Establishes Methods To Assess Recycled Aquifer Water

Igloo-Shaped Poo-Gloos Eat Sewage

US urges less fluoride in water supply

Warming to devastate glaciers, Antarctic icesheet - studies

Russia reaches first stranded fishermen

Russia frees two of five ships trapped in ice floes

Polar Bears No Longer On Thin Ice

Germany seeks to learn dioxin lessons

Statistical Analysis Can Estimate Crop Performance

Germany re-opens farms and vows action after dioxin scare

Global fears rise over German meat

8 dead, scores missing in Australian flash floods

'Dramatic' rain warning for flood-soaked Australia

Veteran pilot astounded by Australian floods

More rains for Australia's flooded northeast

Much hope as Sudan's election starts

AFRICOM's Gen. Ward visits Rwanda

Young French hostages executed in Niger desert

Ivory Coast leader intensifies stand-off with world

Impact Of Traffic Noise On Sleep Patterns

Humans First Wore Clothes 170,000 Years Ago

Publication of ESP study causes furor

Biological Joints Could Replace Artificial Joints Soon

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement