Three years after the most devastating natural disaster in Haitian history, the earthquake that killed over 300,000 people on January 12th, 2010, Haitians are still struggling to rebuild a semblance of normalcy in their daily lives. Despite the $6.34 billion in humanitarian and recovery funding from the international community that supposedly has already been disbursed in Haiti, reconstruction efforts still appear painfully slow in the eyes of many Haitians. President of the Catholic NGO Caritas Haiti, Pierre André Dumas, called upon all sectors of the country to unite in this time of disillusionment with shortcomings of reconstruction efforts:
"The momentum that followed the earthquake has faded. Much of the promises have not been kept. There is a sense of disappointment among the people: a large part of the population still lives in tents ... We need greater political will, national dialogue and love for this country. We must put aside individual interests."
While many criticize the Haitian government for a lack of a strategic national plan after the earthquake, the international community must also take responsibility for the delay in reconstruction in Haiti. In order to improve conditions for Haitians, three years later, there needs to be more honest accountability, transparency, and fulfillment of promises that donors and the Haitian government have made to reconstruction efforts. There needs to be a new agenda that includes effective representation of the majority of marginalized and disenfranchised citizens of Haiti. While we are embarking on the third year of a post-earthquake Haiti, the Haitian people need our solidarity more than ever, to demand a sustainable and just recovery.
Want more information on the status of reconstruction in Haiti around the third year anniversary of the earthquake? Check out these links:
Center for Economic and Policy Research: "Haiti by the Numbers, Three Years Later"
The Guardian: "There is hope for Haiti, despite what the critics say"
The New York Times: "Rebuilding in Haiti Lags After Billions in Post-Quake Aid"
The Economist: "Still Waiting for Recovery"