(Image from Time.com)
It has been four years since the earthquake first shattered through Port-au-Prince and the rest of Haiti, sending thousands of people to a quick death they had not anticipated. After such a calamity, most places recover after a few years. Hurricane Katrina’s rampage on New Orleans took the city approximately four years to get back fully on its feet. It wasn't perfect, but four years did some progress to the city.
In 2004, after the nightmare hurricane season in Florida, Punta Gorda was fully healed after being slammed by Hurricane Charley.
Instead, the country’s millions of displaced find themselves in a permanent limbo in makeshift temporary complexes. Temporary they were, but have now become new suburbs and extensions to Port-au-Prince.
The aid programs, which have flooded into the country after the disaster, have only added to the stagnation of the country. Food staples, such as rice, sent to Haiti and sold cheaply in the local market prohibit local vendors from selling their own produce given they cannot compete with the low prices that “aid food” offers. Because of this, they are condemned to unprofitable methods of farming instead.
And what about the NGO’s and international organizations on the ground? Their efforts are there, but it is a corrupt government which does not permit them to properly advance.
So when will Haiti finally recover? And has Haiti ever recovered from any of its major events? The Haitian Revolution, Papa Doc, and now the 2010 earthquake; has Haiti really ever recovered from anything at all?
Being half Dominican, there has always been animosity between both Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince. Many Dominican schools still teach that Haitians wants to take over the whole of the Hispaniola (an event that did occur in the mid-1800’s and has remained in the Dominican psyche ever since). Dominicans are taught to look over their Afro-French neighbor with distrust and fear.
Instead, I look to Haiti as a sister in need. So close yet so far. Abandoned by the world that refuses to pay any attention to her and leaves her to fend for herself when she does not know better.
How long can Haiti endure without the proper help she can get to lift her to her feet? I don’t mean aid from richer nations, but real and substantial economic help to promote independence and self-sufficiency for Haiti and her people. How long can Haiti endure until she gets the real aid she needs?
Will we have to wait another 4 years?
BBC: Haiti marks devastating earthquake anniversary