Six months after a devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people and left 1.3 million homeless, Haiti’s lack of infrastructure and leadership continues to impede efforts to rebuild.
Basic living conditions — access to shelter, water, sanitation, and health care — have yet to be restored for many Haitians, and much of the rubble remains unmoved.
ABC World News quotes Hans van Dillen, a Doctors Without Borders coordinator in Haiti, as saying, “Access to health care has improved, even if you compare it to the situation before the earthquake.” But he goes on to say, “People are still out there and they are still at risk. I think for at least the next 10 years, Haiti needs all the help it can get to get back on its feet again.” Doctors Without Borders has been in Haiti since the quake.
Tent camps that were supposed to be temporary are feeling eerily permanent. There are more than 1,300 of them, most without proper sanitation or drinking water. Some have sprouted up on private property, creating tensions between landowners and the homeless.
Despite all that remains to be done, there is some promising news.
Cheryl Mills, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said there have been no major disease outbreaks. That’s great news, but it doesn’t mean we’re in the clear. Much work remains. Reporting from Haiti on the six-month anniversary of the earthquake, CNN reporter Ivan Watson said, “It still looks like a bomb just dropped on this city.”
As long as tent cities and earthquake rubble remain, the potential for large-scale illness and communicable disease looms large.
Former President Bill Clinton, in an interview with CNN, said he is still waiting on the people who promised to be donors.
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