14 Jan 2011
January 12, 2011 marked the one year anniversary of the earthquake that shattered the lives of millions of Haitians.
One year after the earthquake in, much hasn't changed on the ground in Haiti. People are still living in squalid, cramped, flimsy, makeshift shelter because there is no space to build proper housing. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that the rubble from the earthquake has not been cleared -- bodies that were in the destroyed buildings on January 12th 2010, for the most part, are still there.
Cholera is a new threat that has entered the country in the post-earthquake period and is reaching pandemic proportions because people are living without proper sanitation, without shelter and without the rubble being removed, notwithstanding the decaying bodies beneath the rubble.
The obstruction to progress in Haiti is lack of political will. However, it is not the political will of the Haitians that is missing, but of the international community, contends Nicole Lee, President of the TransAfrica Forum, who has also worked as a human rights lawyer in the Caribbean and Africa.
Much of the money that was pledged to Haiti's reconstruction has not reached the country.
Only US$473 million has reached the Haitian government from international pledges that totalled US$5,7 billion.
A major stumbling blocks to Haiti's recovery from the earthquake is the international community's prejudices, charges Lee.
"Unfortunately, there is a certain amount of misery that the international community believes that Haiti can exist with. So, instead of bringing Haiti up to just 'abject poverty', we want to leave them in 'absolute misery'. You hear this both in the halls all around Washington, in NGOs and halls of government. You hear that Haitians were poor before, so why lift them out of poverty," Lee reports.