Haiti Like you Give a Damn
By: Debbie Jean Jacques. 15 July 2017
It’s Hurricane Season!!!
From June to November every year Haiti goes through another hurricane that displaces many families, destroys livestock, and has the international community “praying for Haiti.” Basic fact, Haiti does not have flood insurance to help those who have lost their homes or variables nor do they have a mitigated plan for natural disasters. With the rise of informality in major cities in Haiti; shanty towns are on the rise. “The migration of these Haitians was mainly generated by the fragility of the Haitian state and its consequent inability to secure its citizens’ basic subsistence needs, a reality which is always aggravated by natural disasters that, in that sense, act as a trigger—and not as the main driver—for the displacement.” In highly congested cities, this displacement thus contributes to an increase in crime and an increase of youth unemployment without any essential services and infrastructure that leave cities vulnerable to extreme natural disasters, water contaminations, and health hazards.
Most politicians often care more about filling their pockets than the lives of the citizens whose lives need improvement. Those who contribute to the informal sector also contribute to informal settlements; looking for a better life in the capital, however, in many cases like Haiti, we can see that those who moved to the cities to escape poverty only get trapped in poverty.
Haiti has suffered many years of natural disasters, and every year, we have an influx of NGOs, wanting to provide homes to those who have been displaced by the disaster. If anybody here says they’ve had help, it’s a lie like Antony Lowenstein stated. He had to remind himself that over 700,000 people lived permanently in PAP; more people came to PAP to operate as ti-machanns, to shop, and to socialize, yet the minute a visitor stepped outside of the airport, they were welcomed to reality. Let’s brace ourselves; “Please donate” will be flooding your timeline soon.
Disaster creates opportunity, and it also creates distrust.
Who should be held accountable for providing sustainable housing? Should the government be held accountable for not responding to the NEED in the market, or should private businesses take up that responsibility for a profit?
In the hope to climate change adaptation and mitigation agendas, the priority is to build long-term climate resilience and sustainable communities. The structure, including any foundation, is to be designed to withstand collapse, lateral movement, and flotation due to extreme weather conditions. Ventilation, air-conditioning, electrical, plumbing, fire suppression, and other utilities, services, equipment, and controls should be constructed or located in areas that would preclude infiltration or accumulation of water within the components or machinery during flooding conditions.
You’ve seen them…”Housing Funds” for Haiti. For only $2,000, we will be able to house (Blank) with her kids. One of the necessities of life is to provide sustainable housing that will supply the basic needs for security, protection, growth, and human dignity. T-Shelters or the Caracol-EKAM Development scheme. The Caracol-EKAM Development Scheme is an initiative by USAID-Haiti, where “they committed to facilitate the construction of 15,000 permanent homes in Haiti for $50 million. In the end, they’ve built over 900 homes and costs were doubled. But worst of all, 750 of those 900 houses weren’t even built to withstand the next earthquake nor the next hurricane.” Stated in the Caracol assessment report by the Army Corp of Engineers, USAID violated International Building Codes from the very beginning. The report “found no evidence that a formal internal or external review” of the housing design was conducted and further, that “the project was designed with inconsistent application of code and latest design criteria,” despite the contract mandating compliance with the International Building Code. “The lack of any oversight provided at this crucial early stage is a clear indictment of USAID’s role in the project’s failure.”
Forever Doomed or A New Revolution
Haiti is stuck in a forever cycle of disasters. It’s not just corruption that dooms her future; it’s the fact that so many have lost faith in her capability to get back on her feet looking as beautiful as she could be. Nevertheless, her future is bright. Knowing that a few of us are not frightened of dying for her, knowing that we are fighting for her, she will stand and lift her head proudly.