Helping Haiti

As disaster strikes Haiti, it’s becoming more difficult to help recover

Caroline Colbath, Viking Voices Co-Editor

As one of the most impoverished countries in the Caribbean, Haiti is in dire need of help. The country has been a repeated target for hurricanes and earthquakes. After being hit by an earthquake in 2010, Haiti was still recovering when tragedy hit through both natural disaster and an attempted governmental coup. 

11 years after the devastating earthquake, Haiti was hit by yet another earthquake on Aug. 14, 2021. It was a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, slightly bigger than the earthquake in 2010. 304 people were killed and over 1,800 people were injured. The relief efforts have been delayed by the damage and the political instability of the nation.  

On July 7, Jovenel Moïse, the president of Haiti, was assassinated in his own home. This caused Haiti to be thrown into even more political unrest. Claude Joseph was proclaimed as interim president. There has been unmanageable violence and protests in the street. 

Joe Anderson, AP Government teacher, often speaks with students about how governmental instability has affected the relief efforts in Haiti. 

Anytime a nation has governmental instability any natural disaster, pandemic, epidemic is going to have a major impact because the government lacks the means or method to combat the situation properly. Haiti relies heavily on the United States on food, like rice and beans. This also prevents Haiti from progressing economically. The people are dependent on the government when a natural disaster to rebuild. Governmental and political stability will always affect a countries ability to respond to a disaster,” Anderson said.

Two of Haiti’s most damaged cities were Le Cayes and Jeremic.  In an article in the New York Times, Antoly Kurmaneav and Maria Abi-Habib discussed how the food shortage has started riots in these cities.

“Despite the slow pace of international donations, much of the aid effort seen in central Les Cayes has remained a private initiative. The city’s better-off residents and Haitian diaspora groups set up soup kitchens and brought drinking water for the displaced. But when the food arrived at the camps, it sometimes set off frantic scuffles among the hungry recipients,” Kurmaneav said.

In Le Cayes, multiple fights have broken out over the food shortage despite only being 80 miles away from the Capital. The damage was disastrous because most of the structures in Haiti were built using unreinforced concrete, which is capable of withstanding hurricanes, but does nothing to combat earthquakes.  

 Julia Brantley (10) is a member of the house of representatives and wants to help the citizens of Haiti.  

It makes me very sad, to see all of these people suffering. We need to bring people to join together to help end suffering in this country,” Brantley said. 

The citizens of Haiti desperately need food and support. Despite the fact that the world bank has provided extra funding of $100 million dollars, unstable political factors have led to slow implementation of recovery and reconstruction projects.   

It is unsure if the recent earthquake is worse than the one in 2010. The earthquake in 2010 had a death toll of 300,000. While the 2021 earthquake had a death toll 304, recovery efforts have been impaired by the political unrest and the recent increase in gang violence.  

When asked about if she thinks that this earthquake was worse than the one in 2010 because of political unrest and the recent assassination, French Club adviser Katie Baymiller, has mentioned potential Viking involvement in bringing relief.

“With the poverty high and [Haiti] getting hit with earthquakes and hurricanes, the French Club has talked about helping with relief, but we need to figure out how to send money if we were to raise it,” Baymiller said. 

The 2021 earthquake has not only affected Haiti’s economic and physical aspects, but has also impacted the citizens who have lost their homes, jobs and family members.