Friday marked one month since Haiti’s earthquake. What does this crisis look like 30 days later?
For me, it’s a child’s face. Catherine, pictured above, was born on that terrible day, January 12. “I was in the final stages of labor when the earthquake struck,” said Catherine’s mother, Amide Charles. “Everyone ran out of the building.” Not Amide, of course. She went on to deliver Catherine safely, with the hospital fortunately staying intact.
A newborn baby inspires so much hope. But it’s tough to ignore what she’s up against. Catherine’s mother and siblings are living in a tent in Port-au-Prince, relying on aid from World Vision and others. Amide is not eating as much as she should for a breast-feeding mom. Catherine’s brand-new skin is infected. Their home in Petit Goave, about 40 miles away, is destroyed. The family—like millions in Haiti—will have to start over.
Still, there is good news to report at the one-month mark: World Vision’s round-the-clock relief work has, so far, reached half a million people. Food has been distributed to more than 470,000 people; items like blankets, water containers, tarps, and mosquito nets to more than 28,000. Four mobile clinics are providing basic healthcare to survivors. Six Child-Friendly Spaces have created safe areas for children to play. Engineers are building latrines in seven homeless camps. And no one is slowing down.
About a month ago, we shared the story of Tsunami, a little girl in Sri Lanka named after the devastating event that struck just days before her birth. It was heartening to see this child at 5 years old, starting school, thriving. The death tolls for the Asia tsunami and Haiti’s earthquake are eerily similar—more than 200,000 people lost. And while they’re very different disasters in other ways, the stories of families’ recovery in Sri Lanka or Indonesia give us reason to hope that the same can happen for Haiti in five years.
Some 200 World Vision staff in Haiti are working full-time toward this. Donations from hundreds of thousands of generous people are fueling these efforts. And God’s hand is on Haiti, in ways we can see and many we can’t.
My prayer is that Catherine’s fifth birthday finds her healthy, happy, surrounded by family, with a solid roof over her head and a thriving community around her.
Thanks to Chris Webster, World Vision’s emergency communications manager in Haiti, for bringing us Catherine’s story.