Jan 17 2014
On January 12, 2010 a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti. The force of that tremblor killed over 200,000 people and resulted in over 2 million people becoming homeless in a country which was already the poorest in the Western hemisphere.
Four years since that devastating event, the people of Haiti continue to suffer despite the billions of dollars in humanitarian aid pledged by the world community. A recent United Nations Action Plan on Haiti finds that over half a million people are food-insecure and at least 70% of Haitians do not have electricity and 23% of children are not enrolled in school. In a nation the size of Vermont, over 170,000 people continue living in unsanitary makeshift camps set up after the quake without access to safe drinking water.
Haiti continues to grapple with a deadly cholera epidemic which was introduced by UN peacekeepers. And women who faced extremely high levels of rape and sexual assault following the quake, still face precarious conditions. Meanwhile billions of dollars in promised aid never arrived, and data from the US Agency for International Development or USAID shows that less than 5% of the money given for aid in Haiti actually went to Haitian led institutions.
GUESTS: Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and Michelle Chen, contributing editor at In These Times, regular contributor to the labor rights blog Working In These Times, Colorlines.com, and Pacifica’s WBAI. Her work has also appeared in the Nation, Alternet, Ms. Magazine, Newsday.