(Photo by PBS News Hour)
Haiti (MNN) ― Protestors gathered in the streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti earlier this week in response to a government decision to tear down a number of shanties on a hillside.
The makeshift homes were put up as a temporary shelter after the 2010 earthquake. 2 1/2 years later, thousands of people are still living there.
The Associated Press says the government needs the hillside to build channels and reforest the area. The purpose is to help curb deadly flooding that comes in the annual rainy season. Many of these hillside homes crash down the hills during the rainy season, often killing a number of people.
Baptist Haiti Mission has been working on rebuild efforts nearly nonstop since the quake. BHM's Ron Sparks says the real issue behind the shanty town destruction is often dependency.
"As these shanty towns became centers of distribution of various commodities, people became dependent on them even though conditions, for the most part, returned to normal back in their home areas where they came from," Sparks explains. "So the government was in the awkward position of having to say, ‘You need to get back to life as usual before the earthquake.'"
Protestors have said they have nowhere to go, and they accuse the government of not providing enough new homes. There are a lot of obstacles to rebuilding, though, even for NGOs like BHM.
As the memory of the earthquake has faded from the minds of many international donors, funding has run dry.
"Even though the need continues to be very, very great--there are still hundreds and hundreds of people that are without permanent homes, we've pretty well depleted the great influx of funds that came in right after the earthquake. So now we're pretty much limited -- as far as going forward -- to the availability of funds as they come in."
For BHM, it costs about $4,000 to build one home.
The situation remains difficult for many, but the hope of the Gospel is still moving. As BHM is able to build, they're able to share the message of Christ with hurting Haitians.
To help BHM in their efforts to provide homes to those who have lost theirs in the earthquake and may be losing their shelters, as well, click here.