Haiti (MNN) — Ten years ago today, Haitians awoke to a new age of struggle and devastation. On January 12th, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake practically flattened the capital city of Port-au-Prince. It was purportedly the strongest quake to strike Haiti in 200 years.
Over 200,000 people lost their lives and 3.5 million lost their homes, OCHA reports. The total earthquake-related loss was estimated at $7.8 billion – more than 120% of Haiti’s 2009 gross domestic product. Billions of dollars of aid money poured into the tiny Caribbean nation, but questions surround the fate of those investments.
“Unfortunately, Haiti has made so little recovery progress. More than 10 years after, we still see people… living under tents,” says Ricot St. Paulin, who oversees program support for Compassion International’s Haiti office.
“Things are even getting worse and worse… A lot of this is due to anger and frustration that the Haitian government’s response… [has] not helped at all.”
By comparison, Compassion Haiti is making steady gains. Help release children and families from poverty in Jesus’ name.
Problems vs. progress
As previously noted, significant challenges haunt Haiti’s steps, keeping it mired in crippling poverty and despair. Drought, protests, and a widespread lack of daily essentials plagued Haiti in 2019 alone.
“Over the past few months, the political instability has [crippled] Haiti’s economic and social development, causing the level of inflation to reach about 20%,” St. Paulin says. “Not much has been done [in terms of earthquake recovery] but we stay hopeful that things will be changed.”
Three days after the 2010 quake, Wes Stafford – Compassion’s International’s president at the time – described the disaster’s impact on Haitian believers, Compassion’s church partners, and local staff. For the next decade, Compassion staff faithfully walked with Haitian believers across every hill and through valley.
“Today, we are working alongside 350 church partners to bring hope and a future to more than 125,000 children and youth… we are moving forward,” St. Paulin says.
“We rose from the rubble; the ministry [is] getting stronger.”
From child sponsorship to micro-loans, Compassion applied 22 strategies to help the poorest Haitians recover their livelihoods. “One of the goals was to provide meals… by enabling [families] to have sustainable resources to feed their children on a regular basis,” St. Paulin says.
“I personally know parents that would not have found a way out without our interventions.”
People used Compassion’s micro-loans to start small businesses, St. Paulin explains. Today, “not only [are] they still running their businesses,” he says, “but they can supply all the needs of their families and provide jobs to others. This is an encouraging thing.”
How to help Haitians
By supporting Compassion’s work, you can help Haitians change their country’s future.
“Compassion has been in Haiti for 50 years and, with faithful and devoted people like our sponsors and donors, we have formed an army of men and women of God who are aware of the need for a better future for the next generation,” St. Paulin says.
“We are still calling for people to come alongside us so that we can continue to serve more children and to release them from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
Most importantly, pray. We’ve listed prompts alongside this article to get you started. “Six million Haitians live below the poverty line on less than $2 per day, and more than 2.5 million fall below the extreme poverty line,” St. Paulin says.
“There is still need in Haiti. We’ve done much, but we have still a long way to go.”
Header image courtesy of Compassion International.