Haiti (MNN) – The already beaten and bruised economy of Haiti is suppressed even further by another year of drought. And there’s another blow to the face of the impoverished—hospital workers are on strike.
The country, known to be the poorest on the western hemisphere, has shown little recovery since 2010’s earthquake hit. ReliefWeb says there are still 62,000 people living in the 36 internally displaced people camps.
World Factbook says 80 percent of Haiti’s population lives under the poverty line, with 54 percent in severe poverty. The World Food Programme estimates 3.6 million people are food insecure — with just under half facing severe insecurity.
El Niño is the main culprit behind the increase in these numbers.
Eva Dehart of For Haiti with Love says it’s the worst she’s seen in the forty years they’ve served in Haiti.
“People out in the streets begging, the violence that is erupting because of the old adage, desperate people do desperate things,” she describes the scene.
Even before the drought hit three years ago, the country struggled to feed their growing population. Now that a large percentage of crops are failing year after year, there’s even more hunger.
“You’re dealing with two different weather situations because in the south, people are dealing with drought. In the north, people have been dealing with repetitive flooding. Either one of those situations takes out the crops.”
Other indicators besides food describe the impoverished condition of the masses.
Families cannot afford education for their children, nor can they access basic medical care.
“Forty years ago, Haitians had those. Today, they don’t,” Dehart says.
It’s all too expensive, a particularly devastating fact for those whose only security was their children.
Making matters worse, says Dehart, is the government. “Interim governments are people filling slots who focus on lining their own pockets, not serving the people.”
Without security, there is unrest and frustration. Government workers have not had adequate pay. Trash is piling up because waste removal workers have quit.
Even worse, medical workers for many of the big public hospitals are on strike.
The Journal Star says interns are making less than half the minimum wage—about $3.80 for a day’s work. Resident Physicians make about $123 a month. Journal star says this is less than what textile workers are making.
Along with the pay, the Associated Press says the strike is happening due to the lack of basic medical supplies and the prevalence of unsafe working conditions.
Among the other cruelties inflicted by poverty, affordable medical care is almost nonexistent. The poor must turn to international clinics.
For Haiti with Love
For Haiti with Love operates a burn clinic in Haiti among their other projects. They have seen an increase in the amount of medicine they’ve gone through to treat burn victims.
The clinic treats other conditions when they can, but more serious injuries like broken bones require an outside doctor.
When injured people show up at For Haiti with Love’s clinic, the workers are happy to treat them as best as they can. But they also desire these hurting people to know the spiritual comfort of knowing Jesus.
Dehart says the girls minister a lot, and share the Gospel with their patients. They also pray with their patients.
“There is a lot of praying,” Dehart says, “And when you suggest to a Haitian that they pray— if you do that in the United States they say ok implying that they’ll do that later. Haitians go down to their knees with their arms up in the air. They thank God right in front of you.”
And while these servants are praying with their patients, Dehart asks you to pray.
Pray for the team to not be discouraged when they encounter great need day-after-day. Ask God to give them enthusiasm and love for each patient, not to be discouraged seeing the great need, and that they have the same enthusiasm to share the Gospel with each patient walking through the door.
“It can get overwhelming between the odor created by the burns, between the masses, [the] extent of some of the burns,” Dehart says. “Just pray for their stamina and their faith—that they wade through this and can share the love that the people need to feel.”
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