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Haiti’s agony

March 2010

Haiti’s agony

 

As aid agencies and missions carry on caring for the sick and dispossessed in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, new troubles are springing up for the country.

     Last month, ten US missionaries were arrested and detained under charges of abduction and criminal association for ‘trafficking’ 33 children across the border to the Dominican Republic. Although the ten Baptists, from Idaho, were taking them to an orphanage they had built in the Dominican Republic, Haitian Deputy Prosecutor Jean Ferge Joseph warned that they could be charged with abduction, which carries a 15-year sentence.

     But the political storms over these missionaries are not the only concerns. Agencies have pleaded for ongoing support to help Haiti repair and rebuild before the hurricane season hits.

     As more than 200,000 people are proclaimed dead, and thousands more are still critically ill, the problems of restoring infrastructure are just as important to consider.

     Marcus Oxley, chairman of the Global Network for Disaster Reduction, explained: ‘Critical public buildings – schools and hospitals – collapsed. These are the very buildings that were constructed using international aid. Where’s the accountability? There has to be a change in the way that system of aid is working’.

    

Compassion

 

Governments must be held accountable for standards of construction so new public buildings will be built to safer standards to withstand future shocks and hurricanes. Local communities must be empowered to share in the rebuilding of their towns – and hold governments to account for the quality of construction.

     Yet in all the heartache, there have been tales of miracles as people – even eight-day-old babies – were pulled alive from the rubble. A tale of compassion came too from an HCJB Global doctor, working at the Baptist Mission Hospital in Haiti.

     A young girl called Alexis needed a blood transfusion – and the only correct blood type available belonged to one of the workers, Dr Eckehart Wolfe. Sadly, despite the transfusion, Alexis, a Christian, went home to glory.

     There were other miracles in getting aid to where it was needed. Huge military-led airlifts were stalled at the airports, but the small Missionary Flights International and Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) planes were able to land, thanks to long-standing relationships with local bases throughout the country.

     MAF, based in Port-au-Prince, was able to respond immediately to help bring in medics and relief to the people. Sadly, however, one of MAF’s workers, a local man, has been declared missing, presumed dead.

     As the international aid starts to dwindle, please pray for the people of Haiti, the missionaries and all those organisations who will stay behind to help the people rebuild their shattered lives.

 

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