Haiti remains in chaos long after earthquake
Millions in proposed aid dollars is missing, forces left to rebuild dwindling
More than three long years ago on January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti, its epicenter ten miles west of the capital Port-au-Prince. Already one of the poorest nations on Earth, Haiti collapsed even further into chaos. Some 316,000 people were killed and 1.5 million made homeless, nearly a sixth of the population. Little has changed since then. Many remain homeless, and human refuse gurgles along the side of many roads, sewage and plumbing still unavailable.
Little has changed in Haiti three long years after a devastating earthquake ravaged the Caribbean nation. Buildings remain unrepaired, and an already minimal infrastructure here no longer exists.
While money has poured in from the international community to help rebuild Haiti, much of it seems to have been squandered or pocketed by corrupt officials and criminals.
The desperation is so acute here that mausoleums in the capital's main cemetery have been smashed open by grave robbers, who sell the coffins along with their brass fittings.
Many Haitians have returned to the ancient traditions of voodoo in their desperation. Others have sought solace from the Church.
On the third anniversary of the quake that killed her husband, Teresa Constance was attending her local church in the Bel Air slum for an overnight candlelit vigil with her 19-year-old son. Just after midnight, three dozen men armed with pistols, rifles and knives forced their way into the building. Hundreds of worshippers were subjected to a horrific three hours of torture, rape and beatings.
"They held me down and hit me with the butt of a rifle - one of them held a pistol to my head while the others punched and grabbed at me.
"They were laughing and would not stop despite my pleading. How can this happen in a house of God? Humans should not do such things.
"I can never go back to the church now. They attacked my faith, but I still love God. I want my son to be a preacher one day. But it is difficult to carry on living. I no longer want to eat and my heart is in despair."
Teresa went to the police to report the crime. The police said they could do nothing and sent her to the local hospital. The hospital told her to go home.
In stark contrast, white 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers with blacked-out windows clog up already gridlocked roads as United Nation officials and charity bosses are driven around the capital. Many foreigners stay at luxury hotels in the leafy hillside retreat of Pétionville.
As much as 40 percent of aid money is believed to be spent on supporting these foreigners, who squander donated funds from around the world.
Only 53 percent of the money pledged for reconstruction projects by international governments in 2010 and 2011 has actually materialized.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Haiti, earthquake, poverty, chaos, crime
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