Haiti had overwhelming challenges before the earthquake struck one year ago. Many organizations have been doing tireless work in Haiti this past year, working to provide basic and lifesaving needs such as food, clean drinking water, shelter, sanitation and health services. Catholic Relief Services and the Red Cross, who have had a long relationship with Haiti, have been at the forefront of the relief effort. USAID has been engaged in addressing immediate needs, while looking towards future sustainability. The cholera outbreak and a disputed presidential election have hindered efforts to fully respond to the aftermath of the earthquake. Far too many are still living in temporary tent cities. Several million cubic meters of debris remain in Port-au-Prince and other affected cities. Yet, were it not for the work of these tremendous organizations, so many more lives would have been lost.
Haiti is still in crisis, and humanitarian aid is required. However, the international community cannot sustain Haiti indefinitely. The current political instability in Haiti significantly hampers any efforts at development.
Despite these challenges, let us continue to engage in developing Haiti’s infrastructure. Among these goals should be a commitment to higher education to train the next generation of Haitian leaders in medicine, agriculture, politics and business who may, ultimately, claim ownership of Haiti’s future.