EU Releases $9M Euro in Humanitarian Aid to Haiti; ‘For Haiti With Love’ Fights to Sustain Food Program and Burn Clinic Amid Devastating Poverty

Haiti is in trouble. Between back-to-back natural disasters, a regular revolving door in government, a failing economy, and frequent unrest, recovery seems a long way off.

The European Union just released over nine million Euro in humanitarian aid because the food security situation perches at the edge of crisis. According to the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, almost a quarter of Haiti’s population faces critical food shortage.

That situation doesn’t look to improve in the near future, either. Already acknowledged as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, almost 75-percent of Haiti’s population exists on less than $2 a day. Smaller ministries with a long history on the Caribbean island nation find themselves spread too thin to cover everything. For Haiti With Love is an excellent example of what Non-Government Organizations (NOGs) face with the ongoing issues.

Making difficult decisions

Once, FHL had a food program where staff regularly distributed black beans and rice packets to the poor. Today, when asked how they are addressing the increasing food needs, Executive Director Eva DeHart hesitated a moment before saying, “In a one-line answer, ‘we aren’t.’”

She went on to explain that as poverty increased, so too did desperation. “When hunger hits this level, we can’t afford the amount of security that would be required for Roseline (FHL’s Vice President Haiti Operations) to handle a food program.”

Other costs related to the food program skyrocketed, and, DeHart says, they had to make a decision. “We need to stay focused; it’s how we can best glorify God, and not get extended over our heads to the point where we have to be more concerned about our security and our staff security, then we are the help we are  giving.”

Other larger NGOs are tackling the food issues, but those dealing with the frequency of burn emergencies were far and few between. Where there are a lot of people and a lot of open fires, there are a lot of burns. FHL offers a free burn clinic where patients get much needed and specialized medical care.

However, that too presents challenges. “Pharmaceutical companies used to give us the burn cream they used to give us bandages; pharmaceutical companies are no longer philanthropic. So big part of my job is finding the best possible price that I can find for the items that are needed to keep the burn clinic operational and fully functional.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama