Friday, July 16, 2010

Haiti: Six Months Later

At 5:14 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2009 - a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck southern Haiti, as reported by the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake affected roughly one in three Haitians - about 3 million people, the Red Cross estimated. It was so strong that it was felt in Cuba, more than 200 miles away. Six months after, a United Nations representative on the ground there says many challenges still lie ahead in the aftermath. CNN reports that Nigel Fisher, the deputy special representative for the stabilization mission in Haiti, told the U.N. press via video-conference Monday that progress has been made in rehabilitating the country, but that the nation still faces many problems.

The earthquake has left left over 220,000 dead, over 300,000 injured, and over a million homeless. According to recent U.N. reports, the quake destroyed 60 percent of government infrastructure, and left more than 180,000 homes uninhabitable. According to the United Nations, 1,300 camping sites and 11,000 latrines have been built, and thousands of kilos of food and humanitarian resources have been delivered to those in need.

Sadly, it is reported that most governments that promised money to help rebuild the country have not delivered any funds at all. Donors promised $5.3 billion at an aid conference in March, about two months after the earthquake - but less than 2 percent of that money has been handed over so far to the United Nations.

Haiti still needs your help. Please visit CARE to find out ways that you can help. Also make sure you check out their fantastic Haiti Photo Gallery. For examples of Girl Scouts helping out, go here, here, here and here! As a reminder, GSUSA's National Board Ratified their policy to allow Girl Scouts to raise funds for Haitian relief efforts.