In Haiti, suffering is at a historic high following two natural disasters, a presidential assassination, and now, a delay in the start of the school year.
The August 14th earthquake killed at least 2,248 Haitians and injured more than 12,000. It destroyed 53,000 homes and damaged tens of thousands.
Three days later, Tropical Storm Grace flooded the streets, adding to the misery of the country’s 11 million citizens.
The humanitarian agency Operation Blessing reports that the government and UNICEF have assessed one-third of Haiti’s 2,800 schools in the affected areas, finding at least two-thirds are damaged and 15% are destroyed.
Families in Haiti continue to navigate desperate conditions. The Nation is also dealing with political instability. Operation Blessing continues to provide critical supplies and lifesaving assistance to those who continue to struggle. Please continue to pray for relief! pic.twitter.com/0nG2HgtCEP
— Operation Blessing (@operationbless) September 3, 2021
The Haitian government has delayed the start of the school year but Emmanuela Delsoin, a spokeswoman for Operation Blessing, says Haitians aren’t sure when classrooms will open as rebuilding right now is fraught with challenges. The earthquake struck the southwest part of the country, cutting off access to many areas and making it difficult to transport supplies and aid.
“So many schools have collapsed so the minister of education has had to postpone the re-entry, but everyone is wondering how,” said Delsoin.
Operation Blessing has targeted these remote communities, sending food kits for families, clean drinking water and filtration systems, and medical brigades.
In the southern port city of Les Cayes, Samaritan’s Purse flew in an emergency field hospital.
“We brought in a lot of medical relief supplies, the infrastructure we need to operate in this kind of environment where there is little electricity,” said Monte Oitker, a medical engineering technician with Samaritan’s Purse. “So we came fully prepared and self-contained.”
While aid from a multitude of NGOs is welcome, it’s not nearly enough.
Operation Blessing reports that health facilities are overwhelmed. Plus, more than 100,000 people need clean drinking water, and there’s growing concern about the risk of diseases such as cholera and malaria.
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Thousands of families still have no place to sleep after their homes were destroyed.
And following the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise, gang control and violence are on the rise.
It’s chasing away potential foreign investors, slowing down relief, and destabilizing the country at the very moment it needs to come together.
Delsoin says Operation Blessing is trying to help the Haitians regain their hope so that they can begin to rebuild their lives.