Haiti in Crisis: Eyewitnesses Call It Worst Catastrophe Since 2010 Earthquake
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2019) A physician at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince calls the current crisis in Haiti the worst the country has seen since the 2010 earthquake.
"We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe. We do not see any light coming to this crisis," said Dr. Marlon Bitar in a phone interview.
Asked when he last saw it this bad, he said, "It was the earthquake. Because that is like what happened, it is like the earthquake. It's like God giving us the earthquake every day for the past seven days."
Food For The Poor on Saturday organized a fleet of 20 trucks, escorted by a police force stretched to their limit, to distribute goods at local churches. Earlier in the week, the charity was able to supply some of those suffering with rice, beans and clean water.
"People are starving," said Bishop Oge Beauvoir, Executive Director of Food For The Poor-Haiti. "This situation will end one day, but people will still face a lot of hardships. We are deeply grateful for the great generosity of the American people helping us to provide this aid and ask that you keep Haiti in your prayers."
While the doctor was interviewed by phone, he was trying to find a way to discharge patients to make room for others. The 65-bed hospital is full and more wounded keep coming, because the next closest – and largest -- hospital has had its emergency room shut due to violence on its front steps.
The disruption in Haiti is in its eleventh day. Roads are blocked, businesses can't open, people are trapped in their homes and cannot replenish food and water supplies. No one sees the crisis being quickly resolved.
The disruption started on Feb. 7, spurred by people upset with the government over inflation, and food and fuel shortages. One economist quoted said that the situation was the worst since the 2008 food crisis.
Even if the protests die down soon, those on the ground say the crisis will burden the country for months.
"Mothers are giving their babies bad water, and they have no food for their children," said Dr. Bitar. "So we are seeing lots of cases of diarrhea. We are running out of IV solution, so we are giving them something orally. With what is going on, in six months we will have typhoid and every other infection in this country."
Little Guerlandine, 4, was severely injured when her uncle fell on top of her from a rooftop where he was working. But her father faced difficulty reaching a hospital that could perform surgery because roads were blocked by protestors and civil unrest.
X-rays reveal she needed surgery, which the first hospital he reached could not perform. Her father rushed her to a second hospital, which experienced a power outage, preventing the operation. Finally, at Bernard Mevs, doctors were able to operate on the little girl.
Her father expressed his gratitude to God and to the charity's donors.
"I will probably never know who has helped us, but I pray God's blessings over them," he said. "I hope I will continue to find some help for her medication as well."
In Haiti, thousands of people were already struggling to feed their children on less than $2 a day and now face another life-threatening challenge brought on by the economic crisis.
"Our hearts are breaking for the people of Haiti as they face another crisis beyond their control," said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. "Food For The Poor has stood by Haiti's side since 1986 and we are committed to seeing them through this upheaval with every resource we have available."
Over the years in Haiti, the charity has:
- Built a total of 18,238 homes since 1995, including 9,894 homes since the January 2010 earthquake and 1,597 homes in 2018 alone.
- Installed a total of 770 wells since 1995 to provide clean water, including 124 wells in 2018.
- Shipped 1,493 tractor-trailer loads of needed supplies of food, healthcare and educational supplies in 2018.
To help families in Haiti, cash donations are best. To help right now, go to www.foodforthepoor.org/haiticrisis.
Dr. Bitar expressed his gratitude to donors who help them provide the best level of care to Haiti's destitute poor.
"That makes us feel like we are not alone," Dr. Bitar said.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned or abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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