Haiti: Four Years Later

Publication Date: 
January 14, 2014

Four years after a massive earthquake left Haiti in ruins, Salesian missionaries continue to work with those in need -- leading ongoing reconstruction efforts as well as assisting families and children who still require shelter, warm meals and clean water. And, thanks to the caring support of friends like you, we are making steady progress. 

Today,thousands of students and teachers have returned to prefabricated classrooms while they await permanent buildings. Hundreds of vocational students are learning trades that will directly support Haiti’s reconstruction. And through recreation, drama, and other group activities, children are combating isolation and rebuilding community.

Amid these glimmers of hope, however, much suffering remains.

Before the earthquake, widespread unemployment, homelessness, and lack of clean water were daily realities in Haiti. This latest disaster only worsened the blow for a country that remains one of the poorest in the world.

In Port-au-Prince alone, almost 350,000 people still live in canvas tents, in settlements resembling refugee camps. With no work and little hope for assistance, some have set up roadside stands, hoping to sell fruit or candy for petty change. Worse, poor sanitation means cholera runs rampant, and has claimed the lives of 8,000 victims so far.

And, an escalating food crisis means that 1.5 million men, women and children teeter on the brink of starvation. Close to seven million more struggle to meet their basic nutritional needs.

Despite these significant challenges, Salesian missionaries working in Haiti report an amazing optimism and spirit of solidarity among the population -- coupled with an unbreakable determination to rebuild their lives and communities.

“We have been in Haiti for 75 years, embedded in the communities in which we serve,” says Fr. Mark Hyde, SDB, director of Salesian Missions. “And we will remain here for the long haul, leading ongoing relief and long-term reconstruction efforts -- as well as delivering on our promise to provide hope for the future through education.”

Your support of Salesian Missions ensures that we are ready to quickly and effectively respond whenever and wherever disaster strikes. Whether in Haiti, or in any of the 130 other countries in which we serve, you can help us continue our life-saving work. Thank you for considering a gift today.

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