I was only in Ouanaminthe for a week, and my heart was broken by the tragic poverty—there are about 280,000 internally displaced persons living in Haitian camps, so says the UNHCR. Go ahead and look up photos of the tent cities in Port au-Prince…the problem seems insurmountable.
Complicating Haiti’s dire situation is the virtual lack of political infrastructure and trade or industry footing…in other words the fledging semi-presidential cannot funnel aid efforts efficiently. The ministry I went to Haiti with was trying to get their clinic trailers declared as aid to skip the skyscraper high taxes for over two years…all the while Haitians are dying of scrapes and diarrhea due to lack of basic health care resources.
Syrian refugees come in at over 900,000…it’s almost unimaginable about where these people will be placed let alone how to improve the situation in a lasting way.
Voice of America struck a chord of optimism in me. It mentioned the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is an organization not affiliated with any political body and operates on promoting human equality as it works to make media aware of the humanitarian crisis that is the Syrian refugee situation.
It is nongovernmental organizations like this that must survive and flourish if there is a chance of bettering the situation of the refugees who are fleeing to areas that are completely ill equipped to give them any sort of leg to stand on. The Syrian refugees outnumber the citizens in Turkey now according to The New York Times. Lack of space and medical resources cripple relief efforts. It is the well-off outsider countries like us who can change things if aid operations aren’t slowed by arbitrary protocols or political agendas.
While Haiti’s dire situations have been brought on more by natural disaster and pestilence than civilian uprising and political upheaval like Syria, the concept for any hope of improvement is the same: unbiased, uninhibited aid that does not have to pass through bureaucracy before it reaches the able hands of the organizations that are in ground zero ready to save lives and work for a more stable long run.