What Is Really Happening in Haiti?
Before I get into the main topic of the email, I want to really encourage everyone to come out to our Fall Meet Up this Friday night at the Hampton Glen Clubhouse. It is going to be a great time, you get some great food, and we will have some great conversation about Haiti and ATN!
Many of you, by now, have probably seen quite a few articles and news stories about the devastation happening in Haiti right now. It is as bad as it seems in the U.N. reports, Miami Herald articles, and any other news sources you have seen.
Our kids have still not started school, food and supplies are at least 40% more expensive than they were 1 year ago, and it took almost 3 weeks for us to get money into the hands of the people who could use it. Most banks are closed and it is very difficult to wire money.
The worst thing that is happening right now is that the G9 family of gangs in Haiti is holding the port where fuel comes in to the country hostage. A man named Jimmy Cherizier, aka Barbecue, is the leader of this "Group of 9" Haitian gangs. They are 9 of the most powerful gangs in Haiti and have far more firepower and manpower than the entire Haitian National Police (HNP).
With the port blocked, gasoline and other goods are not getting into the country. Since most places use generators for power, including hospitals, electricity is even more scarce in Haiti than ever.
Supplies like food and clean water are also not getting out of the Port to other places in the country. Here is a quote from the recent U.N. Report on hunger in Haiti:
" Hunger has reached a catastrophic level - the highest level 5, on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification index, or IPC) - in the capital’s Cité Soleil neighbourhood. According to the latest IPC analysis, a record 4.7 million people are currently facing acute hunger (IPC 3 and above), including 1.8 million people in Emergency phase (IPC 4) and, for the first time ever in Haiti, 19,000 people are in Catastrophe phase, phase 5."
There have been numerous meetings at the U.N. and other international bodies all discussing how to move forward in Haiti, and none of them have produced any results to date. There have been stories about the U.S. and Canada sending money, weapons, and armored vehicles to Haiti but there are also reports that much of what is sent ends up in the hands of gangs, strengthening them even more while leaving the HNP worse off.
There are a ton of stories circulating in Haiti and even in America about troops being sent, but that seems to be unlikely right now.
I am not going to offer an opinion of what I think the U.S. or any other nation should do, but what is crystal clear is that Haiti is not going to come out of this on her own. Some type of "boots on the ground" intervention is going to have to happen before things get better.
Until that happens, every day that the security situation remains like it is, is also a day that our kids are in danger. Not imminent danger. I talk to Gina and Lener every day, they are ok for now, especially off the beaten path and in a rural community.
At the same time, the more desperate people get, the more desperate things that they do. Please keep praying for Haiti. It really is as bad as you hear, and probably even worse. Google "Haiti News" and you will learn a lot more than you probably want to know.