July 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm , by Megan Finnegan
Today marks the six-month anniversary of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti. A good friend of mine and fellow journalist, Eleanor A. Miller, is spending the summer reporting for the Haitian Times in Port-au-Prince. I asked Eleanor via email about her experience, and what she’s observed on the ground in Haiti.
Shelter is the biggest issue. “There are tent cities everywhere. There is no open public space anymore–every park, every open lot, everywhere has tents and shacks and people living on it,” Eleanor said. “If any sort of tropical storm blows through, causing heavy rains, winds or mudslides, it will be another disaster all over again. Tents and tarps are already falling apart because they simply aren’t meant to be used continuously, and the strong heat and rains of the Caribbean have taken their toll.”
According to Eleanor, the mood among Haitians is frustration. Many look to the United States for much needed help. So what can average Americans do?
“Consider donating to Haitian-run organizations on the ground that know the culture, work intimately with locals and are sustainable,” Eleanor said.
Eleanor volunteers with The Sunday Project, run by local radio personality Carel Pedre. Every Sunday, the group heads to Cité Soleil, the poorest slum in Port-au-Prince, and distributes 300 boxed meals to seriously malnourished kids. You can donate to The Sunday Project or find other organizations to give to. But it doesn’t cost anything to remain interested in the Haitian recovery and ask our government and aid organizations to do the same.