How to forget about Haiti and the catastrophe that shook millions inhabitants’ lives, two years ago? The earthquake, measuring 7.3 which stroke the country, only 25km from Port-au-Prince, was of incomparable violence. The toll rose to 230.000 dead people, 300.000 injured ones and 1.2 million people without shelter. The capital city is then completely destroyed: everything is to be rebuilt.
Report of two tough Haitian years.
In January 2010, considering the hugeness of the damages, the international community is touched and organize itself in order to provide help to the millions disaster victims. The country is totally felled: from the airport to the state structures, it’s in the core of a chaos that the humanitarian actors land, and try to make their contribution to this solidarity construction.
The Red Helmets Foundation, which I am President for, took part in supporting its own way the local teams helping victims, completely overwhelmed by the scale of the catastrophe. Entirely committed into using new technologies to easy humanitarian action, the Red Helmets Foundation deployed two of its containers of telecommunication by satellite, Emergesat, a few hours after the disaster occurred, in response to the French Ambassador in Haiti. The communication network was broken, and Emergesat enabled the governmental and non-governmental organizations to communicate with each other, exchange their data and organize the rescue. Within two months, 19.178 phone calls were established, which represents more than 1.352 hours of communication.
During the humanitarian mission that the Red Helmets Foundation set up in Haiti, a few days after the earthquake, I set on meeting the Haitian President, René Préval, and his wife, Elizabeth Delatour, so as to express my support and France’s one, willing to help them go through this terrible ordeal. We evoked my proposal about creating an international humanitarian force, able to react very quickly after a natural disaster has occurred, which would be headed by the UN. As a witness of an unseen international mobilization, but at the same time of the worse organized rescue intervention of those last years, René Préval joined my fight and launched a “Call for Red Helmets at the UN” to the whole international community. Later we carried on together with this struggle, co-signing press galleries and pleading for a new governance system in front of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Today it has been 2 years since this catastrophe happened. Haiti is still recovering, rebuilding. If many blame the terrific slowness of the process, let’s remind them that the work that has to be made is really huge. 2011 was a transition year between the emergency and reconstruction. 7.000 people died because of cholera. Almost 500.000 people are still living in “refugee” camps, where sanitary conditions never stop deteriorating. Unemployment concerns 70% of the population, in spite of the 300.000 jobs created by the building process. 2 out of the 4 billions promised by the Donators Conference, are still to be given.
So as to help Haiti facing those major challenges, between humanitarian emergency and development actions, the international community must not disengage itself. Remember that no place on Earth can be spared by natural disasters.
Let’s make the wish that the new impetus, brought by the newly elected President Joseph Martelly, make its peoples recover its hope and go on fighting for the country to be turned around.