Our brothers and sister in Haiti are in crisis and we want to help this Christmas season. Armed groups have proliferated since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, and despite the rampant violence, a political solution has yet to materialize. Haiti’s de facto leader, Ariel Henry, has called for foreign troops to intervene, but nearly 100 civil society groups want a “Haitian-led solution” and oppose a foreign intervention.
With more than 60% of the population unemployed and nearly 77% living on less than $2 a day, much of the youth turn to gangs as a means of survival.
Haitian women and children are not just being caught up in the country’s spiraling gang wars – they are increasingly being targeted for rapes, torture, kidnappings and killings by the 200 armed groups that now control 60% of the capital.
Their plight has been compounded by a lack of safe shelters or refuge. More than 96,000 people have been displaced by the gang violence in the capital, but neither the Haitian government nor the international community has mandated formal displacement sites – which have been set up during previous bouts of instability or disasters.
Cholera cases are overwhelming Haiti over the last two months as experts warn that the situation could worsen now that the country is bustling once again after a paralyzing fuel blockade that lasted two months.
One expert noted that cholera cases were likely contained during the fuel blockade since gas stations were closed and many in the country of more than 11 million people remained at home.
Another Haitian spokesperson noted that people can survive cholera if treated on time, but the recent lack of fuel and ongoing violence has prevented Haitians from reaching hospitals and medical clinics.
At least 161 people have died from cholera in the past two months and more than 7,600 are hospitalized, according to the Pan American Health Organization and Haiti’s government, although officials believe the numbers are much higher as a result of under-reporting. Cholera is caused by a bacteria found in contaminated food or water that leads to vomiting and diarrhea. If not treated in time, it can cause fatal dehydration.
Cholera is easily transmitted, especially in crowded and unhygienic conditions. Sanitation further worsened during the fuel blockade given that companies that supplied drinking water were forced to suspend operations.
Inflation is at 30% since before covid 19. A 20 pound bag of rice used to cost $14.49 in Haiti and now it costs $43.46. (A 20 pound bag of rice costs $10-$12 at Walmart in the U.S.)
Haiti is in a crisis situation. We want to do what we can to help our brothers and sisters in Christ at First Lutheran Church in Jacmel, Haiti. Our goal is to raise $10,000. We want to help them through this very difficult time to at least meet their basic needs for food and clean water.
If you are willing to give do so by using the yellow envelopes at the offering boxes in the church, mail a check to the church, give directly to the church using your banks online bill pay or give online here: https://www.shepherdhills.org/shlc-online-giving.html#/