September Update from Cap- Haitien
September 27, 2017
Unlike too many of our neighbors in the Caribbean, Northern Haiti was spared the worst of what the recent hurricanes had to offer twice in as many weeks. Our hearts go out to all of those who were directly in the paths of these storms, and we want to express our solidarity with them and encourage you to support them in their efforts to recover and rebuild.
I shudder to think what would have happened had there been a direct hit to Haiti, when I see what these storms did to places with substantially more infrastructure and safe havens. Here, even typical tropical storm conditions can have a great impact that will escape notice in the news cycle. While the hurricanes inconvenienced us - a Comprehensive Advanced Life Support training in Haiti and an assessment and training on fire safety at the Justinien University Hospital were postponed due to airline cancellations - the weather had a far greater effect on the poor in this area. These near misses caused flooding that destroyed a significant amount of crops in an already food-insecure setting.
In fact, millions of Haitians are increasingly vulnerable as they are truly on the front lines of the most extreme consequences of climate change. Coupled with severe economic poverty, communities we work with here are facing a future of increasing insecurity and uncertainty. I would like to share a few articles that shed some perspective on why Haiti has such 'bad luck' with all of these “natural” disasters:
- Haiti rises the third most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change
- In the Caribbean, colonialism and inequality mean hurricanes hit harder
- Haiti, Irma, Climate Change, and Priorities
We are coming to a growing understanding that people’s health and well-being the world over are connected to bigger systems and issues of justice. These are complicated and frankly unnerving times, but I encourage us all to try to look at things through the lens of justice as US national policy is being radically reshaped in everything from global health and development to environment.
What is being decided today has, and will have, a very direct and profound impact on the future we are trying to build here together with our partners. Yes, we want to work to strengthen health systems that serve communities with few resources, but together we should also be alert to bigger issues and not forget to advocate for ways to minimize the disasters that they will have to face whenever we have the opportunity. Justice demands as much.
Seeking an Assistant Director
Konbit Sante is looking to strengthen our own capacity to do the work that you support. The scope and complexity of our work has outgrown our small staff, and we are looking to add the right person to the team. While the focus of our work is in Haiti, there is a lot that needs to be managed in the US to support that work, and we are seeking the right person to manage that. Since you are most familiar with our work here at Konbit Sante, we are hoping our supporters can help us find the best candidate who can advance our efforts for a healthier Haiti. If you or someone you know is interested, please view our job announcement.