In case you haven’t seen or heard in the news lately, Haiti is struggling with some of the worst civic unrest and violence in decades. Daily manifestations, protests that all too often turn violent, are occurring all over the county. Political opposition parties call for the resignation President Jovenel Moise over allegations of his involvement in the Venezuela aid corruption scandal that reports claim over three billion dollars as unaccountable. The national police force has been unsuccessful in quelling the violence and many poor neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince are being ruled by Gangs running protection rackets, too often in collaboration of corrupt police and politicians. Inflation is skyrocketing and there is a rapid deterioration of the domestic currency with food insecurity growing. And the United Nations presence is minimal with only a small special political mission in place after ending a 15-year presence of its large multinational military presence in the country in 2017. HAM’s Haitian medical director, Dr. Jacques, and our in-country operations coordinator, Charles, have each independently told me Haiti is worse off than they have ever seen it in their lifetimes. Dr Jacques is concerned about the possibility of Civil War. He said it feels like a soccer game is being played out in the streets with no referee.
Throughout all of this HAM’s programs continue to operate while many businesses are closed down. I am so very proud of our staff. Staff doctors, all of whom live in Port-au-Prince, cannot get to the clinic most days, but the staff within walking distance is keeping the doors open. We have a stable source of power, so phones are charged. Dr Jacques has arranged to be available for phone consults during clinic hours. Our midwife is still delivering babies, and the clean water programs continue. We have been able to take advantage of days when the violence is down to get supplies to the clinic. People know HAM is reliable; therefore, employees continue to work, those in need continue to come for services, and the community protects our property and people, while most everything else shuts down. The Haitian banks continue to operate so fortunately we can send money for payroll and needed supplies.
It is too unstable for me to do anything effectively in Haiti this summer, but I plan to return to Dumay in October. HAM remains committed to provide the resources necessary so our Haitian staff may continue serve their communities. Thanks to all of you who sent donations from our June letter and update, your contribution will make a difference.
Dr. Tracee Laing