A recent Facebook page post shamed me completely. My good friend did not intend to do so. Knowing that I had spent almost two years writing about the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she wanted me to recognize that the devastation in Haiti caused by Hurricane Sandy was being ignored. In a gentle nudge, she mentioned me in a comment that flagged a photo of two women, chest and waist deep, struggling in floodwaters in the Caribbean.
My shame found its genesis in the fact that I had written nothing in the past eight months. Call it disaster fatigue. Call it laziness. The writer had abandoned Haiti, and the conscious realization was humbling, humiliating, and embarrassing.
Americans have loved Haiti to death. We are listless, lazy, cheating lovers who don't have the stamina to go the distance in a relationship. Haiti is just too much work.
We don't stand up for her and hold USAID accountable for tax dollars that have accomplished very little in infrastructure reconstruction. Reports of US pre-hurricane relief are reminiscent of post earthquake relief. Before Sandy hit, USAID staged 10,000 tarpaulins, hygiene kits and wheelbarrows. 50 tons of food was pre-positioned in the south to address food insecurity for 15 days. Cholera looms and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided 2,500 units of Ringer Lactate solution for treatment of dehydration and debilitating diarrhea.
How about trading lactated ringers for toilets, clean water, housing and compensation for the introduction of cholera by the United Nations?
We stood by and allowed the United Nations to get away with murder-by-cholera proxy and accepted their denial that Nepalese soldiers caused the cholera outbreak in Mirebalais in October of 2010.
Justice is still elusive even in the face of a recantation by the principal author of the report, Dr. Daniele Lantagne, who said that new scientific data analyzing DNA suggest that it is "most likely" the source of the outbreak was indeed the Nepalese camp at Mirebalais. More than 7,500 have died since October 2010.