Haiti’s president has been to Washington seeking assurances that US aid will continue in the long term for his earthquake devastated country.
Even though the images of the January disaster may have slipped from the top of international news agendas, the plight of desperate Haitians has not eased.
President Barack Obama assured his visitor of America’s commitment to Haiti’s recovery and reconstruction.
“The situation on the ground remains dire and people should be under no illusions that the crisis is over,” said President Obama. “Many Haitians are still in need, desperate need in some cases, of shelter, and food and medicine. And, with the spring rains approaching, those needs will only grow,” Obama said.
And with those rains the challenge now is to prevent a second disaster. But many Haitians appear to have little confidence in their own leaders.
One local resident said: “We don’t get nothing to eat, we don’t have a safe place to live, you know what I mean, so we don’t have nothing, we are just living alone so we don’t see the Haitian government.”
The US has already ploughed around 500 million euros worth of aid into Haitian reconstruction efforts, and sent more than 20,000 civilian and military personnel in its response to the quake.
However, the concerns are that once the US and other foreign troops eventually do withdraw there may be a security vacuum into which lawlessness and violence could thrive.