Need still great in earthquake-devastated country
Thousands of Haitians are still homeless and many children are still separated from their families three months after a major earthquake hit the capital city.
Christophe Lobry-Bolanger of the American Red Cross recently returned from Haiti. He brought the Scholastic Kids Press Corps up to date on the recovery efforts there.
Lobry-Bolanger's job in Haiti was to decide what people needed and find out how to provide it. His office was in tent, where he was surrounded by people who had lost everything. Where do you start? You look and listen.
"Let's say you go to a camp and you don't see anyone cooking," Lobry-Boulanger said in an interview at the Red Cross Headquarters in New York City. "Then they need kitchen sets."
He also assessed injuries and living conditions. He talked to people all day long about their lives since the quake.
"I ask people, ‘How many of you are sleeping under a roof?'" he said of a recent experience. No one raised their hand or replied. When he asked how many were sleeping under the stars, everybody raised their hands.
"I was shocked," Lobry-Boulanger said.
Immediate needs may have changed from survival to rebuilding, but three months into the recovery, money is still the best way to help, says Lobry-Boulanger.
Even though the Red Cross does not specialize in rebuilding schools, they do focus on feeding the children, providing them with good sanitation, and reuniting them with their families.
Unemployment is another problem. Even before the earthquake, one out of every four people was jobless. That number has skyrocketed since the disaster.
While things are improving, much work remains, Lobry-Boulanger said.
"Many [Red Cross] officials will be coming and going," he continued. "The mission itself in Haiti is going to last for a long time."
To contribute or learn more about the recovery in Haiti, check out the American Red Cross website. You can also donate to Save the Children, which has teamed up with Scholastic to create a long-term education recovery fund for children of Haiti.
CRISIS IN HAITI
Check out the Kid Reporters' special report Crisis in Haiti for more information on the country and how to help.
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Gopa Praturi is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.