Gay charity continues Haiti relief efforts
As Haiti-and the world-marks the first anniversary of the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and devastated the country’s capital and surrounding areas, a San Francisco-based gay charity remains on the ground in the impoverished nation.
The Rainbow World Fund established its Haiti Earthquake Relief Campaign after the Jan. 12, 2010, tremor with a $50,000 donation. In addition, the organization partnered with CARE to provide food, potable water, tarps, blankets, medicine and other items to earthquake survivors.
"An estimated 1.3 million people remain displaced," Jeff Cotter, the fund’s executive director, said. "There are numerous challenges to recovery from infrastructure problems, poor road conditions, the slow removal of rubble, a lack of up-to-date information about the camps, slow procurement, to ongoing health and distribution challenges."
Cotter also pointed to the survivors’ psychological recovery. "The Haitian people have ongoing grief and trauma resulting from such catastrophic losses," he said.
Cotter said his organization has found success on a macro level but the remaining challenges are enormous.
"It’s easy to look at Haiti and feel overwhelmed," he said. "On a micro level, of one looks deeper, progress is being made in all areas - that is where you will find hope. Students are back in school, homes are being built, hospitals are being built, and shelters in many camps are being upgraded. The foundation for change and long term recovery begins on the micro level, one to one, community to community."
The Rainbow World Fund is fighting a new cause: cholera. The outbreak has claimed more than 2,000 lives in Haiti, and another 90,000 people are sick.