Rónán Mullen, senator and leader of the Human Dignity Alliance, wrote to his supporters on 15 October to encourage them to support the NPH Special Needs Programmes in Haiti.
He shared with them the following update from Gena Heraty, Director of the Special Needs Programmes.
Sadly the situation in Haiti goes from bad to worse and none of us expected it would ever get this bad. We have a combination of awful things happening:
Heavily armed gangs control most of the roads around the city so you risk your life if you go on those roads. The main road to the south has been blocked by gangs for over a year now so most of the people have had to leave the area called Martissaint – where you leave the Capital to go south. A non-profit human rights defence network recently reported that there are currently 90 active, heavily armed gangs around Port Au Prince alone. These gangs kidnap, rape, rob, kill, butcher. They are vicious, and we all know several people that were kidnapped by these gangs. To say that they terrorise people is to put it mildly.
Lack of Fuel
For weeks now there has been no diesel or petrol at the gas stations. So without fuel, you can imagine how quickly things go crazy.
No public transport, schools still closed, patients unable to get to hospitals. Our Special Needs School is still closed and even though our rehab center is open, very few patients can come for therapy as there is no fuel and no public transport.
Anti government demonstrations
The president was murdered in July 2021. Since then, the government has been led by the Prime Minister. For 2 weeks on end we have had anti-government demonstrations. Most end up being violent with people being shot – by the police. They shoot at them with tear gas and live ammunition. The crowds of people usually throw stones and destroy property and cars. Many places have been set on fire and countless businesses pillaged. Roads are blocked with huge barricades or burning tyres.
On several occasions the road from the orphanage to town has been blocked. People want the prime minister to resign and they want him to put down the price of fuel. He more than doubled the price in September when he removed the government subsidy on fuel. This led to an immediate increase in anti-government rallies.
Not only is food hard to come by due to the lack of fuel for transportation, but the cost of everything is sky high. People struggle to find drinking water. People are hungry.
Can you imagine having cholera in a country with limited access to clean water and hospitals? Well sadly Cholera is back again in Haiti and one report said that up to 70 prisoners have died from cholera in the past two weeks.
We never have electricity any more. In over a year maybe we have had at most 5 evenings when we had a few hours of electricity.
So things are dire right now. Many many people have left the country, and many of them are qualified doctors and nurses. No one sees a future here, and if you get kidnapped you have to pay huge amounts of money. They will ask for something like $300,000 US and you negotiate down as low as you can. We know many that had to pay over $60,000 but most people don’t tell how much they paid. For sure, no one can afford to be kidnapped.
Many of my staff have been robbed at gunpoint. More have had to leave their homes due to gangs taking over their areas. Hiding under your bed is a regular occurrence for many, while outside it is raining bullets. Many many people have died when hit by stray bullets. Those that have families living in the countryside tell me about the problem they have accessing food and water. It is so, so sad.
As you know, I run a home for people with disabilities. I have 31 in my care. I am about to have 26 more. The house they lived in was attacked twice by armed gunmen so we are bringing them up to my care, as the home where they lived is in an area that is too dangerous. Imagine the kind of person that attacks a home for children with disabilities?
Some of the acts of violence are too horrific to write about. Seriously. Some totally horrific stuff happening.
In the midst of all this, we recently welcomed a small baby to our home. His mom died after giving birth to him and his twin. The twin later died and he ended up in our baby house, as he was very mal-nourished and his dad could not take care of him. He is one year old but more like a 4-5 month baby development-wise. As he needs physical therapy, we brought him to the house I share with the disabled – Kay Christine. He is a joy and everyone loves him. He is the center of attention and responding very well to all the love and care.
As I watch him grow and develop, I keep thinking, this is what we are about! We are here to try and make a difference – one person at a time. We have to deal with so much. Every day brings a story of pain and suffering. It would be very easy to despair. But with every day comes an opportunity to do something positive. We have to focus on all that we can do and then we have to knuckle down and keep doing it.
I am repairing 2 houses in order to welcome 26 more people with disabilities into our family. Just the thought of it has terrified me these past 2 months. I felt I already had more than enough on my plate But these kids need a loving home. We are good at what we do. We know how to take care of people. We will give them that home they deserve- safe from the bandits. We are busy training new staff. We have a lot to do. With your help we will get there.
Life is never about taking the easy road. It is about taking what you believe is the right road.
Thanks for your support. I don’t know where Haiti is going. I pray for peace here and peace in the world. Please be assured that we do need your help. No contribution is too small. Every help is a HUGE help. I know those of you reading this have worries and concerns of your own and a choice of charities that need your help. I will be most grateful for any help you send our way.
All the best,