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‘Only the power of God can save them now’comment (0)

September 2, 2010

Tattered red, yellow and green umbrellas edge Port-au-Prince’s broken and battered roads, providing shade for street vendors who struggle to eke out a day’s wages by selling everything from groceries and clothes to tires.

Even as signs of commerce have reappeared since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake of Jan. 12, Port-au-Prince residents are forced to scrounge for life’s basic necessities.

Seas of tents and blue tarps form makeshift cities covering open fields, barren lots and river beds as the nation grapples with providing housing for the estimated 1.5 million homeless.

By some estimates, 3,000 NGOs — nongovernment organizations — are operating in Haiti. Yet there is still much work to be done.

“The people are still living a difficult life, living in the streets and existing with no food,” concedes Phito François, the Confraternite Missionaire Baptise d’Haiti director of missions for the Port-au-Prince area. “They fear their life will never be like before. They believe they will die in the streets.”

Those who live in tents cope with daily seasonal rains that soak their belongings and leave them susceptible to diseases and pneumonia.

People bathe in the streets and many young women turn to prostitution for money, which results in unplanned pregnancies, François said.

Yet a spiritual movement is gaining momentum as Haitians cry out to the Lord, he noted. “There are no places to sit in the churches, more benches are needed to hold the people.”

More than 150,000 people have made professions of faith and 135 new churches have been started.

“They know only the power of God can save them now,” he said. (BP)

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