Last week marked the two year anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti. You probably caught some of the "What is the state of Haiti today?" stories, but here's a few more articles and posts that focus on the siutation for children in that struggling country.
Photographer Ron Haviv created a photo essay of current conditions for CNN.com:
"What hits me the hardest whenever I’m in Haiti is how the majority of people are struggling against great odds to better their life and the lives of their children."
Haviv, a co-founder of the renowned VII photo agency, began covering the turmoil in Haiti in 1990. His trip in December focused on the country’s vulnerable children, who often end up targeted by human trafficking networks.
Haiti had about 350,000 orphans before the earthquake and as many as 1 million afterward, according to government estimates. Many had parents who gave them up because they were unable to care for them.
Meanwhile, UNICEF is claiming "victories" for Haitain children:
UNICEF Representative in Haiti Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans has no doubt that the situation facing children is slowly improving.
"There is evidence of little victories everywhere, although serious gaps and inadequacies in Haiti’s basic governance structures remain," she said.
And with continued efforts, these victories offer the promise of lasting, meaningful progress – even surpassing pre-earthquake conditions.
The World Bank is also promoting a positive spin, claiming that close to half a million children have received post-earthquake tuition wavers through its programs -- but when you read the fine print, the number is actually 210,000, which is under a quarter million. The World Bank also cites having provided 75,000 meals to children in the past two years and rebuilt an unnamed number of schools, and celebrates that nearly half of the earthquake debris has been cleared. (But doesn't that also mean that more than half of the wreckage remains after two years?!)
Meanwhile, German news network DW-WORLD.DE asks:
It's been two years since Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake in which over 200,000 people were killed. Germans donated some 230 million euros in the wake of the disaster - what has become of this money?
On the adoption front, NBC News Correspondent Ron Allen produced a follow up video report on two little girls, Naika and Tia, who were among the more than 1,000 children airlifted to the US soon after the quake to have their adoptions completed here. (They're doing great, as one would hope.)
Over at Rage Against the Minivan, blogger Kristen Howerton posted Haitian Orphans: Two Years Later, Still UNICEF'd, a response to a piece from CBS News that you can view on her site.
Kristen was in Haiti when the earthquake hit, and she's the mother of a Haitian child who came home as part of the emergency airlift. She writes:
I am so disheartened that children in Haiti continue to suffer, and even more disheartened that children continue to suffer based on well-intended policies taken too far at the expense of those they intend to protect. If UNICEF is going to police adoption, then they should also police the conditions that children are living in. They should be working on reunification, and if that doesn't work, on a swift permanency plan. They should be locating the papers needed to move kids into permanent families, instead of setting up kids to be lifetime orphans. And if their policies are clearly leading to child neglect, they should be ashamed.
Two years later. Not good enough.