I just returned from a 4-day visit to Haiti and to cook for new president inaugural ball and was disappointed to see how little has changed since an earthquake devastated parts of my homeland.
People are still living in tent cities 16 months after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, killed about 250,000 people. A bottle of clean water is selling for 7
Haitian dollars a gallon, or 86 cents U.S. And I did an emergency visit to a hospital revealed that the most basic medical equipment was hard to find.
"Unfortunately, I have not seen any progress," this is my seventh trips since the earthquake. "Education needs to be one of the primary focuses of the rebuilding of Haiti,"
"The landscape looks very much the same, as far as the rubble is concerned," there were more makeshift shelters.
I am calling on President Clinton and President Barak Obama to extend the Temporary Protective Status now granted Haitians in the U.S., whose visas have expired, forcing them to return to Haiti would only strain that nation's resources while it was rebuilding. TPS is due to expire July 22 allowing Haitians who are here to stay and work would mean they could send money back home,
Residents now use a generator-powered pump to draw water 75 feet from beneath the ground. The water then flows through the purification system, which can process 22,000 gallons a day.