Before I went to Haiti I didn’t know a whole lot about the country. Wasn’t even really sure where it was. (It’s on the island of Hispaniola. I know that now.) I basically just knew that it was a third world country and that it had recently experienced a massive earthquake. I’m guessing that there aren’t a whole lot of people who DO know statistics about the country that I’ll be traveling back to. So today’s TOT is 10 facts about Haiti. Ready, set, go!
1. Haiti, as I said, is on the island of Hispaniola. It covers approximately 1/3 of the island while the Dominican Republic takes the other 2/3. Haiti is approximately the size of Maine. Although Haiti’s population is just shy of 10 million and Maine is about 1.3 million. Yep. It’s kinda crowded there.
2. That “massive earthquake” I mentioned? When it was happening everyone was tuned into what was going on. Since then however there are a lot of final statistics that you may not know. Like, 316,000 people lost their lives. Over 300,000 people were wounded. 1.9 million families lost their homes. Total number of people affected by the earthquake: 3 million. Wow. (Source)
3. According to the World Food Programme, half the country is “food insecure”. That means that they didn’t have basic food needs because they lacked money or other resources for food. Half the country. That’s a whole lot of people. (Want to read more? Check this out.)
4. WFP also states that half of Haiti’s population lives on less than $1 a day. Additionally three quarters of the population has less than $2 a day. Let’s put that into numbers that I can understand… I spent $30 last Wednesday on pizza for the youth group’s apologetics class. I kinda thought that was a pretty good deal to feed that many people. Especially since my family of 6 can do way more damage than that on a typical night out to eat. So let’s see, $30 for ONE meal for youth group is the same amount of money that 3/4 of the people in Haiti have for TWO WEEKS. Um. Wow.
5. Trusty old Wikipedia tells me that “In rural areas those without access to an improved water source got their water primarily from unprotected wells (5%), unprotected springs (37%) and rivers (8%). In urban areas those without access to an improved source got their water from “bottled water” (20%), from carts with drums (4%) and unprotected wells (3%). Those without access to improved sanitation either used shared latrines or defecated in the open. According to the Demographic and Health Survey 2006, 10% of those living in urban areas and 50% of those living in rural areas defecated in the open.”
6. Education in Haiti isn’t much better than the food, finance and water situations. According to Haiti Partners 50% of primary school age children are not enrolled in school. One-third of girls over six never go to school and a whopping 98% of Haitian youths never graduate from high school.
7. You know what else Haiti Partners has to share? Over 7% of children die at birth. If they make it into the world, 80 out of 1,000 Haitian children never see their first birthday. For every 100,000 births, 523 women died in Haiti. (Compared to eight maternal deaths for every 100,000 births in Europe.)
8. Haiti has the highest incidence of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) outside of Africa. Sex tourism and lack of health education led to the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s. Estimates vary, but the United Nations projects the national prevalence rate to be 1.5 percent of the population. Other estimates place the rate as high as 5 percent in the urban population and 3 percent in rural regions. Annually, 5,000 Haitian babies are born infected with the AIDS virus. The disease causes a fifth of all infant deaths and has orphaned 200,000 children. Source
9. This article is old. So stats may be different now but at the time of the article (1/2010) it was estimated that 97% of all land in Haiti was deforested. This site has some great information on deforestation.
10. Finally, UNICEF estimated there were 380,000 orphans in Haiti before the earthquake. It is believed that post earthquake that number has doubled. Sadly, according to USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development, many of the children have been abandoned or simply left on the street by their parents because of extreme poverty or disease.
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer. It’s just the cold hard facts.
And it’s ugly.