There has been some criticism recently about promises of aid made by NGOs at this time last year to assist Haiti, which do not seem to be being met. Whilst this could be true in some instances, this accusation can not be made about the assistance the Lions are still giving to Haiti. Within days of the devastating earthquake, many Lion Clubs sent immediate contributions.
Whilst the larger proportion of the money raised by the Lions goes to local charities and causes, they also make donations to national and international appeals.
Some of the delay in delivering aid by other organisations may be due to major problems in developing the essential comprehensive rebuilding programme in Haiti caused by a number of factors including the recent cholera outbreak and lack of a cohesive infrastructure. The primary problem, however, still relates to the clearance of wreckage and rubble, originally estimated to be around 20 – 25 million cubic yards. At this stage there is no reliable estimate of when this clearance is likely to be completed – clearance and collection is one thing – where it is to be dumped is another.
In spite of these problems there has been some progress by Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) with the recent provision of 600 houses for some of the one million homeless and some of these families had previously been accommodated in the Lions Clubs three tented cities. The homes are being erected directly on a family’s plot of land, thus avoiding the hardship of any further displacement.
LCIF has also agreed to assist financially with the rebuilding of the National Nurses School of Port au Prince and will provide $368,421, or 27% of the entire cost of construction and equipment. This School was completely destroyed in the earthquake and more than 100 students and staff killed. Prior to the earthquake there was already a shortage of trained health-care professionals, especially nurses. The new building will be constructed of prefabricated containers which are durable and storm and earthquake resistant, and will facilitate a short construction time.
Other projects in Haiti for Lions Clubs funding are still in the development stage, including suitable educational/ medical projects for the donations now in excess of $650,000 sent by the Lions Clubs of the British Isles & Ireland.
In addition to their work in Haiti, Lions are helping vaccinate 41 million children against measles in developing countries, a leading cause of childhood blindness, as part of the Lions-Measles Initiative pilot program. Lions recently went to Madagascar to help vaccinate at-risk children. In seven days, their efforts reached 2.6 million people in Madagascar alone. Overall, the Lions hope to reach at least 95 percent of children ages 9 to 47 months in Ethiopia, Mali, Madagascar and Nigeria by early 2011.
From the February 2012
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