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January 11, 2011

Haiti Roundup: Earthquake Victims See Little Gain From Aid Influx

One year after Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake, many Haitians have seen little change in their day-to-day lives since the immediate aftermath of the disaster and express growing distrust of both the government and foreign-aid providers, The Washington Post reports.

Despite a multibillion-dollar influx and the efforts of dozens of major international relief organizations and governments from around the world, more than 800,000 Haitians still live in makeshift shelters with minimal services provided by charities, and road and power networks are unimproved.

“We have just enough to survive but not enough to live,” said Dieusin St. Vil, a tailor who lives with his family in one of the 1,150 camps.

In other Haiti news:

● A mobile-phone company operating in Haiti has won the $2.5-million top prize offered by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a system for banking by cellphone in the stricken Caribbean nation, writes the Associated Press.

Digicel claimed first place in the six-month race started by the foundation in June to establish mobile banking in Haiti, whose financial network was devastated by the earthquake.

● A Massachusetts construction magnate is personally overseeing the building of what will be Haiti’s biggest operational hospital, The Christian Science Monitor reports.

James Ansara, who has been volunteering in Haiti weekly since the earthquake, is working with the global charity Partners in Health on 320-bed Mirebalais Hospital, which will be the country’s largest medical facility until the destroyed city hospital in the capital of Port-au-Prince is rebuilt.

(Mr. Ansara's wife participated in a Chronicle of Philanthropy online discussion last year about the family's tradition of charitable giving. Read the transcript free.)