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Garcia, Karen


AP English Language and Composition

1 June 2017

Poverty in Haiti

Poverty is the state of not having enough money to buy basic essentials like food, water,

clothing or shelter. Nearly half of the world's population — more than 3 billion people — live on

less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a

day. About one billion children worldwide are living in poverty. UNICEF is one of the

organizations that is helping the people in Haiti. Haiti is considered one of the poorest countries

in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti has been hit by more than ten hurricanes, which have caused

major damages. In 2008, Haiti was intensely destroyed by Hurricane Fay, Gustav, Hanna and

Ike. There is not enough money to restore homes in Haiti. If poverty was more promoted on the

internet and on the television, it can change a lot of lives and it can change the country in Haiti.

Also, if poverty was promoted more, everybody would contribute even a tiny bit, after some time

neediness can be altered.

UNICEF is a worldwide program under the United Nations that "gives long-term

compassionate and formative help to children and moms in creating nations." According to

UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty and hunger. Poverty is most commonly

defined by economic standards based on income levels and access to basic human necessities,
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such as food, water, and shelter. Poverty is often described with a scale ranging from extreme to

moderate levels. The internationally agreed-upon measurement of extreme poverty currently lies

at $1.25 a day, with the next lowest measure of poverty standing at $2 per day. The geographic

breakdown of regions with the highest levels of poverty ranging from worst to best include: Sub-

Saharan Africa, South Asia, Pacific East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North Africa

and the Middle East, and Europe and Central Asia. Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. The

causes of poverty include poor people's lack of resources, an extremely unequal income

distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. Just 50 percent

of the general population have admittance to an enhanced water source, for example, a hand

pump or a well. This implies the vast majority of the populace relies on upon lakes, streams and

waterways for their water, paying little heed to the cleanliness.

Poverty affects the entire nation in accomplishing social and financial advance. In The

World Bank, the author talks about political instability and says”In Haiti, Poverty and Hunger is

the long history of political instability and the lack of governance. Corruption and misuse of

public funds have resulted in a decline in the quality of all public services, including fundamental

areas of traditional governmental responsibility, such as the police, the justice system, and the

provision of basic infrastructure.”(“Haiti”). The reason Haiti is in poverty is because they do not

have the best government that will help them gain money to re-establish their country. UNICEF

is one of the main corporations that is truly helping Haiti. They stated:

Hurricane Matthew — the most brutal Caribbean storm in a decade — devastated

Haiti. And, when disaster strikes, children are the most vulnerable. In fact, nearly 900,000 kids

are menaced by this catastrophe and its dangerous aftermath. Eighty percent of homes in the

most affected region have been damaged or destroyed. Nearly 176,000 people are living in
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shelters. Hundreds of schools are out of commission. Cholera cases are growing daily, making

safe, clean water a top priority . (UNICEF).

On January 12,2010, when a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, Haiti lost millions of people and the

country was destroyed. About 2.3 millions of people were homeless and they lived without clean

water. After talking about what Clinton and Obama were doing for Haiti, Cheryl Mills from the

Huffington Post says, “The earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12, took lives and

livelihoods, homes and hospitals, school and businesses, and so much more. In addition to the

incalculable human and physical losses, the earthquake threatened to rob Haiti of something

more elusive -- a moment, a momentum-- what has been one of the more promising moments

and positive momentum the country has enjoyed in many years.”(Mills). Since then, Haiti has

been one of the poorest nations in the world.

Fortunately,the earthquake did not hit the capital Port-au-Prince. The Earthquake only

struck 15 miles southwest away from Port-au-Prince. The earthquake impacted the cities of

Leogane, Gressier and Carrefour. They suffered large scale destruction, with up to 90% of

buildings destroyed in some places. “The UNDP had received reports that up to 98% of the city

of Jeremie, in Grand’Anse department have been destroyed.”(The Guardian). The most affected

was the city of Jeremie, where 98% of the city was destroyed. The port city of Les Cayes in Sud

was also feared to have suffered badly. “The situation in Les Cayes is catastrophic, the city is

flooded, you have trees lying in different places and you can barely move around.” its deputy

mayor, Claude Regis Determe, told Reuters.

Because of the Earthquake, Haiti went into poverty because it destroyed most of the

country and there was no money to invest in infrastructure. By viewing the Economic Condition,

it states that ”Haiti the normal yearly per capita salary is about $350. Around 37% of the
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populace live in urban regions and their pay midpoints $409 every year.”(“Haiti Information”).

The citizens of Haiti that do have money and a job only earn a small amount each year. This

money would only allow the person to buy clothes and food for their family. It would not be

enough to even try to rebuild their old, destroyed homes. “The World Bank defines extreme

poverty as living on less than $1.25 a day. A recent study by David Woodward published in the

World Economics Review claims that if we assuming pre-crisis levels of growth (1993-2008)

continue indefinitely it will take 100 years to bring the world’s population out of extreme

poverty and 200 years to bring everyone to the modest income of $5 a day at 2005 purchasing

power parity.”(Phipps). This quote means that with the amount of money Haitians receive each

day, it will take a long time for Haiti to get out of poverty. On the brighter side, Haiti’s economy

has grown much more. The USAID describes how the economy has changed:

The economy is largely informal and heavily dependent on small family farms. However,
agriculture has languished in the face of growing rural population pressures, recurrent natural
disasters, extreme weather events (e.g. droughts), and farmers’ limited access to information,
modern technology and practices. Haiti can also be a difficult place for businesses to thrive,
ranking 181 of 190 on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. Despite these challenges,
Haiti has experienced some positive economic growth in recent years. (USAID)
Open costs is on the ascent to meet the post-Matthew remaking needs and assets activation keeps

on being a test with interior incomes just achieving 13 percent of GDP.

Haiti is also going through poverty because of the inefficient and unproductive

government. Dairo,the author of “Poverty in Haiti”, speaks of this issue ”The biggest issue with

the interaction between aid, NGOs and governments is that Haiti was left out of the equation,

particularly its government. NGOs were identified as the most suited distributors of aid while the

state was left to a total collapse, leaving it in absolutely no shape to fight the high levels of

violence and extreme poverty in Haiti when most NGOs left the country. Particularly Haitians

needed the aid to (re)build the most basic infrastructure that they had lost or that was essential
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for providing better public services (administrative, health care, postal,…) and distributing aid.”

(Berrebi). The government of Haiti do not have enough power or money to restore all the homes

and buildings in Haiti. Since the earthquake, coping mechanisms are widespread and have led to

generalize temporary makeshift housing in a makeshift economy, where no saving is possible.

The extreme poor have but to live one day at a time and cannot rely on social safety nets or any

form of government support. This is a big issue because they are the ones who are suppose to be

controlling the money and expanding the economy.

Besides Haiti, the neighboring countries are affected as well because there is limited

trading and it is very expensive to exchange with Haiti. According to Dario Berrebi, the creator

of the blog Poverty in Haiti: Aid,Earthquakes & Imperialism, he states:

In fact, the state of poverty in Haiti is such that it completely stands out from the rest of

Latin America and doesn’t fit any of the models and recommendations usually elaborated for

these countries. Inequalities are through the roof, outranking by far all other Latin American

countries. Haitian poverty runs deeper and is more widespread than anywhere else on the

continent”(“Poverty in Haiti”).

Countries have to trade so they can give their residents the goods they desire. They need to trade

because not everything is made in one place, everything comes from different places and with

trading every country has a little bit of everything. “It has a limited trade with other countries and

the goods it is able to trade are very expensive. These changes would have drastic effects on

economy and trade in Haiti, many of them positive. They all,however, require large amounts of

money and resources. Once, Haiti is able to make money and pay back its many debts, it will

begin to build its economy through trades with other countries and will eventually be able to
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stability itself naturally.(Google-PDF). Mexico, France,Canada and the United States are the

only countries that are trading partners with Haiti.

GNI (Gross National Income) is the total of significant worth included by every

occupant maker in addition to any item charges excluded in the value of yield in addition to net

receipts of essential wage from abroad. According to World Bank national accounts data, and

OECD National Accounts data files, In 2004, the GNI of Haiti was 380.00 and in 2014 it was

820.00. Even though the GNI has increased by a lot, it’s still less than the GNI of other countries.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a financial measure of the estimation of every last great

and administrations created in a period (quarterly or yearly). The GDP of Haiti is $18.7 billion

and it had a 1.0% growth. In a 5-year compound, it had 3.3% annual growth. In the United

States, the GDP is $18.04 trillion USD (2015). The official poverty rate in 2015 was 13.5

percent, down 1.2 percentage points from 14.8 percent in 2014. In 2015, there were 43.1 million

people in poverty, 3.5 million less than in 2014. “It would take only 1 percent of GDP, or a

fourth of what we spend on defense every year to life every American below the poverty line

above it.”(The American Prospect).

Port-au-Prince and Los Angeles are the most populous cities of the United States and

Haiti. They both are popular cities in their countries and they both have poverty in them. ”In Los

Angeles 33.6% live below the poverty line.Over the last decade extreme poverty has fallen from

31 to 24% especially in urban areas and foremost in Port-au-Prince” (“Census Reporter”). Port-

Au-Prince did not get hit by the earthquake but all the people went to the city to find jobs to get

money so they can provide food to their families. In Los Angeles, a numerous amount of people

are unemployed which causes them to lose their homes and their money. In a 24/7 Wall St.

article, they compare the ten most poorest countries in the world:
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Today, more than 46 million people live in poverty in America, more than at any

point in the country’s history. However, compared to the poorest countries in the world, the

poverty rate in the U.S. is relatively modest. In some countries, the poverty rate is more than five

times the U.S. current figures. In Haiti, the highest in the world, 77% of residents live in poverty.

(24/7 Wall St.)

Compared to other countries, Haiti is the highest poorest country in the world. “The combination

of a large fault ready to rupture and a poor and poorly prepared-- area can lead to wide

devastation, when an earthquake strikes. This was one of the reasons one expert has been even

more worried about cities like Port-au-Prince than Los Angeles.” (Scientific American

Newsletter). Los Angeles isn’t as poverty highlighted as the capital city of Haiti because there’s

more danger in Haiti like in the city of Port-au-Prince. Haiti is always the country whose poverty

is always being announced on the TV because it has more poverty than Los Angeles.

As far back as the earthquake, Haiti has lost a great deal of cash which influences its

wealth. ”Haiti faces important challenges to generate faster growth and fight poverty. Economic

growth continues to decelerate from 2.8% in fiscal year 2014, to 1.2% in 2015 and is expected to

be around 0.8% in 2016 due to lower investments,uncertain political environment and a modest

recovery of the agricultural sector after a severe drought.”(The World Bank). The people can not

rely on any form of government support. In The World Bank continues and says“Fundamental

to the pervasive problem of poverty in Haiti is the long history of political instability and the lack

of governance…. While the restoration of democracy in Haiti is highly welcome development

and one, which has resulted in some encouraging process, the basic problems of governance

remain and are at the core of the country’s poverty problems.” (World Bank). The Government

of Haiti does not give its country any type of help or money. The government looks to reactivate
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and create agrarian businesses where Haiti appreciates relative focal points, among which are

fundamental oils, flavors, products of the soil, and sisal. The legislature energizes the inflow of

new capital and mechanical advancements. Families get separated because the adults have to

migrate to another country to get money to support their families by themselves because they

don’t have anyone to help them support their families.

In order for Haiti to get money, the nation has been accepting money,food or clothes so

that it could go to the people affected by poverty and hunger. Many people wonder where the

money they send goes to because the earthquake happened six years ago and Haiti looks the

same way as it was when the earthquake happened. Harvey from the New Internationalists

Magazine investigates why and says ”Ordinary people around the world dug deep and along with

pledges from foreign governments and other international donors around $10 billion was

raised….But two years later,with only a fraction of the estimated million internally disabled

people rehoused and a few signs of any real reconstruction, many are wondering where exactly

all the money went.”(Harvey). Many people believe that the government is collecting money just

so that they can use it to restore their power and their own wealth. While talking about the

Economic Growth, Henry Phipps from Giving What We Can says “A recent study by David

Woodward published in the World Economics Review claims that if we assuming pre-crisis

levels of growth (1993-2008) continue indefinitely it will take 100 years to bring the world’s

population out of extreme poverty and 200 years to bring everyone to the modest income of $5 a

day ....”(Phipps). It would take years for poverty to be completely gone around the world but if

everyone in the world do something to make a change we can all eliminate poverty in a couple of

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There are many different ways to reshape poverty around the world.Natalie Angley

explains a few options ”To make a difference there are dozens of organizations that donate

different useful objects to the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti. According to CNN, five

ways that people can do to help Haiti by donating money,making personal hygiene kits,

volunteer, be an advocate, or help rebuilding.”(CNN). UNICEF also collects money and 90% of

every dollar spent goes directly to assist children. There’s also other organizations that help the

people of Haiti like Hope for Haiti. It is a philanthropic association situated in Naples, Florida

and established in 1990 by JoAnne Kuehner. The mission of the association is to enhance the

personal satisfaction for the Haitian individuals, especially kids, through training, nourishment,

and social insurance. Also, Hope for Haiti has a crisis help division that has reacted to a few

catastrophic events since its establishment. We can all make a huge difference by donating to

organizations that are genuinely helping Haiti change so that Haiti can be reestablished and


Everyone ,that is concern about the poverty in Haiti, has wondered where all the money

that is donated goes. No one really knows because we don’t see any new changes or new houses

for the people in Haiti. NBC News has been investigating Haiti to find out where all the money

goes to and they discovered that:

The United Nations said that in total $13.34 billion has been remarked for the crisis

through 2020, though two years after the quake, less than half of that amount had actually been

released, according to U.N documents. The U.S government has allocated $4 billion; $3 billion

has already been spent, and the rest is dedicated to longer term project. (NBC News).
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All the money they have received is being saved for projects for the future. Hopefully, these

projects are homes or forms of shelters. The government should at least share a couple of the 13

billion dollars to the Haitians so they can at least support their families with clean food and


Life in Haiti is dreadful. People have to find a way to make money to get food to feed

their families. Haitians either make and sell their own food or the work in factories by sewing

and cutting shirts to earn their own money. With the little money they earn, they can not afford to

buy a nice lunch for their families. Before the earthquake, they would earn $5 a day. It’s a bit

more but they still can’t buy nice meals with that. They earn $21 / per week and $90 /per month.

Annually, they earn about $1095, which is less than what a rented apartment costs in the city of

Los Angeles. It might seem like a lot of money but it's not enough to buy a year’s worth of

groceries. “Decent statistics are hard to come by in Haiti, but most studies show that more than

half of Haitians live on less than $1 a day. Around 80 percent live on less than $2 a day. So,

making three bucks per day puts a person into a small elite of high earners. Life in Haiti is still

pretty tough on three bucks a day, but those workers are less likely to be hungry or have hungry

kids, they're more likely to send their kids to Haiti's schools (most of which charge amounts out

of the reach of the very poor).” (Davidson). Besides earning money to buy food Haitians have to

pay for their children’s education.

In Haiti, if the parents want their children to get an education they have to pay $130 each

year. La Ruche Enchantée, situated in a poor Port-au-Prince neighborhood, educational cost

expenses change from $127. To enroll a student in the first grade to $180. This is the reason

more than 20,000 children are not enrolled in school. The World Bank, a page full of world

statistics, found out about a program that are helping children ,in Haiti, get an education:
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Due to this, the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank provided financial and

technical support for a tuition waiver program, which was launched in 2007. Schools who met

program conditions, like an official permit of the government, were given $90 per student

annually. This amount is above the estimated tuition fee so that other school materials could also

be provided. The program covers children starting primary school between six and eight-years -

old. (The World Bank).

The enrollment rate of schools have actually increased due to this tuition program. It increased

up to about 78% to 90%, which is great because it means that Haiti is improving.

One of the most generous donors that is helping Haiti is the USAID (U.S. Agency for

International Development). It is the lead U.S. Government organization that attempts to end

extraordinary worldwide destitution and empower strong, equitable social orders to understand

their potential. This organization donated two times after Hurricane Matthew. In total $26

million dollars were donated by USAID. They are taking care of the Agriculture & Food Culture,

Economic Growth & Trade, Education, Energy, Environment, and Housing.

Lack of Quality Housing Stock: Over the next 10 years, the GOH estimates that the

country will require up to 500,000 additional housing units to make up for the pre-

earthquake housing shortage, replace stock lost during the disaster, and accommodate the

high amount of expected urban growth.Unplanned Urban Growth: Roughly 70 percent of

Port-au-Prince’s pre-earthquake population lived in informal settlements. These

neighborhoods lack access to basic services and are often located in high-risk zones.

Working with the GOH (Government of Haiti) and the communities themselves to better
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plan and upgrade these neighborhoods could immediately improve the lives of these

households. (USAID).

Poverty should be included more on the news and it should always be on people’s minds.

People should begin appreciating what they have in their life and they should also consider

donating a bit of money so we can change Haiti. Haitians are in need of clean

water,food,shelters, jobs to earn money, etc. With a lot of planning and the money that the

USAID donated, we can rebuild and reestablish all the houses and buildings that were destroyed

by all the Hurricanes that have hit Haiti and the 7.0- Magnitude Earthquake that happened in

January 12, 2010. This organization has also been transforming the lives of many people. They

changed the live of a grandmother named Dieula Rosembert. She has five grandchildren and she

sells cacao. One day, the middlemen of Haiti bought cocoa from her but they paid her so little.

She claimed that she could not even buy a loaf of bread with the money she earned. But with the

help of USAID, she now earns $1,395 for her cacao that she grows by herself. She is waiting to

gain a bit more money so she can get the chance to make her dreams, of building a chocolate

shop, come true. Anyone can help and join USAID transform more lives and rebuild all the cities

of Haiti like it used to be before it got damage.

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Bruenig,Matt,” How Much Money Would It Take to Eliminate Poverty In America?” ,

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