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Transforming Haiti's countryside

Haiti, March 16, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Karl Grobl for NetAid  </span>
    Photo: Karl Grobl for NetAid

An article in today's issue of The New York Times discusses the struggles of Haiti's rural villages to absorb displaced families from Port-au-Prince, the country's sprawling and shattered capital. The Haitian government estimates that about 600,000 people — at least half of the city's population — have fled their ruined neighborhoods for the countryside.

You can read the story here: Rural Haiti Struggles to Absorb Displaced.

Many, if not most, of those leaving Port-au-Prince originally hailed from these rural areas. They moved from farming villages to the big city in search of opportunities: higher-paying jobs, better educations for their children and a more comfortable way of life. The majority of them never found those things despite long years of trying.

And now any semblance of opportunity is gone, buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings. Hundreds of thousands are crowding back into the countryside. What opportunities await them in tiny, poor villages?

Mercy Corps is working with a variety of partners to help answer that question. We're launching job creation and training programs to help local economies — and, indeed, the national economy — grow despite the worst catastrophe that Haiti has ever endured.

There are millions of stories across Haiti's countryside — stories of survival, stories of return and stories of uncertainty about what to do next. Our team in Haiti is working hard to make sure that those stories have a happy ending.