Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It is located in the Caribbean and shares the island with the country of the Dominican Republic. Haiti poverty leaves the people just trying to survive day to day. It is about the size of the state of Maryland and has over 8,000,000 people.
Through the years, the Haitian people have cut down trees, using them for charcoal. In the last five decades, more than 98 percent of the country's forests have been lost. Since 1940, the resulting erosion has destroyed an estimated two-thirds of the country's farmlands while the population has quadrupled. The country is now referred to as "the silent emergency." Flood waters wash down the mountains like an avalanche. Rivers and lakes are dying. Tons of garbage and contaminants are breeding disease.
Until the 1960's, Haiti was exporting coffee. But soon, world coffee prices fell so low that Haiti could not compete. They had to find something else to plant.
They began to plant corn, peanuts and bananas to feed and support their families, until someone came on the scene and taught the Haitian farmers how to make charcoal and sell it. Charcoal production spread, but no one ever thought about the end results... no trees, no forests, no water and no food.
There is virtually no marine life... soil erosion runoff has killed mangroves, coral reefs and other marine life close to the shore. In order to fish, the people have to go far from the coast and the majority cannot afford seaworthy boats.
We heard the "cry of the poor..."
Haiti has the third highest rate of hunger in the world.
It has less clean water than Ethiopia.
Its malnutrition rate is higher than Angola.
Life expectancy is lower than the Sudan.