April 12, 2010
A delegation from Haiti visited Washington recently to ask Congress for $100 million in additional funding to help the island nation recover from its Jan. 12 earthquake. The money is needed for HIV/AIDS health care services that were disrupted, said Esther Boucicault, the founder of the FEBS Foundation and a member of the delegation.
The quake left the FEBS Foundation's offices intact, so the organization can continue to provide prevention, psychosocial support, and case management services. However, the disaster destroyed 46 hospitals and clinics in Haiti and severely damaged 38 more, according to a joint report by the US State Department and the Agency for International Development. HIV/AIDS treatment centers were destroyed in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Leogane, and Petite Goave.
The quake displaced more than 1 million people, including an estimated half-million who were forced to seek refuge outside the capital. The foundation is struggling with an influx of new clients, said Boucicault, who also provides outreach to people living in tent cities.
"The HIV/AIDS epidemic is only going to get worse," Boucicault said. "This [earthquake] threatens to undermine the progress battling HIV/AIDS in Haiti."