Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-Fire at unauthorized orphanage in Haiti kills 15 children

UPDATE 1-Fire at unauthorized orphanage in Haiti kills 15 children

Fifteen children died in a fire that swept overnight through an orphanage in Haiti run by a U.S. Christian non-profit group, authorities said on Friday, triggering renewed controversy over the proliferation of non-registered orphanages in the poorest nation in the Americas. Two children were burned to death in the flames that ravaged the Orphanage of the Pennsylvania-based Church of Bible Understanding on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, the capital, while 13 died in hospital due to asphyxiation.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear. "This was a very tragic incident," said the director of the Institute for Social Welfare, Arielle Jeanty Villedrouin, adding the priority now was to find a new home for surviving children.

"We are going to place them in a transit center while we do research on their family and see if we can reunite them with their parents," she told Reuters. She did not elaborate. Four in five of the around 30,000 children in Haiti's orphanages have living parents who gave them up because they were too impoverished to look after them, according to the government. Nearly 60% of the population of 11.2 million survives on less than $2.40 a day, according to the World Bank.

Contacted for comment, a woman who answered the Church of Bible Understanding's telephone number in Port-au-Prince said: "We will make it known when it is appropriate." She did not identify herself and hung up without saying anything further.

There was no immediate response to a voicemail left by Reuters seeking comment at the number listed for the Orphanage of the Church of Bible Understanding at its office in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The group says on its website it started its first orphanage in Haiti nearly 40 years ago. It says its primary goal is "to spread the Gospel to any and all who will receive it."

Villedrouin said the orphanage, which housed around 60 children, did not have state authorization to operate. Just 35 of 754 orphanages in Haiti are officially authorized, with a further 100 in the process of getting a license. The government has closed around 160 institutions over the last five years, she said and has barred any more from opening.

Poverty, disability and a lack of access to basic health, education and social services mean many Haitian parents send the children they feel they cannot look after to orphanages or to the homes of wealthier relatives or acquaintances. Both practices are controversial. Critics say the children taken in by relatives are often used as servants, forced to work without pay, isolated from the children in the household and seldom sent to school.

Meanwhile, conditions at orphanages, which proliferated after the 2010 earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people, are often below standard. "Out of desperation, parents place their children in orphanages hoping they will receive better care than they believe they can provide," according to a charity founded by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling to reunite children with their parents.

"But, too often, this is not the case, as orphanages cannot meet children's individual needs." Worse still, children living in hundreds of orphanages in Haiti suffer sexual and physical abuse and some are trafficked into orphanages for profit, to attract donations, the London-based charity Lumos wrote in a report three years ago.

Donors, mostly from the United States and faith-based organizations, give $70 million a year to one-third of Haiti's orphanages, it said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.



Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Handling fake news Infodemic in time of Coronavirus epidemic

Social media has provided a platform where everybody can disseminate his her views without any supervision. Its excellent if the message is genuine but misinformation is equally disastrous. Health is such a topic where every Tom and Harry c...

Sentiment Analysis on Budget 2020: Long shot for solution to economic worries?

Industries and individuals alike had high expectations from the government to take tangible steps but the budget 2020 seems to have failed expectations....

How can technology help the future of mobility?

More than a billion people or one-third of the global rural population lacked access to all-season roads and transport services in 2016, subsequently hindering the socio-economic development....


Latest News

Faf du Plessis steps down as Proteas' Test, T20I skipper

Faf du Plessis on Monday announced that he is stepping down as the skipper of South Africas Test and T20I teams. His decision comes just days ahead of the upcoming T20I series against Australia.Cricket South Africas official handle posted t...

UPDATE 1-Scramble to track Cambodia cruise passengers after coronavirus case reported

Health authorities scrambled on Monday to track hundreds of passengers who disembarked from a cruise ship in Cambodia last week after a woman tested positive for coronavirus, heightening fears about the spread of the disease around the worl...

People from Gulf, Asia and Europe have shown interest in Indian aviation sector: Aviation minister

People from the Gulf, Asia, and Europe have shown interest in the Indian aviation sector Aviation minister....

Vistara, United Airlines launch codeshare operations

Full-service carrier Vistara said on Monday it has implemented a codeshare agreement with United Airlines, enabling passengers to earn and redeem frequent flyer points on either of the programmes. The agreement signed in June last year also...

Give Feedback