Haiti Earthquake One Year On


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01 - Heart And Soul20110109How has the power of religion coloured Haiti's responses to the earthquake?

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

One year after Haiti's devastating earthquake, Edward Stourton visits the country to discover how the power of religion in Haitian society has coloured its responses to the traumas of the past year.

He finds a complex situation.

The capital Port-au-Prince is awash with international aid agencies.

Many are well known, but some of them are evangelical agencies from the United States as much concerned for Haitians' souls as for their bodies – in a country until now dominated by the Catholic church and the Voodoo religion.
Inevitably, tensions arise.

Meanwhile, the government seems powerless, and one year after the earthquake a million people still live under canvas.

[Photo: Edward Stourton with Haiti's chief voodoo priest Max Beauvoir. Image by Tim Mansel]

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02 - Heart And Soul20110116The effects of religion on international aid 12 months after Haiti's earthquake

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

In the second of two reports from Haiti one year after its devastating earthquake, Edward Stourton continues his investigation of how religion has influenced the provision of international aid.

In the midst of a cholera outbreak he finds a powerless and mistrusted government, a health system kept going only by foreign agencies, and a deepening child trafficking problem.

The ruling elite are intent on caring for themselves and staying apart from the suffering poor, while one million people are still living under canvas.

In a country where religion is an often an explosive mix of Voodoo and Catholic beliefs and practices, American evangelists are now offering aid in exchange for souls. And they are talking of God's "curse" on the country's voodoo roots.