MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - From natural disasters to political turmoil, the country of Haiti has been fraught with issues throughout the years. But now, the Caribbean nation is facing one of its biggest challenges yet as violent gangs control 75% of the capital city with attacks and abductions surging.
Neil Van Dine has lived there for 30 years working with Minnesota-based nonprofit Haiti Outreach with the mission of bringing clean water and sanitation to communities across the country.
"I've seen a lot of things. Unfortunately, not much compares to what Haiti is going through now," said Van Dine.
The work has become more challenging recently, with some crews forced to fly over gang-controlled areas to carry out their mission.
"The challenge of continuing to operate in an uncertain environment like Haiti is very real," said Van Dine.
Despite the issues, their work continues. The Haiti Outreach team has been able to build the first 24/7 fully functional water system in the country, giving more than 300 households access to clean water.
"It's inspiring to see our team stepping up, and leaders (and communities) stepping up to create a new future for their families," said Van Dine.
All of this would not be possible without the generosity of those in the North Star State, who have dedicated their time and money to the organization over the years.
"The people of Minnesota are as much a part of the success of this as the people in Haiti," said Van Dine.
He adds it's that dedication from Minnesotans that will help both Haiti Outreach and the country of Haiti move in the right direction. To learn more about Haiti Outreach and its mission, visit haitioutreach.org. To donate, click here: haitioutreach.org/donate.