Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Of all the places to suffer an earthquake, Haiti was the least able to withstand such a disaster. When the 7.0 earthquake struck yesterday, January 12, there was no preparation. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and one of the poorest countries in the world. It struggles with AIDS, tuberculosis and malnutrition. Earthquake proofing buildings and homes did not make it on anyone's list of priorities. In the photographs of the destruction, it was clear that not only shanty towns were hit but also the homes of the affluent. Even the presidential palace was not spared.
Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, which also experienced damage, although nowhere near as severe as that in Port Au Prince, Haiti's capitol.
Estimates of the number of quake dead is estimated to be in the tens of thousands. Some estimates were as high as half a million dead in a city of two million. Relief efforts are hampered by the destruction of the Port au Prince airport, including its air control tower. This leaves rescue teams scrambling to send help by boat and via the damaged roads leading from the Dominican Republic to Haiti.
International aid is coming from governments, private charities and corporations. The sensitivity of the United States, which would be high in any case, is heightened by the presence of large Haitian communities in Miami, New York and elsewhere. France, Cuba, China, Brazil Israel and Spain have all pledged support in the aftermath of the earthquake.
To many thousands of Haitians living in the US, the wait for information from their relatives in Haiti is unbearable. Both land and cell phone communication with Haiti has been severely damaged in the quake, making communication with Haiti maddeningly difficult.
Help is urgently needed to aid the victims of Haiti's earthquake. There are many reputable organisations that are involved in collecting funds for the relief effort. The NJ.com website has listed a number of organisations (click here for article with list)
The Huffington Post web site has an even longer list of organisations that are taking donations. (Click here)
One of the beauties of the internet is that you can "shop till you drop" without leaving your home. This applies not only to shopping but also to giving charity. It is possible to make a donation in a few short minutes via most, if not all of these web sites. I was e mailed a receipt and a thank you note from the organisation to which I gave a donation.
It brings honour to America when its citizens are generous. Chances are that you can also find a religious charity through which to donate, as well as some very good non denominational organisations.
I have a feeling that Americans will come through very nicely for the people of Haiti. It has happened in the past. I 'm sure it will happen again Sphere: Related Content