When will Haiti get a break? In the midst of extreme poverty from tsunamis to floods to earthquakes, these people have endured more than some of us can ever imagine. My heart breaks for Haiti. Not because it's poor, but rather because these people's efforts at rebuilding their lives are continuously thwarted. Some people don't understand what the fuss about Haiti is. After all, earthquakes are nothing new. A so-called evangelist, Pat Robertson - who apparently ran for the U.S. Presidency?! - went as far as saying that the earthquake is a result of a "pact" Haiti made with Satan. Seriously, give Haiti a break.
I heard about the earthquake during a Young Professionals in Foreign Policy event I was covering for work Tuesday night, when the Brazilian representative mentioned it. Brazil and many other countries have a strong presence in the Caribbean nation as they strive to help it get on its feet. This country which was once a beacon of hope for the Diaspora - being the first Latin American nation to gain independence and the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, the result of successful slave rebellion - has fallen far into the depths of extreme poverty. Some people even refer to it as a "fourth world" country. Contrast this with the levels of opulence found next door in some places like the U.S. and it just doesn't make sense. But I guess it never does.
Gone in Seconds
For some reason, Haiti's unfortunate events have rattled me to the core. I don't know why. I wondered about an aid worker who I interviewed late last year. She's currently in Pakistan or Afghanistan I believe. During the interview she mentioned that her first relief assignment was in Haiti with a local NGO and right there, she knew she'd found her calling in life. I can only imagine how she must feel hearing this news. And now, according to CNN, about 100,000 people are feared dead - possibly more. Don't get a sense of the enormity of the situation? How many people do you know? 100,000 give or take? Well, imagine all of those people gone, just like that, in mere SECONDS.
It's just very disheartening to think that this poor nation's capital, Port-au-Prince, along with its administrative, health, governance, and diplomatic faculties have been rendered incapable in mere seconds. To make matters worse, the majority of the foreigners based in Haiti - relief and aid workers - have also suffered numerous losses with the UN reporting damages to its properties and possible staff deaths in the hundreds. It doesn't make sense, but Allah knows best.
If nothing at all, this event is a reminder that humanity is at the mercy of Almighty Allah. We humans really are very fragile, yet we tend to forget. A mere parasite, changes in temperature, or tectonic plates turning in their beds, and the fragility of humans is evident. Natural disasters and circumstances unify us, where man-made situations separate us. This could happen to any country, at any time.
How You Can Help Give Haiti A Break
With the extent of the damage, aid organizations are requesting monetary donations for now. For God's sake and for whatever you hold dear, kindly do one of the following. Even if all you have left is $10, please send $5 along. You will still have $5; many Haitians will not only have $0, they would have also lost their loved ones or shared in national grief.
> Text "YELE" to 501501 to donate $5 to Haitian national, Wyclef Jean's NGO Yele. Your donation amount will be charged to your phone bill. You can donate via the same cell number six times, I believe. For larger donations, kindly visit http://www.yele.org.
> Text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross; also charged to your phone bill. For non-US/Canada donations please contact your local Red Cross/Red Crescent.
You can also send your donations through other NGOs. But in order to ensure you're not being scammed, here are two lists of reputable NGOs with operations in Haiti:
- *Devex List (Development Executive Group)
- * CNN List
For those of us who cannot contribute in cash, prayers will do nicely. Also, once the alert is given for donations in kind - clothes, food items, etc - kindly make an effort to contribute.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.” [1 Corinthians 13:13]
May the victims of this disaster RIP. God bless Haiti, and God protect us all.
Photo Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3
Photo Sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3