Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Haiti: Perspective

January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti.

So what?

Why should we care about the earthquake that happened over a year ago when, since then...
  • An 8.8 earthquake hit Chile
  • A volcano erupted in Iceland
  • Typhoon Megi hit Taiwan
  • There was a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
  • A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Myanmar on March 18, 2011
  • and, of course, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan on March 12, 2011
Each of these disasters have been compounded by tsunamis, blackouts, contaminated water, disease, and an ongoing nuclear diaster.

So why still care about Haiti? More importantly, with so much devastation in the world, how can you?

I don't want to play the "who's got it the worst" game. I'm not interested in downplaying the gravity of any of these disasters or the many other disasters that are not listed. I am not going to attempt to place a value on a lost life.
But please don't forget...

This country was the poorest country in the western hemisphere...before the earthquake.
This country suffered from a broken and corrupt justice system...before the earthquake.
This country ranked 149th out of 182 countries for human rights development...before the earthquake.
This country was hit by four back-to-back hurricanes...before the earthquake.

Haiti was in dire need...before the earthquake

Imagine having hemophilia and getting a knife wound, the knife wound is life-threatening itself, but the hemophilia means that you can't heal yourself. Haiti couldn't afford this kind of crippling natural disaster because it doesn't have the tools or infrastructure to rebuild itself.

For years, Haiti has been weakened by poverty, corruption, political upheaval, social injustices, and unthinkable crimes against children. When quake hit, Haiti broke and I don't know how it is going to rebuild itself.

But I know it will.

I know this because the people of Haiti fought for their freedom and then fought for their survival. They are resilient. And I know this because there are millions of  people out there who care about Haiti. I'm hoping that you'll become one of them.

If you'd like to reach out to the people of Haiti, here are some great avenues:

Compassion International
World Vision
Haiti Rising (this is a new one to me!)
Choose Haiti

If you are looking for other ways to help with any of the disasters mentioned in this article, let me first recommend the work of Compassion International and World Vision. In terms of breadth, these two organizations very nearly cover the globe. In terms of depth, there is no greater, more lasting investment you can make than sponsoring a child in poverty.

Aside from these two there are a few other stand-out organizations:

UNICEF (child relief)
USAID (government organization)
Doctors without Borders (medical)
AmeriCares (non government international humanitarian)


  1. Another great organiziation is Haiti Foundation of Hope ( My husband traveled there on a medical mission team this past November. HFH was founded by a couple who live in Vancouver, WA.

    We were so hoping he could meet our LDP student while he was there, but Compassion had not yet opened up visitations.

  2. Thanks Jill! I'll have to check them out. I have several friends who live in the Vancouver/Portland area so I'll have to check it out.

  3. P.S. Jill I would love to chat with you about sponsoring an LDP student. I've had some conversations about it recently and I'd love some firsthand experiences.