EDITORIAL - Help Haiti


On Tuesday January 12, 2010, nearly two million people in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince experienced what could only be called a living nightmare. It was late evening when an earthquake registering magnitude 7.0 shook the densely populated city, leaving several dead, missing and thousands more unaccounted for. 
Six years later and destruction has once again visited our neighbouring nation with the passage of Hurricane Matthew last week, which left at least 1 000 dead and hundreds more injured, with that number expected to rise as the full magnitude of the impact is ascertained.
String of disasters
Hurricane Matthew is only the last in a long list of disasters to befall Haiti, which has suffered lashes from repeated storms, hurricanes and floods in recent times.These were all the more devastating in light of the fact that 80 per cent of the population in Haiti live in poverty, with very little of the basic necessities for human life – food, clothing and adequate shelter.
Last week’s strong winds and rain have only served to heighten the severity of Haiti’s social situation. Already limited resources and existing infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed, and the loss to quality of life is unimaginable to an already impoverished nation. 
In truth, the full scale of the damage done is only beginning to register. 
International support
In the face of so much adversity, an outpouring of goodwill has been evident from countries and transnational organisations around the world. Previously the subject of several assistance programmes and donations, Haiti’s recent catastrophe has spurred on support on the international front. 
Official reports indicate that the US for instance will be sending assistance to help rebuild infrastructure, especially a bridge that was destroyed by high waters. Here in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has also sent a team to Haiti to provide help, in particular emergency operational support. Regional communications organisations have even stepped forward to make communicating to loved ones and receiving pertinent information easier.
More assistance needed
These gestures truly demonstrate the wonderful spirit that characterises humanity. It is at times such as these that religious, political and ethnic differences are put aside and the love for humankind shines through in displays of kindness, charity and unity. In a world where economic hardship is prevalent and environmental disasters frequent, it is heartening to see that generosity still abounds.
While the forthcoming assistance is welcomed, there is still a need for more resources to help Haiti. These large donations should in no way discourage every individual from making a contribution. Locally, there are several efforts under way to do so, and persons are urged to check reputable media sources for more information on how they can contribute to the hurricane relief.
Let us all start showing our love for our Caribbean neighbour by giving generously to uplift them in their time of need.

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