Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Major earthquake in Haiti

A couple of thoughts about yesterday's major earthquake in Haiti...

First of all, since I had already mentioned that I'm supposed to go out there next week, here's where things stand in terms of the trip status and the village that we go to. The village itself is far enough away from the epicenter that things should be OK there (it is on the far west coast of Haiti nearest Jamaica and Cuba). I do not know yet what it means for the trip. The RMI staff that coordinates and runs the trip may have to focus on more serious issues in other villages; and there also may be transportation problems (roads there are horrible to begin with, and even when things are "normal" it takes months to repair the roads when they are damaged).

As far as the more important issue of Haiti itself and its recovery... It's really hard to describe what it's like in Haiti even in normal circumstances. People hear things like "poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere", and 80% of the people living below poverty; but that's hard to really grasp unless you've seen it for yourself. Homes are usually nothing more than simple un-reinforced concrete walls with a wooden roof, and it wouldn't take much to bring them down - especially since many of them are built into the side of mountains. Most of the people have almost nothing and live a very hard life; so something like this (added to the hurricane and flooding issues from the last couple of years) is just piling misery on misery. Here's a picture I took on our last trip, and you can see that these types of homes are not going to stand up to a serious earthquake:


Edited to add this LINK for some amazingly sad pictures taken by some missionaries in Haiti. The last set of photos of the homes on the hillside show what the average Haitian is now dealing with...

So, if you're reading this, don't just turn the channel or ignore the news stories online - these people are really going to need some serious help to keep things from descending into total chaos. They simply don't have the means to recover on their own. Pray for them, look for opportunities to provide assistance, do whatever you can do.

Along those lines, the organization that coordinates our trips out there and runs the Hope for Kidz program will certainly be involved in some direct efforts to help; keep an eye on their blog if you're interested in helping them out (I know from past experience that pretty much every penny of assistance that goes to them gets passed on to the people in Haiti). There will also of course be many other groups and organizations providing help and relief.

Thank you,
JD

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Please see this website to read more about the HFK program and to make donations:
RMI Hope For Kidz Website Link

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