UPDATE 01/20/2010: Today a new earthquake has struck Haiti, measuring on the scale of a 6.1. The people of Haiti and the americans there trying to help them, need our help now more than ever. Please see the bottom of this article to see how you can help!
If you turn on your television, or radio, it cant be any shock to you that there has been a major earthquake registering a 7.0 in Haiti. This earthquake was unprecedented and was unlike anything the country of 9.7 million people had ever experienced. In fact sources say this is the first earthquake that could be felt in Haiti for over 200 years. The earthquake and several aftershocks reportedly originated only 10 miles outside of the capital city of Port-Au-Prince. This would be a huge disaster even in a well developed country, but in order to fully understand the extent of this disaster one would need to know a little about Haiti.
Haiti is a small underdeveloped and impoverished country that has a history of unfortunate happenings. Haiti has a history of slavery, poverty, and debt. Haiti’s has a legacy of debt that began shortly after gaining independence from France in 1804. In 1825, France, with warships at the ready, demanded Haiti “compensate” France for its loss of a slave colony. In exchange for French recognition of Haiti as a sovereign republic, France demanded payment of 150 million francs (modern equivalent of $21 billion).
It’s very important to understand the history of Haiti and its debt to ascertain how much they need the help of the international community to save themselves from this huge disaster. Even when time’s are at their best in Haiti, most people live in shacks in villages with no paved roads or clean running water. They do not eat daily, and the average child eats a meager regiment of food less nutritious than your family dog. Please make a note to yourself that I am not trying to over exaggerate the situation. The people of Haiti are to some degree helpless to improve their situation within their country due to corruption and a lack of opportunity. The Haitian economy would fall short of even being called third world, they do not have a retail market and visit what would be hard to consider as a flea market to you and I to buy food and other goods. The poeople of Haiti actually eat what they call “Mud Pie’s” at times to slightly appease their hunger. A mud pie consists of dirt, salt, and vegetable shortening. Dont believe me that people are actually eating this? See for yourself at National Geographic.
Okay okay, enough of the gloom-and-doom… I just brought all of that to your attention because it gives you an idea of how little the people of Haiti are going to be able to help themselves in this situation. The capital city of Port-Au-Prince reportedly has 5 fire trucks for a city of over 3 million, and the surrounding area has no paved roads and Fire Trucks have no chance of climbing the hilly terrain. The city of Port-Au-Prince is in ruin and the Haitian people do not have the resources to provide the type of aid necessary to rescue people buried under the rubble of their homes and buildings. It is unknown how many people are dead or trapped in their homes, but what is known is that anyone able to donate even the smallest amount to relief foundations such as the red cross, needs to do so.
President Obama has pledged that he will send troops and aid, but it’s never enough. There are several ways you can help.
What can You do?
1. You can travel to Haiti and lend a hand.
2. You can donate 10$ to the Red Cross towards the Haiti Earthquake Relief fund by text messaging the word ‘Haiti’ to 90999. This has been verified as true, and not a scam by Snopes.com
3. You can visit Yele.org and click on Donate to Donate money towards the Relief Effort.
4. You can say a prayer for Haiti and spread the word to your friends and family about how they can help.
Here’s Obama’s Special Report on Haiti: