It has been a week since the tragic earthquake in Haiti and the death toll continues to mount. Aftershocks continue to complicate the recovery and rescue efforts. We will never exactly how many lives will be lost, but the total could easily exceed 200,000. This could be the largest death toll since the great plaques of the middle ages.
Contributions of money, volunteers, and equipment are making their way to the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Eighty percent of the population lives on less than $500 per year. The shacks they call home are in rubble and the modest infrastructure of the country is destroyed. Aid organizations are doing their best; but their efforts have been frustrated by the inability to get food and medical supplies to those that need it the most. The Haitian government is non-existent; and people are fighting with each other over the meager rations available to sustain their lives. Most tragic is the plight of the Haitian orphans. Babies and young children with no one to help them are completely dependent on the love and caring of others.
One wonders why it has taken so long to get help to the populus. I guess it is just far more logistically difficult that I can imagine. The response to tragedies like Katrina and Ike in the US was sharpely criticized; and the cities of New Orleans and Galveston still show the aftermath of these natural disasters. If the United States cannot rebuild our own cities, how can we rebuild the country of Haiti. It will be a monumental task requiring the skills and charity of countries around the world…and it will take a decade or more.
And while the people of Haiti die everyday, cruise ships stop on the shore lines of Haiti and tourists frolic with their pina coladas. Can you imagine a more disturbing image? Those ships could be used to house and feed thousands of Haitians!
The situation will improve over time. Until rebuilding begins, let us offer our prayers to those who are suffering and our contributions to support the heros that are on the front lines of this desperate tragedy.