An earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude hit Port Au Prince, the capitol of Haiti, on Jan. 12, 2008. The United States immediately responded with efforts to help provide food, shelter and clean water to those who were lucky enough to survive the deadly event that left 3 million people in need of emergency aid. Celebrities and musicians alike united to record songs to sell and raise money for Haiti’s relief. Red Cross set up a text messaging system so anyone could text HAITI to 90999 to automatically donate $10 to relief programs. According to Foxnews.com, the Inter-American Development Bank immediately approved a $200,000 grant for emergency aid.
Six months after the disaster, approximately $2 billion was raised to help with construction. People were able to donate through the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, the Clinton Foundation, Yele Haiti, Operation USA, International Medical Corps or through count- less other organizations whose primary focus at the time was Haiti.
That all took place two years ago, and as time has progressed our efforts to help have decreased.
The organizations have moved onto the next re- lief project, and we have left Haiti to recover on their own with little help.
Now, if you drove through the streets of Port Au Prince, you would expect to see new buildings and signs of recovery, but you don’t.
Fly to the capitol and drive for two minutes outside the chain link gates surrounding the airport parking area and all you will see is a vast sea of blue tents. There still remains no standing structure resembling a home.
All the rubble has been removed, but nothing has changed.
Children are wandering the streets barefoot, holding plastic tubs full of dirty water. Women stand in doorways of what could be considered homes made of blue tarp roofs, plywood walls and a sheet for a door.
Haiti needs our help now more than ever in order to have any sort of further recovery.
Yes, a tsunami hit Japan, yes, the U.S. and its citizens should help Japan like they helped Haiti and yes, they were knee-deep in destruction and needed relief just like Haiti.
However, that does not mean Haiti gets put on the back burner.
Haiti cannot be forgotten just because another disaster comes along. They cannot recover on their own right now. They are left to fend for themselves and to rebuild their capitol which is nothing but cleaned-up rubble.
Not only does Port Au Prince need help, but so do the rest of the surrounding cities in the country.
Saint Louis Du Nord is located 60 miles, just a short and bumpy six-hour bus ride north of Port Au Prince on the northern shore of Haiti. When the earthquake hit, the city did not have any structural damage but felt the aftershocks that shortly followed the immediate hit.
The aftershocks sent the city into a massive, confused panic as people tried to decipher what was happening. As the days passed, communication from the capitol to surrounding cities increased and word of mouth spread the news as Haitians flooded to the northern cities.
This hurt the city of Saint Louis Du Nord, considering they are already the an underprivileged city. The flood of people caused the Haitians’ lifestyles and ways of providing for their families to dramatically change.
Haiti is an absolutely beautiful country, and even in the midst of destruction they celebrate each day as God’s gift. Haitians do not deserve to live in such poor conditions.
Two years ago, Jamie Foxx released the music video “We Are The World,” and said that he along with the other artists in the video “share the same commitment to take action to help Haiti rise from the rubble and rebuild.”
What happened to that commitment? What will it take for people to realize that six months of donations was not enough and that we need to continue to pour what we can into Haiti until they can actually start to rebuild?
Story by Haley Williamson Columnist
Williamson is a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communication. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graphic artist: Eva Kiviranta