Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Tragedy is something that occurs on a daily basis. Devastation and death is truly an everyday occurrence. However in most cases we never hear about the things that occur or if we do they are but fleeting blimps on the nightly news. It takes a catastrophe of great magnitude to hold our attention for a long period of time and truly make us see the pain and loss that occurs. This last week on January 12th we witnessed such an act in the earthquake that hit Haiti. I have purposely kept myself from watching too much of the coverage as it is simply too overwhelming. Small doses are all I can seem to process as the stories are graphic and brutal reality.
The other evening I watched as a doctor from Canada spoke of the medical facilities they possessed. Literally they had none; A mere three bottles of alcohol, a hack saw, and a couple bottles of rum and vodka that had been given to him by someone. In the background the hack saw was being used to amputate the leg from a small child. I wondered as I listened if that child was even given any form of pain relief before the "operation" occurred. Even now the sheer brutal reality of the situation overwhelms me.
I know that so many have come to the aid of Haiti and rightfully so. Yet the degree of need is so great that it will continue to be there for some time. Battered already from several tropical storms in past years, this final blow was just that a final blow. Homeless people cover any open area available. The dead are piled high and at time moved with front end loaders and put into a dump truck to be taken to a mass grave so that the smell can be subdued somewhat. The basic act of survival can be seen in the panic of looting and fighting for whatever food or fresh water can be found.
I daresay that we and most others outside of Haiti can’t even begin to understand completely the degree of this event. We may try and yet I do believe that effort is futile. The fear of not knowing if other family members are alive; a child, a mother, a father. The pain of inflicted medical issues that have gone unattended for days; many just waiting to die. The hunger and thirst for food and water as there is none and has not been since the earthquake occurred. My heart especially goes out to the children. Earlier today in reading about Haiti, I learned that before the earthquake 48% of the population of Haiti was below the age of 18 before the earthquake occurred. This fact means that the majority of this devastation has occurred to mere children. There has been a rush of attempts to adopt children who have been orphaned yet only those that were in the process have been continued. There is a fear that this event could cause an increase in possible child trafficking and so any new adoptions are being slow to start up.
Although I know that this post sounds somewhat of a rant, it truly is more of a cry. I understand that no one can go into this and fix everything at least not overnight. There were already issues to be dealt with in Haiti even before the earthquake occurred. Those issues are still there and are even more compounded now. Yet it truly is a time when we as people need to rally together and truly help the cause. Lay down our differences, whether due to race, politics, financial status, religious beliefs and so on and help our fellow man, woman and child.
One of the easiest ways is the Red Cross Cell Phone Text Drive. A simple text of the word Haiti from ones cell phone to 90999 immediately donates $10.00 to the Red Cross Haiti relief fund. This drive has already donated a total of $22 million dollars, which is roughly one fifth of the $112 million that has been received from the Red Cross so far. It is truly the simplest form of donating there is. The amount is minimal yet the amount collected thus far shows just how fast it can add up.
There are numerous organizations to donate to. One can easily feel confused when looking at them all. Yet there are a few that I would like to speak of as I feel they are worthwhile and offer something that is specifically needed at this time in Haiti. The first one is Doctors Without Borders. This organization has been in Haiti prior to the earthquake in response to medical needs and is there now as well. The medical needs are astounding at this time and any assistance that can be given in this manner is well appreciated.
The next organization I would like to mention is Unicef. With the multitude of children who are now homeless or orphaned it seems only fitting that their need be looked after. This is a worldwide organization that has been around for many years and has done some exceptional work in regards to the rights and needs of the child.
These are only three of the several organizations that are out there yet there are some definite reasons I choose these three. There is no middle man or at least very minimal here. The money is given and already it is closer to where it can start working immediately. I urge you to please consider contributing to any or all of these as well as the others that are not listed. The need is great…. And we can do so much with so little. Blessings to all