b-the change: One year later, Haiti needs us more than ever

Photo courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com

photo courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com

One year ago, we saw the first photos of the ravaged land of Haiti. We heard on-the-ground accounts of what it was like to be standing in a building when the first rumbles were felt. Then, we saw video. We watched people walk through battered streets looking up at what had once been an office building, an apartment complex, a bank. And we all wondered how they would rebuild

More than 300,000 people were killed in the largest earthquake to hit Haiti in over 200 years. More than 1 million people were left homeless. Countless children lost parents and even more lost limbs after being crushed under the rubble of what was once their shelter.

Throughout the next few months, aid poured in from countries across the globe. Aid organizations hit the ground running and, for a while, we all thought Haiti would be fixed. One year later, we’ve learned that rebuilding a nation from the ground up doesn’t happen overnight. And, as time ticks on people turn away.  They move on to newer issues, they forget. One year later, the photos coming out of Haiti are much the same as what we saw that first day. The dust that came from the rubble of buildings still swirls on the sidewalks and the unclothed kids still sit waiting for their next meal, unsure of when and if it will ever arrive.

Tents and tarps still stand in makeshift camps to help house those that were left homeless.

Arguably, the only significant change one might notice is that the rooms and hallways of medical centers are now stacked with cholera boards – beds with a hole cut in the center with a bucket beneath to catch the waste from patients who have fallen victim to the disease that broke out in October 2010. There is still much to be done in Haiti.

There are myriad humanitarian issues throughout the world that require the attention of the developed world. But, this week, to honor the first anniversary of the disaster in Haiti, take a few minutes to understand what you can do for those that are still living in the squalid conditions that were created on January 12th, 2010.

How to Help:

• Thousands of people have lost limbs after being trapped in the earthquake rubble. You can help fit them with prosthesis and provide necessary therapy by making a donation through the Knights of Columbus.

• Women living in camps face the same hardships felt by the larger community, but must also deal with the daily fear of rape and other sexual abuse. Poor lighting and nearly non-existent security makes this problem worse. Madre, a women’s rights organization, is working to provide overall aid to the nation with special attention paid to securing the safety of women throughout the country.

• Text donations are simple and effective, often times going directly to the organizations on the ground. Text ‘Haiti’ to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross. Or, visit their website for more information.

• Nearly 3,000 people have already died of cholera in Haiti and officials anticipate that the outbreak will continue to spread and could affect thousands more. Partners in Health is working to curb the outbreak and needs your help. Visit www.standwithhaiti.org for more information on how you can help their work

Haiti needs us now more than ever – we are all part of the same global community.  Tell us how you’re a part of our global community by taking part in our project, I AM THIS LAND.  Visit www.iamthisland.org for details.

January 13, 2011 by Michelle
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