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Haiti’s Devastating Earthquake: How We Can Help

Image Via NPR

If you’re unaware, Saturday, August 15th, tragedy struck in Haiti as a 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastated the southwest part of the country. The earthquake has reportedly impacted the lives of about 1.5 million people, leaving at least 1,941 people dead and more than 6,900 injured according to CNN (Cable News Network) at the time this article was written. However, those numbers are steadily rising as search and rescue efforts are delayed due to a lack of resources and heavy rains in the region causing mudslides that cut off access to many roads. This is a devastating event as Haiti is still recovering from the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that occurred in 2010 and is believed to have occurred along the same fault line

This earthquake has decimated homes, schools, offices, and churches across Haiti and has left hospitals overwhelmed. If matters were not already bad enough with Covid-19, this makes things even worse, and to top it all off, this comes just one month after the assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse. Recently, various donor countries and humanitarian organizations increased efforts to help the country such as the Pentagon forming a joint task force to assist in disaster relief efforts. Additionally, the United Nation and European Union are allocating over $11 million to help Haiti. 

With a 7.2-magnitude earthquake devastating the country, Haiti needs all the help they can get especially since the main source of local aid for many, the church, has been severely impacted by the natural disaster. Many Haitians have relied on the church as a source of aid during their lives as there is an absence of strong government institutions in Haiti. However, the earthquake has left many churches in ruins, leaving many people without any support. Despite this, many Haitian citizens refuse to let this break their spirit. “Our church is destroyed and many churches in and around Les Cayes are destroyed, but we have faith and we know that as long as people are still here, we can build back our community,” says Father Jacqueline.

Religious charities in Haiti are still playing a significant role in the mobilization of aid for the victims of the earthquake as organizations like Catholic Relief Services dispatch teams to Les Cayes and the surrounding areas affected by the disaster in order to provide clean water, sanitation, shelter and emergency supplies. Nonetheless, according to the New York Times, the rollout of aid has not been quick enough as the Haitian government has shown a lack of ability to oversee and coordinate it —an issue that was faced during the 2010 earthquake as well. 

So, with all this going on, how can we help? Well, there are many ways to get involved but one of the biggest ways that I encourage everyone to always help, if possible, is to donate either time or money as well as always sharing resources to help spread awareness. One organization you can donate to, that also aided Haiti in 2010, is World Vision. Currently, they are shipping supplies of emergency food and hygiene kits to help thousands of people. They are also working with partner organizations to address the needs of the families in the hard-hit areas by doing things like providing shelter, ensuring the well-being of vulnerable children through child protection services, and providing access to clean water and purifiers. 

You can also find a list of places to donate here.

Find an  updated report on the events in Haiti here!

Featured Image Via Shefali Lincoln

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