It goes without saying that the devastation of the earthquake Haiti experienced January 12th has touched everyone. The scenes that are described by the media can’t begin to show the true horror of what is being experienced by the persons who are victims, as well as those playing a part in their rescue. February 12th was set aside as a National Day of Prayer in Haiti, and the 12th through 15th as days of prayers to remember their loved ones.
Haiti was a very poor country to begin with and most of the population did not have the conveniences that we take for granted. Water, electricity, and sanitation were things that many of their citizens did without. Now, the situation is even worse. International aid workers have faced many obstacles since Day One: an overwhelmed airport, blocked roads, lack of communication, electricity, food, and water. Topping that off, crime is also a problem for those who are doing their level best to make things better. Looting always seems to follow a catastrophe. Some of the rescue personnel have had U.N. military escorts. Because there were no national building codes, many of the structures were built without rebar, or any type of solid support, which caused them to crumble. Aftershocks have also added to the fears of everyone involved.
We have seen a myriad of highly trained rescue teams, physicians, nurses, and missionaries, all representing their countries with one goal in mind – helping those who can’t help themselves. When they leave, other volunteers will replace them. Many who were involved in search and rescue were equipped with high-tech devices such as fiber-optic cameras and ultra-sensitive listening devices. These workers are skilled in complex rescue measures.
Now is the beginning of the rainy season for Haiti. This is just one more problem that they will face. As reported by the BBC, an international aid project called Haiti Flash Appeal, was launched by several humanitarian agencies experienced in dealing with natural disasters. Ninety-five percent of the $577 million target has been met. This target is an estimate of funds that will be required for the next six months in the areas of food, health, emergency shelter, and agriculture.
A brief breakdown of this information and the percentage of goals met for the appeal are as listed:
- Emergency shelter (47%). There are still 1.2 million persons sleeping in the streets, with at least 650,000 homeless children among them.
- Sanitation (33%). Although bottled water is being provided, there is not enough drinking water or sanitary waste provisions.
- Food (57%). With so many to feed, food has not yet reached all of the three million people who need it.
- Logistics (100%). Roads have been cleared, and the ports are providing access to allow more deliveries.
Philippine Online Chronicles reports that food distribution has become somewhat organized, by a coupon system. Women are given the coupons, as it was felt that the food would be better distributed to families when given to the women. Crime, as mentioned earlier, is rampant, and many women have lost their husbands and male family members, and are not safe from becoming victims of rape, and/or theft of food or whatever little they may have.
It is hoped that the funds sent to charities for Haiti will be managed by the United Nations or others that will help Haitians restore their lives in a responsible and productive way.
Texas America Safety Company has sent gloves, respirators, and disposable clothing for use in the recovery process. We, along with millions of people all over the world, send our prayers, as well.