Haiti Needs Our Help
Citizen Zed - 11/16/10
This year has not been good to Haiti. A devastating 7.0 Quake hit near Por-au-Prince in January. Tropical Storm Thomas skirted the Island early this month, creating flooding and complicating an emerging cholera epidemic. Now cholera is loose in Port-au-Prince, threatening to explode amidst conditions few of us can even imagine.
Cholera is preventable and treatable, but this assumes an infrastructure. Haiti hasn't seen anything approaching that for a long time. The Island has been beset by ecological disasters, political instability, HIV and tuberculosis. And now, though $1.15 billion in assistance was pledged by the US, little to none has reached the people.
"According to The Associated Press, funds are said to be hindered because lawmakers, including Sen. Tom Coburn, have essentially created a labyrinth through which allocated resources must navigate. The bill requires the State Department to verify that it would be impossible for the money to be mishandled" link
I've seen slums in Kampala, townships and massive squatter camps in Johannesburg, and valleys of the disposessed in Kwa-Zulu Natal. If I could do a Vulcan mind meld to impart the sense of such places, though it would be a violent mind bomb, I'd do it in a flash. And yet, the people in Haiti now are worse off than anything I've seen. So call your congress people about the hang up to the aid... and consider giving to some groups who are already doing some good at the difficult last mile.
One is Partners In Health, run still by the vision and leadership of Paul Farmer, subject of Tracy Kidder's acclaimed biography Mountains Beyond Mountains. These people have been in Haiti since 1985 and have the respect and recognition of the people. They know where the rubber hits the road and they know how to get things done.
Additionally, as one of the most basic needs is soap, Clean the World works to take the millions of pounds of soap and shampoo hotels discard and get it to impoverished people in need. They too are at work in Haiti.
Haiti is close. Haiti needs our help.