Haitian people have lived through several major natural disasters, most recently being Hurricane Matthew, that tore through the country nearly two weeks ago.
The category four storm brought winds of over 170 km/hr, torrential rainfall and floods to an already impoverished nation. Hundreds have died, with thousands more left without homes or access to the resources they need to rebuild.
What’s more is the damages to the land and waters in Haiti that will prevent farmers from re-growing crops and provide an ideal environment for diseases such as cholera to spread – a disease already running rampant in the country.
Haiti is not known for affluence or an abundance of resources to aid before, during or after a natural disaster. It is recognized by experts as the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
The majority of aid will come from third party organizations, on the ground volunteers and United Nations (UN) support.
In 2010, scrutiny followed the millions of dollars donated to the Red Cross when little development was seen post-earthquake, and many people left without aid. One has to wonder if the same could happen this time around when Haiti calls for that help.
Victims in Haiti will stand in groups of hundreds, waiting for food and water to be passed through the communities, mostly through UN support.
Photos can be found all over the Internet where the devastation is easy to see.
According to quotes from National Geographic photojournalist Andrew McConnell, who was on-scene in several Haitian communities, La Digue Bridge – a primary link between the capital of Port-au-Prince and the southern areas of the country – has been destroyed.
The effects of the 2010 earthquake had still not fully subsided from the region. Many areas of the nation are still developing and rebuilding from the devastating loss of already-limited infrastructure. Now, Haitian people will be forced to continue to work through the devastation of Hurricane Matthew.
According to Wikipedia and other sources, Hurricane Matthew tore through parts of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Lucayan Archipelago, the southeastern United States and the Canadian Maritimes, but Haiti had taken a majority of the impact.
With resources few and far between, global attention and serious considerations must be given to the people of Haiti and the long, arduous journey ahead to rebuilding their homes. Natural disasters put a halt on infrastructure development in countries with the resources to do so, which is only amplified in poorer nations.
Organizations such as United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, Direct Relief and more are at work in the area, including numerous not-for-profits and community-led organizations.
Members of the Lacombe community even recently sent supplies including medical supplies and water-purification tablets to friends in the Dominican Republic who would travel to the community of Les Cayes to provide what aid they can.
It is important to recognize natural disasters with urgency and compassion. It’s just as important to verify the transparency and accountability of any and all donations made to support the responsive cause.
Keep in mind those in Haiti and all other areas affected by Hurricane Matthew. Diseases will continue to spread and much will need to be re-built in Haiti, as well as other countries affected by the disaster. Keep those affected in mind and remain aware of the ongoing efforts.