Almost three months since the earthquake hit, there has be certainly been a decline in the sense of urgency surrounding Haiti’s recovery. Fewer stories are written about the country, and there are fewer calls for donations. Though the immediacy of the disaster may have passed, there is still a great deal of work to be done to bring stability to the nation and its people. Click here to find out how you can help, and read below about how important it is to keep Haiti in our minds. – NewsOne Staff
Warning: I am about to get on my soapbox about Haiti. So if you were thinking about giving money to the relief effort but haven’t quite gotten around to it, now is the time. Spare yourself the guilt. It’s been a little over two months since a massive earthquake leveled much of Haiti. The natural disaster caused more than $7.5 billion in damage—120 percent of Haiti’s GDP—and it is feared that the death toll could exceed 300,000. Though it’s impossible to imagine more bad luck, even for Haiti, it is feared that the rainy season, which begins next month, could endanger the lives of an additional 200,000 homeless Haitians in the flattened capital, Port-au-Prince. A recent New York Times editorialurged aid organizations to move faster and better, describing the situation as dire: “In hundreds of crowded settlements around the country, like the ones sheltering more than 600,000 in Port-au-Prince, food, water, medical care and security remain spotty. Large swaths of the earthquake zone remain untouched by aid. They are choking in rubble, and trucks and volunteers have barely begun to scratch out safe places in the wreckage for people to live.”
Click below to view GALLERY: Haiti Earthquake
And then there’s hurricane season, which starts June 1.
Even without the floods and the storms, Haiti’s reconstruction is expected to cost more than $11 billion. At a U.N. conference this week, the United States and other donor nations committed substantial aid: $5 billion for the next 18 months and almost $10 billion more over the next five years. Charity Navigator, a well-respected guide to charitable organizations, has reported that Americans donated more than a half a billion dollars in the first two weeks of the crisis alone, and another half a billion in the two months afterward. They even remade “We Are the World.” The federal government has also sent millions in infrastructure and medical aid. But there’s more to be done, and Haiti has very little time to build safe harbor.
Unfortunately, our news cycle has moved on to sexier stories such as the Texas textbook tempest or, of course, the health-care reform law. I know there’s lots of competition for your eyeballs and attention spans are short, because that’s what we in the media tell you every day. But don’t let it distract you because I’m not just nagging for dollars. I also want all us news junkies to consistently keep a sliver of our focus on news coverage about Haiti. Our attention is the linchpin in the effort to fix Haiti.