Images of the Effects of Haiti's Devastation After the Earthquake

Map of Haiti; the Jan 12 , 2010 earthquake was 15 miles WSW of Port-au-Prince
Map of Haiti; the Jan 12 , 2010 earthquake was 15 miles WSW of Port-au-Prince

Proof That Goodness will Overcome Evil

Images of Haiti's devastation from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook the island on January 12, 2010 have been etched on the memory of many people throughout the world. The devastation has been top of my mind, so much that I had a dream last night about being in Haiti during the earthquake. It seems like my subconscious mind is still trying to process all the images that the conscious mind had seen.

We have been bombarded with the many images of Haiti, especially Port-au-Prince that it is impossible not to be affected by such pain, grief, destruction, sadness, loss and death. Juxtaposed through all of this devastation is a sense of hope, good will, compassion, empathy, generosity, selflessness, kindness, caring and cooperation. We have demonstrated that we belong to a global neighbourhood watch. As I write this post tears well up in my eyes from the thought that so many people cared about what happen to their neighbour on the small Caribbean island of Haiti. This is an island that most of us did not know much about; an island that was the first black republic since 1804; an island that is usually thought of as the Mecca of voodoo and poverty. Since the earthquake of January 12, I've thought of the people of Haiti in a more personal way. I see them as people like me, trying to raise their children and make a livelihood for them. A proud people even if they are considered poor.

I like many people of Caribbean origins, as well as the rest of the world have watched in horror the images of bodies of children, women and men lining the streets of Port-au-Prince. The images of the survivors wounded, with broken limbs, faces swollen, and faces of children that show their horror and fear of abandonment as they search for their parents or other adults from their family. We saw the images of people weeping for missing loved ones who may be trapped in the rubble or even dead. The images of collapsed buildings of hospitals, supermarkets, the presidential palace, residential homes and the roadways. Images of non governmental organizations, international news teams, medical teams, firemen, police officers who have embarked on the island to help with recovery efforts. We also saw glimpses of hope as people are pulled from rubble, alive; some with injuries but alive; others without so much as a scratch. Images of people thanking God for helping them survive such devastation, despite the loss of the little that they had. Images of the Bible, the rosary and churches; some of which were completely demolished by the earthquake.

Then on January 15th, we saw images of the survivors covering their nostrils to block out the stench of decomposing human flesh that lined some of the streets of Port-au-Prince. Images of complete and utter confusion as NGOs struggled to work out the logistics of getting supplies to those who need them immediately. Images of the imminent threat to survivors who were dying of untreated wounds. We saw images of planes unable to land because of capacity of the international airport.

Even in such devastation, there is hope as images of planes, helicopters and ships laden with much needed supplies of food, water, medical supplies, portable hospitals, tents for temporary housing and personnel to help with the recovery efforts arrived from many countries; from Canada, the USA, France, Britain, and many other countries of the world. This is international cooperation for the purpose of helping the people of Haiti. We saw the images of extending a helping hand; images of generosity, kindness and compassion for other humans in distress; images of love.

As the recovery work gets underway, CNN reports that death toll is about 200,000 as a result of the earthquake. We saw images of family members searching among the dead to find their loved ones and images of mass graves as hundred of thousand of bodies are buried. Juxtaposed with such imaginable devastation is the hope as survivors are pulled from the rubble, even day eleven after the earthquake.

Then there are the more pleasant images as the global community show compassion and cooperation through the efforts of global citizens, major communication networks, celebrities, non government organizations and governments pool resources for Haiti. Oprah Winfrey dedicated her show on January 20th to raise funds  for the people of Haiti.  On January 22, I watched a one hour telethon led by three major Canadian television networks as they raised 16 million dollars which will be matched dollar for dollar by the Canadian government. The same night, I watched a 2 hours telethon where celebrities in the USA, the UK and all over the world raised 57 million dollars for Haiti. This is a total of close to 100 million dollars in three hours. Now that is an image of true love, real hope, cooperation, compassion, empathy, generosity and goodwill. As a member of the human race, I can truly say we have demonstrated that we are a global community. Proof that goodness will overcome evil.

What are the lessons learned form Haiti?

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