Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Yesterday, a 7.0- magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, on the Caribbean island of Hispanola. It was the worst earthquake to hit the country in 200 years, with the equivalent power of serveral nuclear bombs. When I heard the news last night, I couldn't believe it. Haiti is a country full of proud people, a vibrant culture and significant history but it suffers with violence, cruel politics and brutal poverty. A disaster like this, piled upon the other miseries just seems unbearable. When I was in the Dominican Republic, which shares Hispanola with Haiti, evidence of the agony and injustice that Haitians have to endure was unmistakable. Haitians were not allowed to cross the Dominican border, were widely discriminated against and agencies have documented Haitians being enslaved by Dominican plantation owners. I'll never forget the stoic faces of the Haitians that I spoke to. And now this. Haiti's capitol, Port- au-Prince, has been devastated, with collapsed buildings and bodies lining the streets. Officials expect the death toll to exceed 100,000.
Haiti needs help. The easiest way is to text "Yele" to 501501, this will automatically donate $5 to Haitian muscian Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Foundation and be charged to your cell phone bill. Or you can donate $10 to the Red Cross to help by texting "Haiti" to 90999. You can also donate with a Visa card to Oxfam to provide relief. For a list of authorized agencies to donate relief for the Haiti earthquake, go here. The Red Cross and Unicief are charities that I regularly support so I 'm making my donations through them. I'm also in contact with the active Haitian community here in Chicago to figure out what supplies need to be shipped to Haiti. What will you do to help Haiti?