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Haitian Earthquake Relief - Why?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 • Posted January 27, 2010

In the two weeks since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the death toll has climbed to 150,000, and the number of injured is currently estimated to be 194,000. In a country with only 10 million inhabitants, that works out to 1.5% killed and 2% injured.

Take into account that Haiti was already the poorest nation in the western hemisphere and factor in the loss of the infrastructure (water, electricity, food, roads, shelter), and the full magnitude of the damage caused by the 7.0 quake begins to emerge.

The outpouring of support has been immediate and powerful. Text messages can be sent and donations given. Concerts have already been put together. Around the world, countries are sending food, clothing, water, doctors, engineers,,,, whatever they can. Everyone is rising to the occasion.

And yet, there remain questions.

In a country with a history of corruption, how will the aid be administered? Exactly what is to be rebuilt, and who will be paying the tab? And, the question I've seen on blogs and Facebook, why send all our aid to Haiti when we have so many problems of our own?

I hate to put too simplistic a spin on the answer; but, it is simple. Because we can.

Even after two years of a devastated economy, huge job losses and slow recovery, we are still the most prosperous and powerful nation in the world. Even on our worst days, when we feel we have nothing, we have so much more than others in this huge world. We are the example that others look to and aspire to become. And, we are the one to whom the hand is extended when others need help.

We were in the Ukraine to help with radiation poisoning after the reactor malfunctioned. We are in Iraq and Afghanistan trying to update a society mired in tribal traditions. We went to China to help those affected by unprecedented flooding. And we keep going to more places all the time. Even when the residents of these countries sometimes despise us and don't seem to appreciate our help.

But, I can assure you that the young children who have food appreciate the meals they are receiving. I feel certain that the people receiving medical treatment for the injuries they've received appreciate that we are there. Their governments, and some of their citizens, may speak out against us; but, the PEOPLE are why we're there, and the PEOPLE do appreciate us responding.

We have millions of our own citizens that go to bed hungry; but, we also have churches and aid organizations making sure that there are safety nets in place to try and help all of them. We have millions who don't have a place to live; but, we have groups that are building houses for them and finding temporary shelter. We have millions who are not as fortunate as the rest of us; but, they are not huddled on a blanket in the middle of piles of rubble with decomposing bodies all around and no running water.

We are helping the Haitians because it is one of our core beliefs, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or other, to help those in need. We can't solve all the problems of the world; but, when we can so easily identify a problem that needs to be addressed NOW, we can focus on it and do all that we can.

So, I go back to my original response. We do it because we can. And I think that's reason enough.

It’s all just my opinion.

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