What Can We Do For Haiti?
By: Valerie Wong, Grade 11
An earthquake rocked the world of the citizens of Haiti on January 12th, 2010. The natural disaster left thousands dead and countless others injured and missing. The government of Haiti is running around like a headless chicken, scrambling to put disaster in order.
With a disaster like this on our hands, you’d think that developed countries like Canada and the United States would be first in line to help. You’d think that our government is super keen on the idea of disaster relief. It would certainly ease the heat on them now – what, with the human-rights controversy surrounding prisoners of war in Afghanistan.
In fact, Canada is trying to help Haiti. Already thousands of prospective parents are lining up at adoption agencies, hoping to offer a place in their homes and hearts for orphaned Haitian children. It’s a heart warming image. Imagine the life of one of these orphans. Before the earthquake, their lives weren’t that great, they lived in poverty. Then the earthquake strikes and they lose their parents. Some even lose their entire families. All of a sudden, people – Canadians! – are asking about them, hoping that they can bring them to a strange new land where it rains all the time. Strange weather aside, these children are presented with new lives in a place of privilege and comfort. You can just imagine how that might come across as something of a miracle to the orphaned children.
President Barrack Obama has declared that the United States will contribute $100 million to Haiti’s relief, as well as 5,000 troops. The question now is whether or not the United States should be so deeply involved in Haiti’s reconstruction. Could this be a form of tied-aid, with debts to be paid back in the future?
Similar to our neighbour south of the border, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is offering Haiti a Canadian helping hand. For starters, he has set up an embassy in Port-au-Prince. This embassy acts as a refuge for the 6,000 Canadians in Haiti at the moment, until they can be evacuated from the Haitian ruins. Already a relief fund has been set up, matching donations up to $50 million. Perhaps this is just Stephen Harper’s patchwork method to lessen some of the burden from the controversy in Afghanistan, but it’s good to see that something helpful is coming out of it.
People might be working hard to revive the country, but the images are still horrific. Bloated, rotting bodies are strewn haphazardly in streets. As much as we’d like to think so, Haiti won’t be rebuilt in a day, a week, or even a year. For this, the world needs to come together and work as one to bring shape and form back to Haiti. We can’t throw in the towel – not now, not ever. Let’s hope for well-developed countries like Canada and the United States to maintain their much-needed help.