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Last month’s deadly earthquake seemed to put Haiti at rock-bottom. What the county had left was destroyed completely. At this time, more than 150,000 people were reportedly killed and buried later in mass graves, although the exact number was difficult to determine and the reported number fluctuates. A large number of its citizens are homeless.
The country, located on the island of Hispanola, is situated west of the Dominican Republic. If you looked at the area on a satellite, you can see that Haiti is much less developed than the Dominican Republic.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with half it’s population illiterate. It was the first independent nation in Latin America and the first black-led republic in the world when it gained independence from France as part of a successful slave rebellion in 1804. For centuries, Haiti has been virtually neglected by the rest of the world. It’s history has been one of bloodshed and heartbreak, with political coups, hurricanes and natural disasters shaping it’s destiny.
So it’s a very encouraging sign that many groups have given their support to the country of Haiti during their time of need. Thousands of orphaned children will be in need of help. If you’re in Canada, one website to check out is Plan Canada.com. The non-profit organization has been front and center in the Haiti relief effort. They’ve encourage individuals to either sponsor a child through their website or text “HAITI” for a $5 donation to 30333 on their mobile phone. The Canadian government has decided to match all donations given by Canadian residents to the Haiti relief fund.
Plan Canada has also been on the front lines in regards to child trafficking in Haiti. With more children orphaned and an already lucrative child slavery trade in place, the country is ripe for abuse of its youngest victims.
Right now, Plan Canada’s focus is on continuing the influx of food, clean drinking water and immediate shelter for those that are homeless. Education, health, engineering, water and sanitation, psycho-social support are also on the list of importance for Haiti’s residents.
The recovery isn’t going to take months, but years. With the enormous outpouring of humanitarian aid from around the world, I sincerely hope Haiti will be able to prosper like other countries have. Unfortunately, I’m not holding sleep for that to happen, as corruption will continue to rear it’s ugly head.