You can help the survivors by donating to the Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Partners in Health. Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti is also taking donations for earthquake relief. I know as well as anyone how hard things are right now. I know a lot of my readers are unemployed, or living on a limited budget. Small donations add up, though, and much of what will be desperately needed in Haiti in the coming weeks and months comes very cheap. If you can spare $50, that’s great, but if you can only spare $5, give that. No matter how bad your lot is right now, I can guarantee you it’s better than living in a shattered country without power, food, medicine, or clean water.
I can barely imagine a worse place for a devastating earthquake to hit than Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. Even worse, the main shock originated very close to its largest city, Port-au-Prince, and nearby aftershocks are continuing. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, died in the earthquake itself, and given the lack of infrastructure even more may perish in the near future from disease and starvation. Many of the nation’s most significant structures (including the National Palace) have been destroyed, its slums have been flattened, and many of the buildings still standing have suffered irreparable damage and will have to be demolished.
Disgusting immoral monsters like Pat Robertson have already begun to attribute this disaster to the imagined sins of the Haitians. People of genuine moral character living in the actual world can show you that, far from being the work of some spirit, the quake is the result of geological processes that are relatively well understood. Chris Rowan’s explanation of the earthquake is particularly clear and accessible. Anyone who claims that the Haitians had it coming for any reason, much less the vengeance of an imaginary sky-man, deserves your permanent contempt.