Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thoughts, Prayers are with Haiti as News of the Earthquake Pours In

Many of us have been terribly saddened by the news of a massive earthquake in Haiti. The severe quake hit Haiti shortly before 5:00PM, hitting 7.3 on the richter scale and causing a hospital in the Port-au-Prince district to collapse. Santo Domingo, in the neighboring Dominican Republic, has also been affected. Tsunami watches remain in effect. According to the (UK)Telegraph, thousands may be dead.

President Barack Obama made a brief statement following the earthquake:
“My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this earthquake. We are closely monitoring the situation and we stand ready to assist the people of Haiti.”

According to Time Magazine, the Department of State, USAID and the United States Southern Command is preparing to administer humanitarian aid.

Katie Couric spoke with Raymond Alcide Joseph, Haiti Ambassador to the U.S., who provided a dire update, calling the quake a “catastrophe of major proportions”. “Please tell the world Haiti needs them right now,” he said. You can view the video below.

Americans with ties to friends or family in Haiti have been frantic, seeking news and calling loved ones. Other well-known personalities have been sounding the alarm here in the U.S. This tweet came from Wyclef Jean: "Haiti just got hit with a Major EarthQuake please call your family out there Now."

On Facebook, Twitter, and other forums, there has been an outpouring of support, prayers and information. Some looking to help have turned to charities that have announced intentions to provide relief.

Certainly, at this point, information is the most critical need. But in the days, weeks, and months to come, it will be the job of the community to ensure that the parties with an obligation to act and to stay the course on awareness, relief and rebuilding in Haiti stay the course. And lest we forget who those parties are at the moment, that would be our government, the U.S. corporations who continue to profit from unfair labor practices in Haiti, and humanitarian aid and charity organizations. That would also be you and me.

Peace to Haiti.

Image of an injured person being carried from the wreckage after the Earthquake in Haiti.
*Credit: Associated Press/Radio Tele Ginem)

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