American Red Cross in Haiti, by Amy Chavez, David Sanchez, and Tim Stone.Many of us had probably never heard of the nation of Haiti until a catastrophe fell upon them.
Let me educate you about the nation of Haiti and what they are known for.First of all, Haiti is located southeast of Florida just a little further east of Cuba neighboring the Dominican Republic.
Haiti is well known for being an agriculture oriented country. Agriculture is the principal economic activity in Haiti. They mainly produce cassava, rice, sugarcane, sorghum, yams, corn, and plantains. Most of the farms and plantations are privately owned by Haitians. Their Industry consists largely of light assembly of imported parts and the manufacture of textiles.
The lifestyle in Haiti was very humble and simple. People did most of their commerce at little flea markets. It is rich in vegetation as well as in culture.
Unexpectedly on Tuesday Jan 12, 2010 tragedy struck the nation of Haiti. An earthquake hit with a magnitude of 7.0 in the richter scale. This tragic event would have changed the life of an entire nation forever. The earthquake happened around 16:53 local time in the small town of Port-au-Prince. There were at least 52 aftershocks with a magnitude of 4.5 or greater that followed.
The damages were devastating. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their loved ones as well as their homes. There was a lot of sorrow in the streets as people watched what they had worked for their whole lives collapse down to mere debris. Statistics show that nearly 3 million people were affected by the earthquake leaving almost 1 million people without a home. Government officials reported an estimate of 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings completely destroyed or damaged.
Human losses were not only shocking and alarming but rather devastating. Government officials also reported that an estimated of 316,000 people died and another 300,000 were people injured as a result of the earthquake. There was not enough time or man power for a proper burial for those who had passed.
Children were the ones that suffered the most. Many of them became orphans at a very young age. With no home and no parents these little ones had no clue on how to handle a situation like this or what they had ahead of them.
As a result of this incident people tried to look after their families and provide resources that were very scarce since they had lost nearly everything they owned. People tried everything they could to get a hold of food, water, and many other things needed for basic survival. Military forces stepped in to try and put order to such chaotic situation. Some causalities happened in which the military had to use force to control a desperate riot.
In the middle of all this commotion some tried to evacuate the country and go to a better place. It was nearly impossible to get so many people out of there. Some were not allowed to leave and the military had to regulate who was able to evacuate. Some extreme actions had to be taken in order to evacuate as many people as possible. Those who evacuated left in extremely overloaded boats.
Those that stayed had to face the after effects of the earthquakes with little hope. This has probably been the hardest hit the poorest country in the western hemisphere has ever taken.
When almost all hope was lost, a great organization, The American Red Cross, arrived. They came to the rescue when the survivors of the earthquake most needed it. The American Red Cross provided immediate aid including some of the many resources needed for survival. Some of these things were drinkable water, food, medical assistance, shelter, clothing, hygienic products, among many others. The American Red Cross was exactly what Haiti needed and what they were hoping for.
Volunteers did and are still doing a tremendous job helping people get back on their feet in Haiti. Two years after the earthquake they are still providing aid. Here are some facts and statistics on how the American Red Cross is helping Haiti: 2.4 million people received health and hygiene promotion messages, 2.6 million people were reached with cholera programming. This help was crucial to prevent more people from getting sick and dying from unsanitary conditions. Thanks to the American Red Cross many children and adults have the benefit of good health and more sanitary living conditions.
The American Red Cross has delivered more than 25 million liters of safe drinking water to different areas affected by the Earthquake. That is nearly 1.25 million liters per day which is enough water for about 320,000 people. So far about 15,000 people have been vaccinated and The American Red Cross is aiming to reach 250,000 people. Volunteers are also helping people register at the official family linking Web site or placing phone calls to loved ones abroad and find family members scattered through different settlements in Port-au-Prince. So far about 33,000 people have been assisted in this way and they have been able to be reunited with their families. The American Red Cross is also helping Haiti-Americans living in the United States who are looking for immediate relatives in Haiti.
Today, thanks to the hard work and the generosity of the American Red Cross, many people that were left homeless now have a place to call home again. We now see children smiling and playing again. Many of them back in school.
Rebuilding Haiti has not been an easy task but after long days of hard work we can see the fruits of such great effort. Nearly 36,270 people have received homes. Neighborhoods are being built from the ashes and Haiti is starting to look again as the lovable and welcoming place it used to be. This has also given locals an opportunity to earn money.
The American Red Cross has helped 436,000 people in Haiti learn how to prepare for future disasters. There is still more to do, the work is not done yet. Every effort makes a difference no matter how big or small.