Much done, much to do in Haiti

National governments, charitable organizations, and average people have come together to help in Haiti. But there is still much more that needs to be done.

Our guest writer is Jack Lundee, webmaster at Everything Left

On Tuesday, January 12th, a devastating earthquake rattled the small island nation of Haiti, changing the landscape of the country forever. This tragedy has allowed national governments, charitable organizations, and average people to come together as a cohesive unit to bring relief to a nation that is in urgent need of it. Consequently, it is vital to understand what has been done in the area and most importantly, what more there is to do.

When the earthquake first struck, the humanitarian effort was almost instantaneous. The United Nations immediately sent an extra 3,000 troops and workers, the World Bank donated $100m to the area, and, in the private sector, some celebrities even donated as much as $3m of their own money.

Relief organizations big and small have given food, water, and manpower to do whatever they can to help. Yet, the country is still in desperate need of trucks to haul out rubble and basic medical supplies to help the wounded. The situation in Haiti is so dire that these efforts have had as many failures as successes. In terms of what can be done, the surface hasn’t even been scratched; this is a sentiment that no one understands better than former President Bill Clinton.

The former President joined up with former President George W. Bush to create the Clinton Bush Haiti Relief Fund, but has also had direct involvement with relief efforts through his foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative. With the help of the man behind the CGI, Doug Band, the operation has been at the forefront of international aid and philanthropy since its inception in 2005. The CGI has helped more than 10 million children gain access to better education, granted more than $150 million in medical research, and has provided treatment to over 30 million people for tropical diseases.

Although it’s still early, there’s one major element of restoration that has been overlooked: construction. Haiti’s infrastructure has been shattered and there is an open question over whether the country can afford all the costs of repair and reconstruction. But the rebuilding process provides an opportunity to meet modern day Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and to approach this in a “greener” sense. Organizations like Architecture for Humanity will make this possible. The nonprofit design services firm aim to build “a more sustainable future through the power of professional design.”

The tragedy in Haiti has shown the worst of what Mother Nature can do, but has also shown the best of the human spirit, whether it be through philanthropists and nonprofits or help from the simple individual. People from around the world came together to bring help and aid however they could. Getting this struggling nation back on its feet will be a battle, but with the help of organizations like the CGI and AFH, it will be a battle with an undoubtedly positive outcome. Nevertheless, there is still much to be done to not just dig Haiti out of the rubble, but to bring hope back to its people.

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