33 Things: Haiti Edition

Thirty Three Things — By on January 15, 2010 at 4:18 am

In light of the recent tragedy in Haiti, the editors and contributors at Evangelical Outpost have collected links from around the web to provide you with an at-a-glance view of the situation and the things you can do right now to comfort those affected by the devastation. May God have mercy on those in Haiti.

1. “Should the earth this moment cleave” – Torrey Honors Institute professor Fred Sanders takes us back to 1750 and the heartfelt hymns of Charles Wesley:

In 1750, after two earthquakes hit England, Charles Wesley wrote two small volumes of hymns on earthquakes. It is not too much to say that he developed a whole theology of earthquakes, in song. They answer the question, when a believer’s country is struck by such a disaster, what should that believer say, or sing, to God?

Here is hymn #5 from the first collection.

God of awful majesty,
Thy glorious name we praise!
Known are all thy works to thee
Of judgment, and of grace:
In thine only breast it lies
To raise or sink, revive or slay:
Wilt thou yet again chastise,
Or turn thy wrath away?

(continue)

2. Citizen journalists provide a somber view of the devastation (warning, graphic content).

3. Far from their red buckets at doors to our local grocers, the Salvation Army is on the ground in Haiti. According to their Disaster Services Director, the devastation in Haiti is a “most horrific thing.”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

4. Video and news articles shed light on the situation, but a picture is worth a thousand words (from the Washington Post).

5. The Feds are going to launch a “swift, coordinated, and aggressive effort to save lives and support the recovery in Haiti.” Here’s what the President had to say about the situation:

6. Fox News has a breakdown of the government agencies charged with providing aid to the people of Haiti:

Late Tuesday, deputy national security adviser Tom Donilon convened a meeting in the White House with senior representatives from the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, the Defense Department, U.S. Southern Command, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Homeland Security Department, the Coast Guard, and national security and White House staff to coordinate the government-wide response.

USAID said it was sending a disaster assistance response team and had activated its partners, the Fairfax County (Va.) Urban Search and Rescue Team and the Los Angeles County Search and Rescue Team.

Coast Guard officials in Miami mobilized cutters and aircraft to positions near Haiti to offer humanitarian assistance.

The State Department set up a toll-free number to call for information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747. The department said some callers may receive a recording because of heavy volume of calls.

7. Often forgotten in main street domestic policy debates about defense spending is the amount of time, money, and manpower that go into situations like these where the military is brought in to do relief work. Being deployed to Haiti are:

MORE THAN 5,000 MARINES, SOLDIERS

* Up to 3,500 soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg will be deployed in Haiti by Sunday. An advance group of about 125 troops were due to arrive on Thursday and 800 more will arrive on Friday.

* Another 2,200 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune, N.C., may arrive this weekend or on Monday for what initially is expected to be about a 90-day deployment.

AMPHIBIOUS GROUP, FLOATING HOSPITAL

* An amphibious readiness group with three ships — the USS Bataan, the USS Fort McHenry and USS Carter Hall — will take the Marines to Haiti. This group can produce its own purified water.

8. Before you consider donating food, supplies, and medicine, you should read this article by David Chase of the Global Post. In short, donating anything other than money only serves to compound the problem. Commenting on events following the December 2004 tsunami, Chase had this to say about the non-monetary aid sent to those victims:

It all amounted to a mountain of materials that confounded the efforts of the pros, and made it more difficult to deliver essential supplies on the earthquake-ravaged roads.

Months after the aftershocks stopped, the French aid organization Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres (Pharmacists Without Borders) conducted a study of that second tsunami. In a world where most people lack adequate access to medicine, the results were a travesty.

The group found that although officials didn’t request any medicine, they received 4,000 metric tons of it, or more than 4 pounds for each person in the tsunami-affected area. There were multiple-year supplies of antibiotics, and palette loads of drugs unknown to health care providers. Seventy percent of it was labeled in a language that locals did not understand.

9. Sadly, it seems that we might be seeing a repeat of the aid troubles seen in December 2004 after the tsunami; much of the aid that has been sent thus far has not reached the victims.

But into the third day following the 7.0-magnitude quake, the global helping hand was slowed by a damaged seaport and an airport that turned away civilian aid planes for eight hours Thursday because of a lack of space and fuel. Aid workers have been blocked by debris on inadequate roads and by survivors gathered in the open out of fear of aftershocks and re-entering unstable buildings.

Across the sprawling, hilly city, people milled about in open areas, hopeful for help, sometimes setting up camps amid piles of salvaged goods, including food scavenged from the rubble.

Small groups could be seen burying dead by roadsides. Other dust-covered bodies were being dragged down streets, toward hospitals where relatives hoped to leave them. Countless dead remained unburied, some in piles. Outside one pharmacy, the body of a woman was covered by a sheet, a small bundle atop her, a tiny foot poking from its covering.

Aid worker Fevil Dubien said some people were almost fighting over the water he distributed from a truck in a northern Port-au-Prince neighborhood.

10. Now that you’ve got the gist of the situation, here’s what is being done about it. First up, if you are local to the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles based abolitionist group Project Exodus is shifting the focus of Saturday’s Walk for Freedom to include the Haiti relief effort.

11. If you’re not in the Los Angeles area but still want to give, the good folks at Desiring God have compiled a list of charities doing relief work in Haiti to which you can give. Organizations on this list include: Compassion International, World Relief, and Northwest Haiti Christian Mission.

12. No doubt you’ve heard that flights to Haiti have been canceled at public airports. However, the good folks at Mission Aviation Fellowship have their own planes and means of getting them to Haiti. Send them some money and help them take much needed supplies through the friendly skies.

13. Our good friend Hugh Hewitt has been pointing his nationally syndicated microphone at several organizations to whom you should give: ChildHope.org, BeyondBorders.net, The Haitian-American Friendship Foundation, WorldConcern.org.

14. The TED community has a list of needs you can help meet:

* Help us track down helicopters! That’s our #1 need right now is transport. There are thousands of badly injured ppl in Port-au-Prince, and there are PIH hospitals, supplies and teams standing ready to treat them in the central plateau. It’s a long, difficult drive over uncertain roads — OR a 10-min helo ride.

* Satellite phones! Cell communications are mostly down and we can’t send docs out into PAP with no way to be in touch

* Donate medicine, food, blankets, supplies … anyone with in-kind products to donate can write to procurement@pih.org

* Lend your time and skills — we need experienced trauma surgeons, pediatric trauma surgeons, burn specialists, nurse anesthetists, trauma nurses

* We need solar chargers, generators, fuel for generators

* Water purification that does not require electricity — so massive quanitities of water purification tablets or a system that is standalone

* Transport — we have had a few offers of private planes plus a big Air Canada jet — we are filling them with doctors and supplies and mobilizing

* Donate at http://www.pih.org/home.html.

15. Individual citizens aren’t the only ones donating to Haiti. Corporate America is taking a ride on the giving train. From prominent companies in the Tech Industry such as AT&T, who is donating over $50,000 to support organizations erecting an emergency telecommunications network, to GE which has pledged over $2 million to fund relief efforts in Haiti.

16. Perhaps you’d like to give, but you don’t feel that you have the means to give in these difficult economic times. Charles Lee has some great suggestions for how you can live generously in hard times. For example, you should plan your generosity as opposed to spontaneously giving, if you don’t have money then give something else such as your time, and finally, consider partnering with organizations who are already established and doing good work. Check out the rest of Charles’ practical advice here.

17. Sometimes people dehumanize themselves enough to steal from you, the good American intent on donating to help the situation in Haiti. The Better Business Bureau offers some great advice to help you, the goodly giver, avoid the wicked people who would gorge themselves on your charity.

18. The new media has played a crucial role in the aftermath of the quake:

“New” media platforms were critical to delivering early information about damage and relief efforts in the aftermath of a 7.0 earthquake that rocked the small island nation of Haiti shortly before 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“As phone lines went down and darkness fell over Haiti, the full impact of today’s massive earthquake was difficult to know,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported. “But as with many recent natural disasters and emergencies, the extent of the chaos in the impoverished Caribbean island emerged quickly online… As major news organisations published quotes from officials on what had happened, eyewitness accounts were being posted to Twitter.”

19. NOW PARTICIPATE IN NEW MEDIA TO TAKE ACTION: Two clicks to donate money right now.

20. Do you have a cell phone on you? Of course you do. Pick it up and donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting “Haiti” to 90999. No kidding, it’s that easy.

21. Did you text? Congratulations, you have now contributed to the pot of over $3 million raised by the Red Cross via texts alone!

22. One question: are you a fan of Disaster Relief on Facebook? It’s an impressive page that demonstrates the power of social media based information distribution and fund raising.

23. For those of you still unsure the unique value Twitter can provide to news and information dissemination, you’re invited to see the Haiti situation Twitterly.

24. The medical situation in Haiti is dire. Fox News covers the story from Doctors Without Borders:

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) teams, who were already in the country working on medical projects, were some of the first to respond after the 7.0 quake hit.

“Where we are focusing our energy is on the rapid influx of patients from neighborhoods who know of our services,” Paul McPhun, MSF’s operation director for Haiti, said in a teleconference call. “The best we can offer them at the moment is first aid care and stabilization.”

The international organization had three initial areas set up in the capital of Port-au-Prince where they were providing emergency care, but McPhun said all of those centers have been severely damaged and are not suitable to treat patients.

As a result, tents have been set up at those sites to care for the severely injured. As of Wednesday, the organization said they had found two public hospitals in good condition and would begin treating about 500 people who need emergency surgery.

But one of the mission’s directors said the humanitarian group doesn’t have enough medical staff, equipment and medicine to properly care for the injured. The mission has about 800 medical workers in Haiti, but a large number haven’t been located since Tuesday’s quake, Stefano Zannini said.

“Most of them are dispersed somewhere, are lost somewhere,” he told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “We are not sure where they are.”

25. Hugh Hewitt has an interesting suggestion concerning what ought to be done with those in need of medical attention in Haiti. Hugh suggests we fly the injured to the United States for treatment. Given the scope of this tragedy, creative solutions will be needed to solve problems there.

26. Blogger Jared* Ebenhack has another creative and inspiring idea for solving this problem:

Remember 9/11 and Katrina, how scores of firefighters, policemen, and military personnel made an impact. Well, those kinds of personnel are needed in Haiti right now. If you are a police officer, for example, get eleven other officers together, or a combination of police, firefighters and doctors, get the permissions needed, get the support of your local church, and get down here. If you are an average Joe (like me), find out which skilled personnel from your area are coming to Haiti (or go put the idea in their heads) and get your church to buy the tickets, to purchase the tents and water filters they are going to need to live, etc. Contact me and I’ll set you up with translators. [HT: MereOrthodoxy.com]

27. So you like to be very intentional in your giving – you like to know where the money is going to go. The Red Cross understands, and has options ranging from a general International Response Fund to a fund Where the Need Is Greatest to a fund dedicated to Haiti Relief and Development.

29. Religion destroys everything, except, apparently, when a quake gets there first. Then religion moves in and re-builds everything. So impressive is the example set by the faithful that even the non-religious can’t help but imitate their God loving counterparts. From the Washington Times:

Secularists also have gotten into the act.

The Amherst, N.Y.-based Center for Inquiry promised it would send 100 percent of all money received to the Secular Humanist Aid and Relief Effort. It will forward the funds to Doctors Without Borders, which lost all three of its medical facilities in Haiti.

30. Before the quake, Haiti was a devastated country with a history unknown to many in the western world. MSNBC has provided a timeline to help us get an at-a-glance understanding of this broken and impoverished nation.

31. A Haiti expert gives some depth to the timeline and provides some context to this tragedy:

Ninety percent of Haiti’s economy is informal, meaning that it is neither taxed nor monitored by government agencies. Food riots less than two years ago led to the resignation of the prime minister. Still, before the quake, there were signs of improvement in the desperatively impoverished nation. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) mission, implemented in June 2004, led to positive GDP growth and the beginning of foreign investment in the nation. There has been a stable government since President René Preval’s 2006 election. And while the Senate election in 2009 was quite irregular, Haiti’s political trends have generally been improving.

Despite that, it is noteworthy that the Haitian state itself has not been able to take a lead role in the current crisis. This is the result of historical factors, part of which is the legacy of international patrimonialism. Generally, Haiti has endured three decades of the parallel state approach. As in Afghanistan, where the Karzai government has been accused of electoral and political corruption, Haitian governments since Jean-Claude Duvalier in the 1980s have been distrusted by the international community. So that community has provided aid to Haiti via international and domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs), rather than state-building. (Following 2008’s four tropical storms, for example, there was a recommitment of international aid to Haiti, rather than a renewed push to assist in its development.)

In this case, however, given the nation’s current resources, one does hope that the U.S. Marines will be able to secure relief supplies on behalf of the Haitian people; otherwise, even more chaos could befall the country.

If Haiti continues to be a charity ward based on NGOs who are accountable to the international donors and charities, but not to Haitians themselves, Haiti’s citizens will never be able to develop their own state institutions. While the immediate priority now has to be, of course, the survival of the quakes many victims, in the long run, Haitians need to become participants in their own development, rather than stigmatized recipients of charity. And the immense challenge of realizing that goal should be the context in which journalists tell Haiti’s story.

32. Missionaries speak to the spiritual condition of the people of Haiti:

What is the spiritual condition of the people of Haiti?

The Haitian people need to have a real power encounter with the One true Living God, Jesus. A wishy-washy gospel has been no gospel at all in truth, and has inoculated many to the truth. Pray for a great move of love, power and demonstration of the same.

32. From John Wesley (above) to John Piper – a poem about Jesus in Haiti:

Do you consider safety, or your health,
A sign from me?
I am not awed by might, nor struck by wealth,
Or poverty.

O, I am struck! And crushed. Buried, I wince,
And dying, pray,
A sympathetic Priest in Port-au-Prince,
Even today…

33. You’ve tried to wrap your head around this tragedy; you’ve searched your heart and mind to make sense of the video and pictures streaming in from a small island seemingly a world away. Hopefully, in addition to prayer, you’ve found it in your heart to give money or supplies to help relieve the suffering there, but you can’t help but wonder why. Why did this happen to the impoverished people of Haiti? Hadn’t they suffered enough without the devastation inflicted on them by one of the worst earthquakes in 200 years? Even the most faithful believer might be wondering, does God hate Haiti?

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving. If Christ’s people are called to do this, how can we say that God hates Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. That is God’s message to Haiti.

*Correction made, originally posted as Joe. Thanks Gary! ‘


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1693019089 Rachel Motte

    Thanks guys, this is really helpful.