|Another Earthquake Hits Haiti - Red Cross Efforts Continue|
|Written by Shane D. Williams|
|Thursday, 21 January 2010 00:00|
Many are still missing; rescue efforts are still under way; hospitals are overwhelmed; over 100,000 dead; resources are scarce; a people in panic: The last thing that Haiti needed was another earthquake. However, at about 5 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, January 20, survivors of the devastating earthquake and those providing assistance were frightened by a massive earthquake aftershock. The epicenter was 35 miles WSW of Port-au-Prince. According to the United States Geological Survey, thisaftershock measuring 5.9 in magnitude was the largest since the earthquake last Tuesday. Furthermore, this was the 40th aftershock recorded. This latest fright lasted just a couple seconds and the damage was not severe partly because it originated from 6.2 miles beneath the earth’s surface and because there was not much left to damage.
This latest saga to the unending nightmare in Haiti shows that there is no quick fix to the situation. However, every effort counts. This past Saturday the Belize Red Cross teamed up with Travellers Liquors, Belize Telemedia Limited and Wave Radio to host a telethon in an effort to raise funds for the earthquake victims in Haiti. The Perdomo family and staff of Travellers Liquors kicked off the event by contributing $4,200. The compassionate nature of the Belizean people really showed at that event as parents took their kids to the compound to donate. Donations came from individuals from all walks of life. Members of the business community contributed, Ministers of Government made their way to the Travellers compound to make their personal donation and many others gave kindly and made pledges.
Special recognition must be made to the high school and sixth form students who gave up their Saturday and stood all day in the middle of the Northern Highway collecting contributions from motorist. Representatives from the Traffic Department controlled the flow of traffic so that individuals willing to donate could not be disrupted. Though the sun was burning hot, the spirits of those youths were not dried up as they even developed their own chants and at the end of the day collected over $10,000 from off the road. In speaking to a couple of them, it was obvious that their goal was to inspire other young people to rise above themselves and contribute to the worthy causes. One young Red Cross Volunteer from Saint Catherine Academy said, “I don’t understand how someone could look at the situation in Haiti at the moment and not be motivated to help in some way.”
By 12 noon the total in cash, cheques and pledges was already more than $25,000. At that time, Raphael Martinez, Spokesman for the Belize Red Cross, said, “I am confident that the generosity of the Belizean people will take us up to $50,000 today.” That number seemed farfetched but as the day went on the phones kept ringing. Though these individuals did not wish to be named, Mr. Codd of Joseph and Taylors and Mr. Castillo of Santiago Castillo Limited made significant donations on Saturday - each of $5,000. There were others who donated or pledged as much and they are to be commended but truth is that the blessing is in the giving and not the gift. Therefore, there is no doubt that people of Haiti will be blessed from those individuals who donated the little that they can afford. Individuals like the eight-year-old girl who gave me 50 cents to put towards the Red Cross fund for the people in Haiti just because “it feels like the right thing to do”. That is the true spirit of humanity.
The Red Cross is an international organization and it carries out its disaster relief program as one unit. That is the reason why in Belize our organization is only asking for monetary donations. Transportation of goods such as blankets, clothing, food etc. to a state in emergency is extremely difficult and even costly. That is why the International Federation of Red Cross uses countries close to a disaster area for such donations. Presently there are sufficient items such as those ready to be distributed in Haiti. Money is preferred so that it could be used to purchase medical supplies or other scarce products in nearby countries. This method has proven effective.
The social aftershocks caused by the earthquake in Haiti may be far more devastating than the earthquake itself.