Tuesday, July 13, 2010

6 month anniversary of earthquake in Haiti

Yesterday, millions around the world took a moment of silence to remember the earthquake that occurred 6 months ago in Haiti. The quake, which registered as a 7.0 on the Richter scale, lasted only 35 seconds but killed 230,000 people and left millions homeless. On this anniversary, American political leaders reaffirmed US commitment to not only help Haiti recover from the disaster, but to invest in the country's long term growth and prosperity. In a written statement issued yesterday, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said that "We are committed to helping them realize the Haitian vision for a better nation." Bill Clinton, UN special envoy for Haiti, promised to continued working to get donors to honor their pledges for funding the Haiti recovery.

Widespread international outcry for support following the disaster resulted in a relatively large and efficient humanitarian response by more than 140 countries. Over 1.5 million Haitians are currently living in US built displacement camps. In one dramatic turn of events, more people now have access to safe drinking water than they did before the earthquake. Before the disaster, only half of Haiti's urban population had access to tap water, while many people had to purchase their water from street-side vendors. Humanitarian efforts have emphasized drilling bore holes and distributing 5 litres of water per person per day.

While the international response in the months following the quake have greatly helped Haiti recover, we must continue to support the humanitarian efforts. With time, it will become easier for people to forget the disaster. However, the long and arduous process of rebuilding the country must get underway, and that will take our continued support.

-Matthew Thwaites