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Posted by on Jan 14, 2010 in Guest Contributor, International | 12 comments

Haiti: A Country in Need of Our Help (Guest Voice)

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Haiti: A Country in Need of Our Help

by Michael Reagan

As you have no doubt heard, a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti near her capital of Port-Au-Prince on Tuesday afternoon. It was the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti since 1770, and two of its aftershocks were nearly as intense.

The damage is horrific, and has only worsened in the wake of the aftershocks. Haiti’s centers of government, national and international, have in many instances been leveled. Hospitals are overflowing, and the country simply does not have the capacity to respond to the sheer volume of need.

Estimates of the death toll from Haiti’s leaders have ranged from 100,000 to 500,000, though the damage is too severe to project accurately. One thing is certain: the loss is sure to be astronomical.

Accounts and photographs have poured in, showing the world the extent of this tragedy. Haitian President René Préval recounted, “Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed. There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them.”

The Red Cross estimates that over 3 million people, a third of Haiti’s population, may need immediate emergency assistance. In the face of such need, the Red Cross has already run out of medical supplies. More are on the way, but no one knows when they will arrive, or how many they will be too late to save.

President Préval has asked the world for medical assistance, saying Haiti lacks the capacity to hospitalize the wounded.

In response to this devastating natural disaster, President Obama has order a Marine Expeditionary Unit, consisting of approximately 1,100 United States Marines, to provide humanitarian assistance and security as attempts to bring in outside aid increase in the coming days and weeks.

However, each of us should not simply take solace in the fact that some of our men and women in uniform are being deployed to provide relief — we should all join the rescue effort. Each able American should find a way to help bring relief to a nation that is facing a dire situation which will only worsen without significant and immediate aid.

So this week I am going to ask that you to help the Haitian recovery effort in some way, whether it is a direct donation or even volunteering to help collect funds for one of the charities listed below. Together, we can help make a difference for a nation where thousands of parents have been separated from their children and will not know for weeks or longer if those children have even survived this tragedy.

Here are a few ways to help this massive rescue/support operation:

? You can make an automatic $10 donation to the Red Cross by texting “HAITI” to 90999. The money will be charged directly to your cell phone bill and will go to an organization which, since its founding in 1881, has been one of the foremost emergency response organizations. You can also contribute to the Red Cross and read about further ways to help through their website — www.redcross.org.

? Catholic Relief Services, with a track record of rushing humanitarian relief to survivors within hours of man-made and natural disasters around the world, has already pledged $5 million to efforts in Haiti ad with our help can facilitate much more — www.crs.org.

? Doctors Without Borders provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. They have already established emergency clinics in Haiti — www.doctorswithoutborders.org.

? Samaritan’s Purse, founded by Franklin Graham, is a nondenominational evangelical Christian relief organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. http://www.samaritanspurse.org.

I want to thank each of you who are able to take a few minutes from your busy schedules to find a way to help. Your assistance may very well help save a life or enable a family to reconnect in the midst of a terrible human tragedy. And tonight, we should all say a prayer for those who lost their lives in this tragedy and those who remain in Haiti fighting for their survival.

Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation (www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org). ©2010 Mike Reagan. . Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.This column is licensed to run on TMV in full.

The copyrighted cartoon by Mike Keefe, The Denver Post is licensed to appear on TMV. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. All rights reserved.

  • DaMav

    I give Obama credit for bringing in a competent, honorable, humanitarian to help head up the effort. This should go a long way toward depoliticizing it in the future.
    http://tinyurl.com/yc4k4ev

    • JSpencer

      DaMav, it’s possible I misunderstood your comment. Who was it you were referring to as a, “competent, honorable, humanitarian” ?

      • DaMav

        I thought Obama made a good move bringing George W Bush in to help head up the relief effort don’t you? I reject those who are saying Obama only did it to have someone to blame if/when things go wrong. People should not be politicizing the immediate rescue and relief effort with so much horror on the ground.

        • JSpencer

          Pretty simple question I posed, I guess it’s hard for even you to come right out and say George W Bush is “a competent, honorable, humanitarian” eh? Probably because that’s a statement any thinking person would recognize as patently untrue. Yup, I’m glad GWB was brought on board, and I hope he can do some good, but we all know that whatever help he gives can only be a fraction of the atonement he owes. There are consequences to actions, and short memories won’t change that. Have you already forgotten about the 100,000 innocent civilians killed in that idiotic war a few years back? Funny how you claim to care about not politicizing this tragedy, when that’s exactly what you did with your first comment. Let’s try not to change the meaning of the words “competent”, “honorable”, or “humanitarian” – they already have definitions that work just fine.

          • DaMav

            I praised Obama for his decision and identified GW Bush with a picture in my first post. I praised Obama’s decision again in my response to your question. Now you want to rant and rave about Bush and play partisan politics with the selection. What’s up with that? You some kind of sorehead?

            “Thinking people” elected him President twice. You don’t speak for “thinking people”, just for yourself and maybe those who agree with you. Get over yourself.

  • rachelmap

    Partners In Health is another charity to look into. Charity Navigator rates them pretty highly.

  • Sabinal

    Don’t turn this into a “Save Obama’s legacy” front. There will still be more thousands dead compared to the 1100 dead over Katrina. It’s the same two issues
    1)poorly governed countries (or cities) made worse by Mother Nature
    2)political mudslinging and rationalization

  • DLS

    “Don’t turn this into a ‘Save Obama’s legacy’ front.”

    Too late. That includes this Web site, with the obvious political flavoring of this event[, too].

    “poorly governed countries (or cities) made worse by Mother Nature”

    Haiti is a close-to-home example of the apt term, “failed state” (like Somalia, say).

    http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/world/2009/01/14/under-president-obama-will-failed-states-like-somalia-merit-new-attention.html

    More can be said about Haiti here (Dominican example shatters typical excuses made for it):

    http://www.imf.org/External/NP/seminars/eng/2006/growth/ljcs.pdf

    Or the longer report:

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2007/wp0763.pdf

    I’m concerned that the emotional lefties will let their current emotions and their politics be a substitute for thinking ahead (as well as thinking, period), about what Haiti faces after others come in to help them recover from this disaster. (And what are our interests there, affecting what we “should” or might do there? See the first link I posted above, which asks aloud what Obama, i.e., US policy direction, might or should do with nations like Haiti.)

  • JSpencer

    Of course the “thinking” people weren’t the ones who voted for him, but that’s self-evident by now. As for the politicizing, that originated with you. My own part comes from having a low tolerance for untruths and disingenuous commentary. Take more care with your characterizations and you’ll see less debunking.

  • DLS

    “I thought Obama made a good move bringing George W Bush in to help head up the relief effort don’t you?”

    I agree. Obama was smart. It’s a deft, if intellectually out of reach to many liberals, “outreach” political move domestically, and more importantly and obviously, an even better one for foreign relations, because Bush is well-known for his humanitarian work on behalf of the USA, notably in Africa.

  • JSpencer

    I’m fine with bringing GWB onboard; I’ve already said as much (for those who read posts before responding to them) and think it’s a smart idea. I was taking issue with the characterization of said ex-prez as being (and I quote) a “competent, honorable, humanitarian”, which can only ring true for those who are comfortable ignoring the larger part of his record. If those characterizations were intended to describe someone other than George Bush, then by all means say so.

  • DLS

    “DLS, none of these links you posted makes your point.”

    Every time I post a link, it makes the right point I intend it to make. In this case, it was self-explanatory.

    “Call it ‘nation building’ or whatever you like, but we can help rebuild Haiti.”

    I’m calling it by its common, normal contemporary name. The point is, what do we want to do?

    It’s early, but it’s not too early, to ask (if one has the intellect and maturity, which ought to be there). What do we want to do? To use elite-wonk-speak metaphorical, smug lingo — treating the injury is fine, but what about not only other symptoms, but the patient’s disease? Treatment is not the same as cure. What do we want to do, cure the patient’s underlying disease, which made his injury worse? (We have no obligation to do so, or do anything now, for that matter. And there is no “should” here; there are only “should nots,” which we are avoiding so far. What do we want to do, however? What’s the future?)

    What happens next is among a number of things that the media neglect. I’ve written before, for example, not only about unrest that could happen (will we forestall or suppress it?) but about the future — after the food and water have been delivered, what then? Other details are missing, which some might politicize, but they are relevent. We’ve heard not a word, as I’ve written before, about Cuba. I finally heard something, from the fringe left, last night — that the “corporate right-wing media” [sic] here was omitting news of Cuban assistance, or suppressing it (denying Cuba has doctors or beneficial foreign policy, ’cause it has public health care and is nice to its neighbors, unlike the capitalist-imperialist USA, the guy was stuggling poorly to say). What about Venezuela (Baby Huey’s oil-enriched socialist paradise, should be so even with lower oil prices than before) and the Caribbean neighbors (beginning with the Dominican Republic, closer than Cuba)? (I suspect our media is simply shallow as usual, and reflecting typical ignorance in the USA of the Caribbean region.)

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