Haiti can’t catch a break.
Time and time again — from the turn of the 20th century right up to the present — the island nation has been beset by trials and tribulations.
Most of the situations that bedevil Haitians strike in the form of natural disasters. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods — they all visit Haiti like tourists.
Think about this:
Beginning in 1904, Haiti has faced two dozen major — very major — disasters that have killed hundreds of thousands of people and left an even larger number homeless.
And just since the turn of the 21st century, the nation has faced eight major hurricanes that have devastated the land, cities and towns and people. Of course that’s not all.
In 2010, a Jan. 12 earthquake killed more than 300,000 people. And in the fall of that year, a cholera epidemic — likely born in the rubble and filth left by the tremor — killed about 4,000 and sickened more than 350,000.
If that isn’t enough, sometimes the nation and its people are plagued by man-made problems, mostly political and economic. Haiti has the unwanted title of the hemisphere’s poorest nation, and earlier this year amid all the natural disasters, its president was assassinated.
Now Haiti’s people are again facing life-threatening disasters.
On Aug. 14, a 7.2 earthquake struck the southern portion of Haiti, leaving several hundred thousand people homeless, destroying some towns and heavily damaging others. At least 2,300 people have been killed and that number is expected to grow dramatically.
Tropical Storm Grace pounded the nation the day after the earthquake, turning roads to mud and creating landslides that destroyed houses and blocked roads that weren’t washed away.
Safe drinking water in areas hit by the quake is as rare as political stability. Sanitation in the most heavily damaged cities of Jérémie and Les Cayes is compromised — or non-existent.
So here’s the bottom line: Haiti needs our help. Again.
As Record reporter Ruby Thomas noted last week, several local non-profit organizations have already swung into action — in fact, some of them have never paused in their efforts to help Haiti and its people.
Gerry Delaquis is a native of Haiti who serves as the Haiti coordinator for Louisville-based Water With Blessings. Delaquis, a member of St. Bernadette Church, grew up in Jérémie and told Thomas in an emotional interview that he is “in a position to help and I will.”
Water With Blessings has worked in Haiti for most of the past decade, providing water filters to communities. Those filters can produce a continuous supply of clean, safe drinking water, something Haitians have never taken for granted.
The Cathedral of the Assumption has a sister-parish in Jérémie, St. Louis Cathedral. The latter has been heavily damaged, and the Cathedral of the Assumption’s people need contributions to increase their efforts in Haiti.
Catholic Relief Services, as it always does, is conducting relief work in Haiti — something the organization has done consistently in recent decades.
These are all good and just efforts, all deserving of our help. We can’t let the frequency of Haiti’s needs deter our willingness to provide assistance. If you’ve contributed to Haiti charities in the past, please do it again.
If this might be your first time providing some financial aid to those trying to help, please join the effort.
One thing is certain, the need isn’t going away anytime soon.
Record Editor Emeritus