As we debate politics, let’s keep an eye on one of the worst human tragedies of 2016. I am talking about Haiti, and how another natural disaster has left people dead in that impoverished nation.
Once upon a time, I was a young international banking trainee and was assigned to study a loan to a U.S. company with an operation in Haiti. The loan carried the support of the U.S. parent company. In other words, there was no real risk to the bank. However, it forced me to look into Haiti, the country and the poverty that people live in day in and day out. I remember calling a couple of U.S. executives in Haiti and hearing stories of poverty that I could not believe.
It’s hard to believe that a place like Haiti exists in the 21st century, but it does. As someone there said years ago, it’s not the hurricane that scares us, it’s that we don’t have a place to go or a window to close.
As access and information to cut-off areas of Haiti increase after the hurricane, the news only gets worse.
The death toll has climbed to nearly 900 people, while an outbreak of cholera in three southern towns has killed 13 people and infected 62 others, health officials said.
For now, though, there is no way to know the precise toll of the storm.
There are still 500,000 people stranded in the south alone, officials said, because of extensive damage to an already feeble infrastructure.
More than 170 people have been reported dead in Les Anglais, which for now is accessible only by helicopter.
Just as the impoverished island nation, bereft of resources and capacity, struggled to prepare for the storm, the recovery has been hampered by the same shortcomings. And communications have been scattered.
Although news outlets are reporting nearly 900 dead, the government has for two days insisted on a figure less than half of that.
This is hell on earth, as someone also said of Haiti.
To be fair, there is nothing that the U.S. can do to turn Haiti around. However, there is a lot that we can do as individuals to contribute to charities and lessen the pain. And we can always pray for the Haitians!
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