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Posts Tagged ‘Earthquake’

Exactly one year ago, Haiti experienced one of the most deadly natural disasters in recent memory. The earthquake that killed an estimated 220,000 people and left many thousands more injured, plunged the country into chaos. Next Tuesday, January 18, the Council will host a panel discussion on how the international community and Haitian people responded to the devastating natural disaster. The panel will highlight how Haiti’s health infrastructure reacted to the initial dire conditions and recent Cholera outbreaks, what role NGOs and the international community can play in fostering long-term peace and recovery and how Haitian culture and political history makes this effort challengingly unique. To learn more about the program and to register, please visit the event page here.

This week, PBS stations are airing a number of programs about the earthquake and Haiti’s reconstruction efforts. Tonight at 11 PM, KQED will present “Nou Bouke: Haiti’s Past, Present and Future,” a documentary produced by The Miami Herald/ El Nuevo Herald and directed by Joe Cardona. It focuses on Haiti’s past, present and future in the light of the apocalyptic earthquake that now marks a new chapter in the nation’s history. The current episode of Frontline, “Battle for Haiti,” asks the question “can Haiti be rebuilt without the rule of law?” That program can be viewed in full here.

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Six months after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged Haiti, much attention has shifted to other needs and other crises elsewhere. But the Caribbean nation is still very much in crisis, and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, there’s still too much rubble and too little progress. With a new hurricane season now bearing down on the region, the situation may very well get worse before it gets any better.

In addition to helping to provide for continued relief and humanitarian assistance, philanthropy will be an essential player in long-term rebuilding. And the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy has conducted research and analysis to identify some of the most fruitful long-term philanthropic opportunities. Haiti: How Can I Help? Models for Donors Seeking Long-Term Impact outlines ways in which donors can help Haitians develop the capacity they need to build a brighter future for themselves, their communities and their nation.

The guide focuses in three interrelated “pillars of socioeconomic development” – health, livelihoods and education – and notes that promising nonprofit models already exist in these three areas.

In health, the guide emphasizes supporting community-based primary care systems because the chief causes of sickness and death in Haiti – from infectious diseases to injuries to complications during childbirth – continue to be mostly preventable and treatable.

With regard to livelihoods, the focus is on enabling households to provide for themselves by building assets and promoting environmentally sustainable ways to make a living. Finally, in education, the focus is on addressing the needs of children. More than one million Haitian children currently have no access to schools, in part because schools are physically or financially out of reach. The community schools model, focused on rural residents, helps overcome these barriers, and it also helps address the high teacher turnover by recruiting teachers from the local villages.

Working in these three key areas of development may not only provide long-term help, but short-term signs of progress as well. Haitians, and the global community at large, are in dire need of some good news.

–Jane Wales

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