Tuesday, January 19, 2010
where were we before the quake?
Like the rest of the world I've watched in horror as the situation in Haiti continues to unfold. Cities that have been completely flattened, the desperate need of food and water, bodies being piled into mass graves, pulling victims out of the rubble. It's terrifying, and I've come to appreciate more and more the luxuries I take for granted.
But at the same time I can't help but wonder - where were we before the earthquake hit?
Did you know that in Haiti only 40% of the children have access to basic health care? Half of the deaths are contributed to AIDS/HIV. The average Haitian makes $2 a day, making Haiti one of the poorest countries in the Americas. 80% fall below the poverty line. The literacy rate is about 65%.
It is a tragedy that an earthquake of this magnitude hit such a poor country at this time, but they needed help before this. I don't have much room to talk, seeing as I haven't given countries like Haiti a second thought since I took Geography my Freshman year here at BYU. But it makes me wonder why we need disaster to reach out to countries in need. The United States has been giving aid to Haiti (30% of Haiti's national budget comes from foreign aid), but how many people knew that? What more could we do if we realized how much we have, how much we can give?
Basically, I just want to remind everyone (and myself included) that there are so many countries and peoples that are in desperate need of help with or without natural disasters. Maybe if we paid more attention to the world around us we would be motivated to contribute to humanitarian efforts, or at least be more thankful for what we have.