At 4:52 pm on January 12, 2010 life was typical in the city of Port-au-Prince; people were going about their daily lives. A mere 60 seconds later, the earth shook homes, businesses, roads, buildings, schools and infrastructure to pieces. Everything changed in just a few seconds.
More than 316,000 people were killed in that moment. More than 1.5 million people were left homeless. More than 300,000 people were injured. Everything changed in just a few seconds.
A year later, only small steps have been made. This story from the AP’s Jonathan Katz gives great perspective. My heart hurts at the need I saw as we met the orphans, ministered to residents of a tent camp, played with the children of the Carrefour neighborhood that was our base only 2 weeks ago.
Use caution and do research before giving money. Ensure that the organization you choose has effective, sustainable work that empowers Haitians to rebuild their lives. Haiti can emerge from this stronger than ever in her history; her people will be the key rather than handouts. Projects producing jobs that pay a living wage; creating durable housing; rebuilding infrastructure for water and sewer systems; and creating accessible education for every child.
Between 4:52 and 4:54, everything changed.