Posted By Melissa Bartell on January 15, 2010
From the UUSC website:
Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, was devastated by a major earthquake around 5 p.m. Eastern Time on January 12. UUSC and the Unitarian Universalist Association have launched a joint earthquake relief fund to help the survivors.
Most people in the capital spent the night outdoors, without shelter, or joined those frantically digging in the rubble to rescue the tens of thousands trapped underneath it. The situation is chaotic, communications systems are down, and debris impedes movement around the city. Nonetheless, the U.N. estimates that 2.2 million people are affected and fears that the loss of life may reach into the tens of thousands. The destruction is widespread, with extensive damage to homes, hospitals, roads, water and sanitation services, and electrical and communication systems. Major news outlets are all reporting severe devastation. An alarming number of buildings, including the National Palace and the United Nation’s Headquarters, have collapsed.
Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished and least-developed nation. Its society is rife with radical inequality, where large numbers of the population are systematically left out. Eighty percent of the population lives in poverty. Many people live day-to-day on what they’re able to earn in the informal sector. For those hundreds of thousands of poor people in Port-au-Prince, the daily struggle for food, water, and medical attention already amounted to an emergency — the earthquake has made these challenges infinitely more difficult to overcome, creating a humanitarian disaster on top of an existing humanitarian crisis. Poor Haitians who have never had equal access to services will be struggling to get basic necessities in the aftermath of this earthquake.
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