The Earthquake Tragedy in Haiti


The Earthquake Tragedy in Haiti*
By Marlon B. Raquel 

More than 200,000 Haitans have died on a 7.0-earthquake that shook the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010. The country's capital is home to about 2 million Haitans and 1.5 million of them are homeless today. The international community led by the United Nations and the United States of America did not turn their backs from Haiti. Relief and rescue operations flowed in the country. Many countries and thousands of inviduals from around the world donated cash and in kind to different organizations that are helping relief operations in Haiti. A seven-year-old British schoolboy raised more than 100,000 pounds ($160,000/P6.72 million) for Haiti's relief operations by cycling around the park in his area. His mother then posted his activity in the Internet and individuals began giving their donors. Such altruistic attitude is really overwhelming.

Haiti is the poorest country in Western hemisphere. Its already weak economy has been devastated with the earthquake which left millions of Haitans in the state of shock and disappointment. The National Palace, which President Rene Preval resides, and the Parliament and other government offices were completely destroyed. Imagine if Metro Manila would share the same fate with Port-au-Prince and the Malacanang Palace would be nothing but a pile of ashes and debris. It's terrible. According to the President of Haiti, almost 60% of the gross domestic product has been lost. You couldn't just imagine such tragic event in the history of Haiti. The country is still blessed because the head of the state is alive. They would start from the scratch now to rebuild the economy. The President will be temporarily living in a makeshift tent to show to his people that he is one of them. I am amazed with his gesture. A chief executive of a sovereign state living in a tent together with thousands of homeless people is no joke. I praise President Preval for that. I am wondering if Madame Arroyo would do the same.

The United States donated its old building in Haiti's capital as the country's temporary legislature and government offices. There would be a nominal rental fee of $1 per year, that's P42.00. The leadership of the United States in Haiti operations is really commendable.

I could not imagine if the same earthquake intensity hit Metro Manila. There are fears among Filipinos that what had happened to Haiti may also happen to the Philippines. Our country is in the Pacific Rim of Fire. We have many active volcanoes even in the seabeds of oceans. Volcanic activities under the sea may lead to calamities such as tsunamis and earthquakes. May the good Lord spare us from such disasters. How ready are we when such catastrophe takes place?

* January 26, 2010 4:00 PM
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