It has been one year since a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti at its core, leaving about 250,000 people dead, three million people in need of emergency aid and more than a million homeless.
In the first few months after the earthquake, the world was quick to provide medical aid and other recovery efforts. The immediacy of the international community’s response to this excruciating natural disaster not only captured media attention but also our hearts and minds. The outpour of sympathy from people in the United States and around the world led many to contribute millions of dollars to non-profit organizations and pushed many to become activists.
However, reconstruction is only the beginning. Today, Haiti is still in the process of digging itself out from under the rubble. Despite the world’s immediate aid and help, there are still more than a million displaced people living in tents and under tarpaulins. Additionally, Haitians are dealing with a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people.
Haiti needs to achieve the following: develop and implement strategies for housing, health care, government reform and agriculture, obtain clean water and access to medical care, clean up more rubble, house the displaced and promote jobs.
Drifting in and out of the media spotlight, Haiti’s plight can easily be thought of as old, outdated news. After a certain time frame and an overwhelming reaction by the media, this horrific disaster has been pushed out of the public’s consciousness.
With that said, both the pace of humanitarian relief and democratic recovery in Haiti recently has been disappointing. We must remember that just because the earthquake occurred a year ago, the struggle in Haiti is not over.
Even after a year, the University of Miami has not forgotten its devotion to reconstructing Haiti. Students, faculty and staff from across the school have done much to contribute to relief efforts. To get Haiti back on its feet, we must ask ourselves, “What is the most fundamental thing that needs to be restored in Haiti and how can I help out?” Whether it’s donating money, volunteering or simply becoming an advocate, we can all help alleviate the suffering of the Haitian people and contribute to the restoration of the country.
Clearly, the trail of devastation left in Haiti is going to be a tough obstacle to overcome and it will take many years. But if we sit back and show no interest in improving life in Haiti, who will this resolve the economic and health problems that this country is facing?
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.