It's funny...just last week, while serving the people of Jamaica, we were talking about Haiti. Several of my fellow travelers were commenting on the poverty they were seeing in Falmouth, and thought that it had to be the worst poverty - ever. I then told them that, unfortunately, the poverty is worse elsewhere in the world.
I told them that actually, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with Guatemala right behind Haiti at #2. The people of Haiti are so desperately hungry, that often times they eat "mudcakes" for dinner. What is a "mudcake", you ask? A mudcake is when you scoop up a handful of dirt - mix it with a little water - and form it into a little "cake". You heard right - the people of Haiti are so poor - they literally eat dirt for dinner.
And now - an earthquake. Not just any earthquake - but the worst earthquake to strike their island in over 200 years. An earthquake bringing death and destruction to an island already ill-equipped to handle the problems they already had - and now compounded by Mother Nature.
The International Red Cross is already estimating that over 3 million people are affected by this tragedy. We (the American Red Cross) are in the process of trying to move supplies and food to the island - but because the air traffic control tower at the Haitian airport was destroyed, the airport is non-functional...all supplies must be moved by ship, which is a slower process, indeed.
If any of you have friends or family in Haiti, you can check on their well-being by going to the American Red Cross's Safe & Well website at https://disastersafe.redcross.org. This website acts as a portal for people to let others know they are okay. If you, yourself, are ever part of a large scale disaster (hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, floods, etc) you can always go to this website and register - thereby allowing your friends and family from all over the world to know you're okay.
Often times after a disaster, people feel called to help...and this is a good thing. However, people will start collecting clothing and other supplies and then try to get those to the disaster site - and this is not a good thing. As I mentioned above, the logistics of moving food, clothing, etc can be costly - and so we, at the American Red Cross, try to discourage this. The BEST way anyone can help right now is through money. Just a simple financial donation.
You can help. Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti. We take the financial donations and and then use them to purchase supplies while on the island itself - thereby stimulating the economy as much as we can, as well as not having to worry about shipping items.
The other way to help? Prayers. This island desperately needs our prayers right now. Say a prayer tonight for the people of Haiti - for their safety, for their well-being, and for those who have suffered losses at this time.