No doubt you've been following news reports of the devastating Haiti earthquake and the staggering death toll and damage.
Sagely's husband is from Haiti and still has family there. I've asked her to share her family's reaction to the quake and how they have been coping with the tragedy.
My husband came over from Haiti when he was 8 years old (1989). I spoke to my MIL (his mom) today, and she said she has several family members over there...many cousins, sisters, brothers, friends, etc. I think she has a total of 14 siblings, so six of them and their respective families are still in Haiti. She said her sister and three of her cousins worked in the capital building (the equivalent to the White House in the United States). Most of her family lived near Port-au-Prince, in a place called Delmar. According to her, Delmar was more severely affected than the capital. I haven't been able to verify that according to my news searches, though.
From what I understand, no one has been able to get in touch with anyone over there. The hot-line number people can call to find out who survived has an hour-long wait on hold only to get a recording that says they don't know anything yet. My MIL said she and the eight sisters who are here in the US have been up trying to call everyone all night since yesterday. We are just praying for the best. My MIL said her sisters and brothers who are still over there were supposed to get their Visas to come to the United States in July.
I grew up in Southern California. Earthquakes to me were rarely devastating. So when I first heard the news, I honestly didn't think much of it. I suppose I didn't realize that buildings in California are built significantly different from buildings in Haiti (duh). While I was at work today, I started perusing the Internet and found the pictures that just pierced my heart. There are bodies everywhere. Fathers carrying their deceased babies. Faces of people crying for help as they're trapped in the rubble. Bleeding children, people searching frantically for their spouses, siblings, children, parents, friends...the situation is so tragic.
I think the hardest part of coping is understanding the magnitude of this disaster. Everything has been destroyed. Hospitals are gone. Government buildings (where mail goes...) are gone. The airport is closed. Houses are gone. People are without water, food, medical supplies. There is a lot of anger, and a lot of helplessness.
I did ask my MIL what we could do to help. I think if anyone is hoping to help any specific individual...you're going to have to wait. Otherwise, it looks to me like the Red Cross or any of the other charitable organizations (maybe through a church) would be best. Right now, the Red Cross says they have enough to help 5,000 families. That's nothing. There are a LOT more than 5,000 families now resigned to sleeping in the street under a blazing 90 degree sun. Help is still desperately needed.
Those are people over there who struggle every day. They cannot recover from this disaster on their own. They didn't ask for this to happen, they didn't deserve it. I think we should all feel obligated to help in whatever way we can. If someone can't afford to help...they can at least put the Haitian people in their prayers...and/or spread the word that help is needed.
Sagely, thank you for sharing this with us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.