Haiti’s devastating earthquake on Tuesday afternoon is our crisis, too.
Haiti’s devastating earthquake on Tuesday afternoon is our crisis, too. As I sit here and write the next morning, initial reports from Port-au-Prince indicate that much of the capital city of nearly 1.5 million residents lies buried beneath collapsed rubble, as the result of the 7.0 magnitude record-breaking temblor. The Parliament building, the presidential palace, the United Nations mission headquarters, hospitals, schools, churches and untold numbers of apartments, houses and tenement buildings have been flattened. How many lives have been lost in this epic disaster no one, of course, yet knows. Some already fear untold thousands of casualties.
The scale of this human tragedy would be large enough had it occurred in a more developed nation on earth. But the crisis reality is that Haiti ranks as the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere. Already dirt poor, the vast majority of this island country now face a withering and nearly hopeless immediate future. As it would happen, over the holidays I read Mountains Beyond Mountains, the moving story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard Medical School graduate, who as a young adult plunged his life into the Creole countryside of Haiti, tackling and treating rampant tuberculosis and AIDS in the central plains. I can only imagine his thoughts today in the wake of this disaster.
But the crisis is not utterly hopeless. And that’s where you and I come in. We slept last night in homes heated and comfortable. We eat today at tables laden with bountiful food. But how would our King have us to respond? “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:40, 35, 36 TNIV).
What can we do? Beyond joining a recovery team right now or an emergency aid team over spring break here at the university, we can give. May I suggest an emergency donation to ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency)? ADRA is our faith community’s rapid-deployment emergency response organization, and with the monumental need for food, clothing and water in Haiti, our contributions are essential. Giving is as simple as going to www.ADRA.org and clicking on to the “Donate Now” icon. “Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for Me.” Jesus is spending overtime in Haiti right now. Wouldn’t you like to join him in an earthquake of compassion?