At 4:53 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2010, Haiti changed forever. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake rumbled 10 miles outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, causing the collapse of countless buildings, injuring hundreds of thousands, displacing more than 1 million and killing more than 100,000.
The international community was quick to respond to the plight of the Haitian, and citizens around the world gathered in solidarity to send whatever they could afford. Students at schools organized relief efforts through bake sales. Communities hosted fundraisers. Governments vowed to match donations put forth by their citizens. Celebrities hosted concerts. Hundreds of millions have been donated, and it continues.
But as we, up here, marvel at how generous a spirit has emerged during this horrible time, we remember why we’ve become so giving, and why we support the good, brave people of Haiti. These deaths were not caused by ill-advised war, but by a natural disaster that was unpreventable. Surely the number of dead should be smaller. But it isn’t, and now the Haitians will be forced to live rough lives. Many are getting ready to move to a massive tent city just miles away from Port-au-Prince, and just a few hundred yards away from the mass graves that the corpses of their loved ones now call home.
This tragedy is, thankfully, uncommon. But when it happens it is devastating. But through all the destruction, despair and desperation, hopes have not been dashed. We hear of men and women being pulled from rubble 10 and 11 days after the quake. We hear of generous families adopting Haitian orphans so they don’t have to live in constant fear on the streets of the torn capital. And at night we hear the songs of Haiti, people gathered together chanting and reciting prayers for a better tomorrow. And that, they will receive.
All photos are courtesy of the American and Norwegian Red Cross on Flickr. The photos depict the efforts of the American, Israeli, Canadian and Norwegian volunteers, as well as local Haitians and Dominicans.