Sunday, January 17, 2010

Stupid Deaths in Haiti

No matter what I do or where I go these days, Haiti is on my mind.  If I’m in the shower, I wonder how the people in Haiti are doing without basic sanitation.  When I grab a quick bowl of cereal or a banana, I know that many Haitians haven’t eaten in days and are hungrier than I’ve ever been.  When I pull my yummy German down comforter over my shoulders and snuggle in for a cozy night’s sleep, I am well aware that thousands and thousands of people in Haiti have no bed, no blanket and perhaps even no roof over their heads.

When I think about what the people of Haiti are going through now, I realize how incredibly lucky I was last year when I broke my ankle.  An ambulance was at my house within minutes, I had immediate and excellent care at the ER, and within three days my ankle was put back together by one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country, if not the world.  The four days in the hospital and subsequent months of rehabilitation were lucky inconveniences for me, one of the fortunate ones. 

For the thousands and thousands of Haitians who are lucky enough to be “only” injured, and not dead, there is little to no hope of the surgery they so desperately need and there is nowhere near enough medicine to treat their pain and antibiotics to stave off the dangers of infection as they lie in makeshift outside “hospitals.” 


And now the “stupid deaths,” as Anderson Cooper calls them, will begin.  Throngs of people will now begin to die completely preventable deaths.  They will die because their wounds are infected.  They will die because they don’t have enough food or clean water.  They will die because help was too long in coming.  They will die because this horrible natural disaster hit in the worst possible place to a country that simply wasn’t prepared for such devastation.

Watching the children of Haiti – those who were already orphans and those who became orphans due to this earthquake – tugs at my heart harder than any other part of this tragedy.  My friend Steve and his wife had already legally adopted a little girl from Haiti but were just awaiting the final stages of the adoption and their daughter’s arrival home.  Now they’re not sure when they’ll see their new daughter.  My hope is that the process will actually be expedited, and I’ve seen some indication on CNN that that’s happening for some of these children.

I remember when children were airlifted from Vietnam in the 70’s… my dad asked my mom, only in half-jest, if we could please adopt a Vietnamese baby.  I was in high school at the time and was all for it, but it never happened of course.  I only half-jokingly asked Tom this morning if we could adopt a Haitian child, should there be a similar airlift.  He looked at me like I was just a bit crazy and reminded me that we have four kids in college right now.  Yeah, I know, but…


I texted five digit numbers to give to the Red Cross and I gave online through the Clinton Foundation, like millions of other Americans and people around the world.  But I have a feeling that no matter how much we give it simply won’t be enough.  How can it be?  How can we, as a country or a country of individuals, help anywhere near enough?

*Photos via Google Images.

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Tonya said...

I can't stop thinking about it, either. (In fact, as usual, I posted a very similar post on my blog...) What is concerning me SO MUCH now is that much of the aid is not getting to where it needs to be. Stories about nursing homes totally abandoned and the elderly not having any food or water since the quake hit (and dying that stupid death). So many tweets on Twitter from journalists in the field totally anguished from not seeing enough help, and not able to provide much themselves (and being viewed with contempt). Someone said, "We could get to the moon in three days but we can't get to the people in desperate need here on Earth in three days?" (And, of course, the more news like this will be fodder for the Obama-haters). I know it's extremely difficult for all the logistics, and now the security because people are becoming desperate and angry, but jeeze. Find a way! (That's Boeing's slogan and it tends to work pretty well).

Lynn said...

Me too...I'm thinking constantly about the horrific conditions these people are enduring. Living our normal lives while so much tragedy is unfolding seems callous. When I catch myself complaining or irritated about something, whatever it is seems so trivial in comparison. Did either of you see 60 Minutes tonight? Really difficult to watch, but everyone should see it--we need to be aware of what's going on even though it's so hard to comprehend this horror.


Rositta said...

Everyone who is even slightly human feels very strongly for the Haitian people. We can't help but want to help. Lets not forget though that it was the Clinton foreign policy in /96 I believe, that created a lot of the problems we see today. Two Canadian planes were first on the ground with aid but the Americans took over the airport and aid did not flow out to where it was needed as fast as needed. They spent to much time on "assessment" and worrying about "security" that people in fact died in the first few days that didn't have to. Not just my view but also the view of Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta...ciao

Goofball said...

stupid deaths indeed....a society should never start accepting that such avoidable deaths are taking place. Let us all learn a lesson for other "forgotten" area's that still need help as well.

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