The recent calamity of Haiti has been occupying the news headlines and indeed the public mind for the last two weeks since that island was torn to pieces by an earthquake. An estimated 200,000 + people are feared to have died in the tragedy and relief efforts from all around the world have been criticised for lack of proper co-ordination . In many cases it seems that the aid is not getting through quickly enough to prevent further death and suffering. The sight on t.v. of bodies trapped under fallen buildings have been nightly reminders of the devastation that has befallen one of the poorest countries in the West, and the ‘miraculous’ finds of survivors in that rubble have been uplifting and the only sparks of joy in an otherwise bleak landscape. One man waited while heavy machinery delicately sifted through the remains of a bank in which his wife worked until he heard the faint sound of her voice calling through the ruins. She said to him, “No matter what happens know that I love you so much” as he tried vainly to dig through the rubble and reach her. Without the proper digging equipment his task looked hopeless until a fire-team from the U.S. just happened along and brought their expertise to the job. After 3 hours the lady was pulled to safety and re-united with her husband.
These stories are so moving and serve as a reminder to us all that the important things in our lives are not tied up in what we possess but rather in our relationships with those we appreciate and love. For those of us living at this remove from the awfulness of the Haiti tragedy it sometimes takes these ‘human interest’ stories to focus our minds on the painful realities of the aftermath of the earthquake disaster.
The sadness of Haiti is that the scale of death was dramatically increased by the poor infrastructure on the island and the primitive quality of most of the buildings resulting in such large casualty figures. So the rawness of this act of nature was compounded by the greed of man and our inability to share our resources equally, where the poor become the fall guys of international avarice and indifference. While ordinary citizens globally have raised millions for relief and aid ,the International Monetary Fund are still holding Haiti to their national debt despite their plain inability to meet it. All most of us can do is respond to the numerous appeals as generously as we are able and pray for the people remaining in that troubled country that they may experience the peace of God midst the tears and turmoil of these dark days. In fact the ‘faith’ of many Haitians seems to be intact as there were countless examples of people who had survived, openly thanking Jesus for His protection and singing hymns of praise even as they waited for food and medical supplies. Long may they continue to look to Him to rebuild their nation and restore shattered lives as we also seek His face and live up to our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters in this , their hour of greatest need.