Earthquake remembrance from Haiti
January 12, 2018
On this day 8 years ago at 4:53pm, Haiti suffered the most devastating earthquake in modern history. In mere minutes, hundreds of thousands were killed and many more were left homeless. In the end, between 220,000 and 300,000 people perished. This represents about 2-3% of Haiti’s total population.
Though a natural event was the trigger, this disaster was years in the making. If construction in Haiti at the time had been up to earthquake resistant standards, the death toll would have numbered in the thousands, not the hundreds of thousands. Unfortunately, this is how poverty and a lack of development works: It makes the vulnerable even more vulnerable in times of crisis.
Today we remember, honor and mourn those lost as a result of this tragic event. We also redouble our efforts and renew our commitment to defend the vulnerable in Haiti, making every effort to protect them from such needless suffering through better planning and investment. One way we’ve done this since 2010 is to assure that any new construction is earthquake resistant, like at the Children’s Academy – where Alex Myril did the above video this morning.
Finally, today we recognize the strength and resilience of Haiti’s people. In their lifetimes they’ve experienced national traumas that most of us can’t even imagine. With humility we attempt to understand this suffering so that we can be good partners as we work together, with respect, toward a brighter future for Haiti and her people.