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Letter: Haitians getting lost in the news

Hurricane Matthew hit sections of this province and parts of the southeastern United States pretty hard. However, it hit the Caribbean nation of Haiti much harder.

Matthew was at its peak when it hit Haiti, a developing nation that is more vulnerable to the devastating impact of a massive hurricane. According to the Pan American Health Organization, approximately “900 people are dead, 62,000 people are homeless and outbreaks of cholera are rapidly escalating in Haiti.”

Food is scarce in Haiti after the hurricane, and cholera rates are expected to rapidly escalate and claim many more lives. Flooding caused by the hurricane is mixing with sewage and water supplies, making access to fresh water a major problem in Haiti. 

Sadly, this current humanitarian crisis in Haiti is receiving little attention in contrast to the monumental attention the 2010 Haiti earthquake received, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 230,000 Haitians. The much greater impact of the 2010 Haiti earthquake combined with it occurring in a somewhat slower international news cycle gave it much greater humanitarian attention. 

The humanitarian crisis in Haiti is being mostly ignored because the international news is currently dominated by the U.S. presidential campaign and the terrible civil war in Syria, as well as the petty politics that are being played in the UN pertinent to its power struggle.    

According to Canadian Red Cross spokesman Nathan Huculaka, “$190 million out of the $222 million donated by Canadians for the 2010 Haiti earthquake has been spent on humanitarian assistance. Nineteen thousand families of about 95,000 people were provided with safe shelter, and 75,000 new permanent homes were constructed through assistance from Canadian donors.” 

Hurricane Matthew has left many parts of Haiti in ruins and hundreds of thousands of Haitians are facing devastation, disease and death. A fundraising effort similar to the 2010 campaign is imperative to slow down the escalating rates of food shortages, homelessness, cholera and death.                           

John Ryall

Mount Pearl

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