New Disasters in Haiti

Three days and two natural disasters later, the island nation of Haiti is once more digging back out of the wreckage.

Who could forget the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake, which forever altered the lives of “up to 3 million people”?

And now, yet another major earthquake has struck Haiti, on Saturday, August 14, hitting “the same fault line” and immediately drawing comparisons to its predecessor from 11 years ago. At 7.2 magnitude, the quake was larger than the 7.0 that ravaged the capital of Port-au-Prince more than a decade earlier but also some-50 miles west of that epicenter. 

As a result, the damage seems to have affected less of the population. News sources have been reporting the death toll at upwards of 2,000, the injured at about 10,000, and the number of damaged houses at more than 83,000—all figures which are continuing to climb. By contrast, the 2010 quake is known to have claimed approximately 200,000 lives, injured around 300,000, and damaged about 250,000 homes.

Then, on Monday, August 16, a tropical depression named—perhaps ironically—Grace engulfed the island. It was upgraded to a tropical storm and for the next two days submerged the Haitians in 10 to 15 inches of rain and 35 to 40 mph winds.

“Haiti is no stranger to the exacerbation of disaster,” USA Today observes, listing in particular its cholera outbreak that emerged out of 2010’s relief efforts and took more than 9,000 additional lives.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc across the globe; the unresolved assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse a little more than a month ago, on July 7; and the fact that the country was still admittedly gasping to recover from the previous quake, one wonders how much more “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere” can take.


The Tragic Cycle

But that’s not even all. The same issues that plagued the recovery in 2010 are still at play today. The corruption, the gangs, “the mismanagement of foreign aid” all end up preventing actual help from getting to the people. And that, in some sense, is what makes Haiti’s situation so devastating. 

Just as before, relief groups, religious organizations, and entire countries are sending in food and supplies and boots on the ground. But what happens if the aid trucks are looted before ever reaching their destinations? What if “at distribution sites where people [redeem] food vouchers, people often cut ahead of others”?

What if the doctors providing medical treatment are kidnapped and held for ransom by warring Haitian gangs, like what happened to two surgeons this past week? In one particularly tragic repercussion, a woman in need of an emergency caesarean section died, along with the child she was carrying. This occurred despite the apparent truce upon which the gangs had agreed for the express purpose of transporting aid to the Haitian people. To top it off, in response, “one hospital network … [closed] its doors Thursday and Friday to all patients, except for emergencies.” The act of protest meant one less route for those desperate to receive that precious aid. 


God’s Relief Aid

So it seems as though Haiti, like so many others, continues to be its own worst enemy, strangling before it can even take root the help for which it so desperately pleads.

Veteran journalist and Haitian expatriate Michèle Montas puts it this way: “In the faces of people stricken by last week’s quake, I see the same incredible courage, the same indomitable spirit I saw 11 years earlier after the earthquake. … But I also see the same call for help.”

Is it possible that, just maybe, we resemble Haiti more than we realize or like to think? Perhaps so many of us an ocean away are gazing with pity upon the tragedy unfolding there—but have no idea that we are suffering in the same futile cycle.

What do we think God sees on this sin-drenched earth but people, time and again, day in and day out, biting the hand that feeds them, charging ever speedily toward their own doom, idolizing the very evils that ultimately take their lives?

 

“And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19), the Bible warns.

Maybe we have roofs over our heads. Maybe we’re not literally drowning in filth and mud and the stench of decay—but every one of us is drowning in our own sin.

The good news, however, is that God has sent His truckload of relief aid in the form of Jesus Christ: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).

And though the devil is trying his hardest to stop that aid from getting to you, anyone who continues to struggle out from under the wreck, anyone who keeps on crying for help, anyone who “calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Joel 2:32)—and not into the same sad, sinful state, not back into the mud and filth and death. No! In fact, it is through the struggle that one’s character is transformed into one fit to inherit eternal life.

Are you up for that struggle? Then start by taking a read through Pastor Doug Batchelor’s timely article on “Surviving the Great Tribulation.” Learn all about God’s relief aid in these last days.

And always remember God’s precious promise: “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).

Kris W. Sky
Kris W. Sky is a writer and editor for Amazing Facts International and other online and print publications.
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