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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘natural disasters’

America’s—and New Orleans’s—Debt to Haiti

Friday, January 15th, 2010

In reply to Pat Robertson’s comments about Haiti’s alleged “pact to the devil” (aptly described by Gawker as “galactically vile”), Mr. Raymond Joseph, the Haitian ambassador to the U.S., says:

“I would like the whole world to know—America especially—that the independence of Haiti, when the slaves rose up against the French, and defeated the French army, powerful army, the U.S. was able to gain the Louisiana Territory for $15 million. That’s three cents an acre. That’s thirteen states west of the Mississippi that the Haitian slaves revolt in Haiti provided America. Also, the revolt of the rebels in Haiti allowed Latin America to be free. It is from Haiti that Simon Bolivar left with men, boats, to go deliver grand Colombia and the rest of South America. So, What pact the Haitians ‘made with the devil’ has helped the U.S. become what it is.”

In an update to come soon we will outline the great human and cultural debt that the city of New Orleans in particular owes to emigrés from Haiti in the early 1800s following the Haitian Revolution.

Help for Haiti

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Montreal La Presse, Ivanoh Demers

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake has rocked and toppled much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the most powerful quake to strike there in 200 years. The quake lasted a full minute; the Loma Prieta earthquake that shook the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989, also 7.0 on the Richter scale, lasted only 15 seconds. (We were there, and believe us, a full minute would feel like days of terror.) Haitian president René Préval says likely thousands are dead. Click here for a video report. (Meanwhile, the very Christian Rev. Pat Robertson helpfully explains that Haiti is “cursed” because “a long time ago . . . they got together and swore a pact to the devil” for help in gaining freedom from the French. “True story.”) • Relief agencies are listed below.

President Obama’s Remarks

“. . . for a country and a people who are no strangers to hardship and suffering, this tragedy seems especially cruel and incomprehensible. . . . this is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share. With just a few hundred miles of ocean between us and a long history that binds us together, Haitians are neighbors of the Americas and here at home. So we have to be there for them in their hour of need.” [click here for transcript]

Ricardo Arduengo.AP


New York Times list of relief agencies

American Red Cross

Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières has been in Haiti since 1991; has 3 hospitals; perhaps the most established humanitarian presence there: an excellent organization to contribute to.

UNICEF (for children)

Text “HAITI” to “90999” to donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill.

Family members concerned about the status of loved ones in Haiti can call the U.S. State Department at 888-407-4747.

Despite the fact that we are experiencing tough times here at home, I would encourage those Americans who want to support the urgent humanitarian efforts to go to whitehouse.gov where you can learn how to contribute. We must be prepared for difficult hours and days ahead as we learn about the scope of the tragedy. We will keep the victims and their families in our prayers. We will be resolute in our response, and I pledge to the people of Haiti that you will have a friend and partner in the United States of America today and going forward.” —President Obama