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Haiti, We Have Forsaken You

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It happened as it always happens. A moment of unfathomable destruction grabs the empathetic attention of millions. We are distraught, sick, apprehensive. We are glued to images of a nation that has become unglued; the crisis far beyond anything our minds can comprehend, yet we try to understand. We ponder what it might feel like to lose a loved one, two loved ones, many loved ones. We think about what we would do if our home was destroyed, our food supply scarce, and our safety jeopardized. We cannot stomach the images of mangled bodies pleading beneath the rubble, the faces that may never smile, and the arms that may never hold again. We think of our children -- what would happen to them if orphaned? Would they survive, or become the target of predators? Yet it is never real enough. We want to help -- we donate money, we try to imagine so that we do not become detached, but we do, eventually, we just do.

On Jan. 12, 2010 Haiti was struck by a massive earthquake that crippled Port-au-Prince, the country's capital. It was the worst quake to hit the small Caribbean nation in more than 200 years. Most of the world watched as aid workers struggled to provide food, shelter and medical care to the estimated 1,000,000 people displaced

Donations flowed in from all over the globe, and the international community vowed to "build back better," yet after a year of enduring the effects of a crumbling economy, deplorable living conditions, malnutrition from a paltry food supply, and cholera, Haiti has been forsaken.

According to the Guardian, only one-tenth of the $10 billion promised by the international community has been utilized in the relief effort, and many of the pledged donations withdrawn. Even the United States is disappearing from the picture as much of the aid and military presence originally deployed has lessened over time. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti's (Minustah) mandate has been continuously extended, but it will take substantially more than this effort to raise Haiti from its ashes.

So what can be done? In the midst of utter disappointment and abandonment there are many nonprofits still working to slowly rebuild Haiti. One year ago, we sat behind our television screens deeply saddened by the harrowing loss of life wondering how we could help. We pledged donations to reputable organizations that fought to get on the ground and stay there. We saw ourselves in the images of mothers, wives, friends, fathers, and husbands, and we grieved for something that never really affected most of us, but somehow we were changed.

To help the cause, you can donate to these charitable organizations, rated four-stars by Charity Navigator, and recommended by the American Institute of Philanthropy, a leading watchdog actively evaluating charities involved in Haiti's relief effort:

American Red Cross 800-733-2767

Compassion International 800-336-7676

Doctors Without Borders - USA 888-392-0392

Food for the Hungry 800-248-6437

Habitat for Humanity International - N.O. 800-422-4828

International Rescue Committee
877-733-8433