January 13, 2010 – Eight years ago. By history standards, not that long. In terms of loss, destruction, grief and sheer magnitude, an eternity to be played over and over by those who witnessed it and those who survived.
Since Haiti has come into the spotlight of late – this time by crude derision and obscene remarks, here is a reminder that destruction knows no race, economic or social class, is devoid of niceties and is heedless to victims of circumstance.
The worst earthquake in 200 years, leaving a death toll of well over 100,000, destroying entire cities, crippling an already crippled economy, causing widespread, and in some cases ireperable damage to an already fragile infrastructure.
Haiti, a country which has had more than its fair share of strife, upheaval and disaster, was undergoing a stretch of peace for once in many decades. A country which survived and continued despite countless overthrows and overthrow attempts. A country struggling to maintain democracy and to right itself from decades of dictators and military rule. A country which, despite everything, maintained a resiliency and a strength of character the world could only marvel at.
Eight years ago, on January 12, 2008, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck at around 5:00 in the afternoon local time. Countless aftershocks followed within minutes of the main earthquake, from a magnitude 4.3 to 5.9, knocking out power, communication and contact with the outside world for several hours. It wasn’t until the early hours of January 13 that word surfaced about the devastation inflicted on the island nation. And even then, it wasn’t fully grasped the degree of widespread destruction because so many communities in remote areas were isolated and unable to be reached until days or weeks after.
So as a reminder of the disaster and the response from the U.S., and in fact from nations all over the world, here is a news report from CBC Canada via World Report for January 13, 2010.
Times have changed and we seem to have lost our way – or at least some have.