Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help the Recovery in Haiti

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, was hit by an devistating earthquake. Concrete and masonry homes and buildings cracked, crumbled and pancaked. Untold numbers died or were injured. Confusion, chaos, all in a land, that even on a peaceful day without a natural disaster, has the appearance of chaos and confusion.

Here in the land of some of the poorest of the poor, is more hardship, more homelessness, more hunger. Perhaps, with this disaster, the eyes of the world will be more open to the chronic poverty in this small Caribbean nation. Maybe other nations and non-governmental groups will look for ways to work with the people of Haiti to increase employment opportunities.

An Engineer's Comment
What is saddest, for me, is that many of these homes and other buildings did not have to collapse. There are designs, using the same materials, that would result in stronger structures that are more resistant to collapse in an earthquake.

Unfortunately, with such a poor population, people do not have the money to buy better concrete and the proper reinforcing bars. In such a poor nation, the ability of government to ensure that buildings are built properly, as we do in the US, just is very limited. And, where government has some influence, often corruption gets in the way.

I only hope that in the reconstruction effort, the rebuilt structures will be designed to better withstand future earthquakes.

An Appeal
I urge all my readers to do what they can to help. If you believe in prayer, keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. If you have a little to share, help out one of the non-profit orginizations that will be helping out, such as the Red Cross, Oxfam America, or your favorite agency. And pass the word. It would be great if people of all the world joined in helping the poorest of our brothers and sisters in their time of need. Thank you!


  1. Great and informative post. I second that readers should do all that they can to help.


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