Haiti can’t fall off the headlines

For avid followers of international news, the story of Haiti’s desperation is neither new nor surprising.

The Caribbean island nation is riddled with excessive poverty, has a history of political instability and is devastated on a nearly annual basis by tropical storms and ensuing mudslides.
Haiti’s poor infrastructure and ailing social welfare programs make the nation extremely fragile and arguably helpless in the face of daily challenges, let alone in the aftermath of a paralyzing natural disaster.

For this reason, Haiti has been on Canada’s radar for a number of years. In addition to being the homeland of Canadian governor-general Michaëlle Jean, to date, the country remains the second largest recipient of Canadian humanitarian funds, second only to Afghanistan.

To put the situation in even greater perspective, while 3,000 Canadian troops are on the ground in Afghanistan today, 2,000 troops will be assisting in the community effort in Haiti.

With so many Canadians invested in the success of Haitian relief efforts at home and abroad, it is important that we do not lose sight of the crisis.

While public rallying for support and funds is crucial in the aftermath of devastation and crisis, the tendency for a short attention span is often a problem in situations such as this. Amidst the uncertainty in the country today, one thing that is clear is that a short-term fix will not be possible.

A long-term solution for Haiti, one that addresses fundraising goals and humanitarian actions, must be established.

If not, it is possible that as a newer or perhaps equally pressing crisis emerges elsewhere, the Haiti relief effort may be abandoned entirely by the international community.

Just as other desperate situations before this, if we do not fight to keep Haiti in conversation, we may forget about the country as quickly as it became a household name.

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