Wednesday 13 January 2010

Horrific Earthquake Hits Some of World's Poorest People

“But from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

That was the phrase that came to me when I heard this morning about the horrific earthquake in one of the world’s poorest countries. Thousands are feared dead after a massive quake with a magnitude of 7.0 hit Haiti. The US Geological Survey said that the epicentre of the earthquake was 10 miles from Port-au-Prince, which has a population of 2.5 million. A tsunami alert for the Caribbean region was issued immediately after the earthquake struck at 9.53 pm GMT. Minutes after the initial tremor, there were two aftershocks, measuring 5.9 and 5.5.

Communications were widely disrupted, making it difficult to get a clear picture of the damage as violent aftershocks shook the country, destroying the flimsy buildings. The United Nations headquarters and the World Bank were among scores of buildings that were toppled, including the presidential palace, government buildings and a cathedral. An hotel popular with tourists collapsed burying up to 200 people, while roads and bridges also lay in ruins.

The international relief charity Food for the Poor reported that the whole city was in darkness and that thousands of people were sitting in the streets with nowhere to go.

An earthquake expert at the University of Southern California said that the earthquake’s size and proximity to the capital had probably caused widespread casualties.

I heard on the news this morning that the UK has a team of fire fighters ready to fly out to Haiti as soon as it can be arranged, but with communications wrecked, it is difficult to know when that will be.

Many British Charities have launched appeals for money to help: Save the Children has made £50,000 available immediately from its funds. The Red Cross has set up an appeal at or telephone 08450 535353. It’s good that we feel that we can help people far less fortunate than ourselves.

I was interested in some of the comments on the Daily Mail’s story. Louise in Mid Glamorgan said: “Yes, that’s very interesting but we’re a bit tied up with our own problems at the moment”. Tom, MKUK replied: “A bit of world news not your cup of tea Louise? I hope you can overcome your terrible plight and make it through the snow to Waitrose for supplies soon. I’m sure the people of Haiti will be praying for you in your hour of need.”

If you want to see examples of the good and the bad in us, a visit there is worthwhile.

Donations can be made on the High Street, by calling into any bank or post office and quoting Freepay 1449, or at branches of any of the DEC's member charities. The DEC is composed of 13 major UK aid agencies: Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.


  1. Yes we'll help as soon as we can get Gatwick open. The airport is closed because of snow. Airports are no longer able to clear runways quickly as we've been told for years that global warming is a fact and so have stopped worrying about cold winters and snow clearing equipment.
    Our country is on it's knees yet we can still muster some help for victims of earthquakes and disasters around the world so that's something I suppose.

  2. LOL. That was pretty stupid of us wasn't it Anon. Given that it's been a while since scientists really thought that the whole world would warm up. As long as I can remember "climate change" for Scotland, involved the Gulf Stream being turned off course by the Labrador Current running more strongly because of ice melt in Canada and Greenland.

    Still... that's us. Any excuse to spend less money on anything, even if we know it's a pile of junk.

    I would hope that we could muster some help for them. There's on your knees, and then there’s on your knees. I may have had to cut one of two things in my shopping list, but I still have a home; the roads may be bad, but there are still roads; BT may be one of the crappiest internet providers in the world, but I can still get online, just.

    One way and another, compared with these poor people, I feel pretty well off.

    Just a thought for Mr Alexander.... Why does the flight have to go from Gatwick? There are other airports all over the country. It’s a poor excuse. “Sorry you’re dying for want of medicines, but one of our 20 or so international airports is closed....”

  3. Aye, this tragedy puts my annoyance at trains to and from Bathgate being cancelled at the weekend into a whole different perspective. I was cold, hungry and tired after a hard shift and i got right angry when that wee bitta news reached me.

    It's not schadenfreude but i do always try to remember that no mater how bad things are, there's always someone out there worse off than me and they are always worthy of whatever support i can give them. Sometimes i forget that though. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Spot on Naldo.

    I do the same thing, then I see this. I see how unbelievably awful it must be for them. I try to imagine the UK or Scottish authorities coping with London or Edinburgh being flattened by an earthquake. The over streched hospitals having suddenly to treat an extra 100,000, or 200,000. The undertakers having to bury all the dead. The misery. The phones all dead....

    It's unimaginable... For all that's wrong here we should be grateful we don't have to cope with that. Can you imagine Gordon Brown's government being able to cope?