The impact of an earthquake of magnitude seven is almost impossible to imagine.
Two years ago I went with World Vision, one of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) partners, to Armenia, scene of the devastating 1988 earthquake. Even after twenty years, and hundreds of millions of pounds of international aid, Armenia, previously one of the wealthiest Soviet states, is still in poverty, with much of the infrastructure unreliable, unsafe (to Western eyes), or incomplete. The landscape was littered with derelict factories and abandoned buildings. People I talked to told me that they had simply abandoned the last twenty years, and their hopes were that their children would one day be able to live the kinds of lives they had lived before the quake.
Haiti was, by contrast, already one of the poorest states in the world before the earthquake struck. It has for long been one of the least able to organise even ordinary levels of nutrition, housing and sanitation.
Clearly, everyone must make their own mind up about what they want to do, and each is in a different position financially. However, I want to put my weight behind the call to donate to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal. All the monies through DEC will be handled by well known, well trusted charities, including Oxfam, tearfund, actionaid, WorldVision, the British Red Cross, CAFOD and Christian Aid. It’s simple to donate online, or by phone to 0370 60 60 900, or by cheque payable to DEC HAITI EARTHQUAKE and sent it to DEC HAITI EARTHQUAKE, PO BOX 999, LONDON, EC3A 3AA.