Persad-Bissessar: Pray for Haiti, help how ever you can

Monday, October 10, 2016 - 03:45

I am deeply distressed by the human tragedy unfolding in Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which devastated entire communities and left more than 900 dead. Many more have suffered severe injuries and tens of thousands are homeless.

While much media attention has been focused on the storm as it passed through communities in the United States, reporters have paid less attention to the human suffering in Haiti, which is one of the poorest countries in the world.

News reports say the full extent of the devastation will not be known for a while because of the lack of access to some of the hardest hit areas. Communication is difficult in much of the country as roads and bridges have been damaged or washed away.

Thousands are living in shelters. Aid workers have said there is a shortage of food and clean water and now there’s also an outbreak of cholera. People are facing starvation.

The hurricane not only flattened homes and left a trail of human suffering it also swept away and killed livestock and destroyed crops in the impoverished country that is facing this tragedy while still reeling from the earthquake of 2010 that killed 200,000 and flattened much of the country.

Most of us will never comprehend the gravity of the situation because we have never had to experience the fury of a hurricane and live in its aftermath. We are fortunate to have escaped the horror that accompanies such powerful forces of nature but that does not exempt us from caring about Haitians whose lives were shattered within a matter of hours.

Nearly every family and community has been affected by this hurricane; families have lost loved ones and in some cases entire families have been killed. Hospital and health care centres are having difficulty coping because of a lack of facilities, medicine and other resources.

International aid agencies are working with local authorities to try to deal with the immediate needs but recovery from this catastrophe will be slow and the pain and suffering will last much longer. 

I urge you to consider sending whatever aid you can to help in the recovery effort. Local banks have said they will open “Help for Haiti” accounts from Monday and the government of Trinidad and Tobago has promised to ensure that whatever is contributed will get to Haiti.

I know many of our citizens are experiencing extremely difficult times but ours is no comparison to what Haitians face today.

Please help in whatever way you can; every bit counts.

We empathize with our sisters and brothers in Haiti and pray for the families that have lost loved ones. I ask you to do the same.