Haiti was hit yesterday by what could be considered the worst natural disaster for the region in the last 200 years.
An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.0, shocked the country just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, collapsing buildings and cutting water and electricity services in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Aftershocks of 4.5 magnitude or higher continued through the night and early Wednesday, thwarting immediate aid efforts for an estimated 3 million affected by the quake. Thousands are expected dead or injured and many more will be displaced with their homes reduced to rubble.
charity: water’s two local partners, Partners in Health and Concern Worldwide, are reacting to the disaster swiftly and comprehensively.*
We need your support. In the interest of immediate relief, we’re asking that donations be made straight to our partners.
To donate to Partners in Health’s efforts, click here.
To donate to Concern Worldwide’s efforts, click here.
Already one of the poorest and densely-populated countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has struggled to overcome the effects of a slew of rough storms in 2008 before this week’s disaster. More than 4 million people (42% of the population) already lack access to safe drinking water. Disasters undercut development efforts tremendously.
*charity: water started working with PIH in 2007 and has since funded six freshwater projects with the organization to bring safe water to more than 25,000 people in rural Haiti (learn more here). Last year, we started partnering with Concern Worldwide in Haiti by funding eight spring protection systems, which will provide clean water for at least 6,000 people, once completed.
by Katherine Hibbert
When Katharine Hibbert lost her job and her flat she didn’t just downsize – she decided to dispense with money altogether, living on the stuff the rest of us throw away.
I was sitting in a park, feeling sick. I’d left my job, packed my possessions away and given up my rented flat. My plan had been to find a squat and some food dumped by a shop or a cafe to eat, and to see how long I could survive without spending money, living off what would otherwise go to waste. Now I just wanted to go home. But it was too late.
All I possessed was a couple of changes of clothes, a sleeping bag and a wash kit. My pockets were empty. There was a £20 note in my bag but that was the only money I had.
I was 26, and on paper my life had been pretty good. I had a job as a journalist and shared a flat with my sister. I had friends, and a lovely boyfriend. But life had become tedious. I took it all for granted – my clothes, my record collection, my theatre tickets. Call it a quarter-life crisis or a failure to count my blessings, but I missed the enthusiasm and idealism I’d once felt.
I felt guilty about my lifestyle, too: I disliked huge supermarkets, but off I went every week to stock up; I worried about the impact of flying, but I liked holidays and eating air-freighted grapes all year round; I suspected that the disposable fashion on the high streets was produced in sweatshops, but owned piles of clothes bought on a whim.
Then the banks collapsed. I was made redundant and my landlord phoned to say he was putting the rent up. I’d had enough.