By Lyzz Repa
By now you have all heard the rampage of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. You might have also heard it being called the worst natural disaster to strike the island since the earthquake of 2010. Haiti has not been hit this hard with a hurricane since Hazel in 1954. Even the succession of tropical cyclones in 2008 by Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike did not amount to this heartbreaking disaster. With over 900 people killed, flooding, mudslides, and homelessness – a country with pre-existing infrastructure problems is left wondering “What’s next?”
Like many others I wondered what was next, but also what can I do. While looking for ways to help, I discovered that going the Red Cross route was not an option. Apparently, the fundraising efforts of 2010 by the Red Cross brought in almost half a billion dollars. The Red Cross made bold statements and promises that the money would be used to help rebuild the nation – by providing roads, schools, and homes. However, only six permanent homes seem to have been built by the charity in the last six years. A home a year, not a bad tactic I guess.
There are many speculations as to where the money has gone. Some say the organization is well suited to help in emergency relief, but aren’t experienced enough to help rebuild a developing country. Therefore the funds were misappropriated. Others claim the money is kept or stolen if you don’t care about being politically correct. And government official simply claims they have no idea where it went. This is a case of Where’s Waldo?
While I tried to find what I can physically do to help the nation, I looked towards social media for some support. After all, we live in a world where “if it isn’t online, it isn’t real.” The weirdest thing happened. I could not find much. I searched for a #Pray4Haiti hashtags and only found about four postings during the first two days. I was floored. Heck, I found hashtags about Jamaica even before the Hurricane had hit. But Haiti, nonexistent.
Is Haiti so forgotten that it does not warrant its hashtags during the early stages of this devastation? Or, are we to believe that its people are so used to natural catastrophes that it is like watching a rerun on television?
My favorite part was watching my Haitian social media friends post about other issues within that week. One of them had posted about Mexican rights. I love Mexico just like the next person, but hello? Worse, people were praying for Florida, yet the storm was an entire day away. It is sad to see that we were much more concern for places, who while prayers are needed, could stand on their own. For a country who has lost everything: Lives, homes, agriculture, we couldn’t pray. We could not come together. We could not get it together.
I prayed for Haiti, and not just on social media, but I’d like to see more people doing something about it. And please don’t use the excuse of “we gave before, but nothing came of it.” Kanye West has the money yet people still donated to his GoFundMe account, so what’s your point?
Before you come for me, I did donate as well. I have family members who went down there to do their part. In the rumbles in the waters.
In the last few weeks, I saw people post on my timeline about Haiti, not sure if my constant bashing of their lack of prayers prompted it or if they decided it was now cool to pray. Whatever it may be, it was heartbreaking.