Response to disaster quick and decisive

Published 10:50 pm Friday, January 15, 2010

It didn’t seem that long ago when we found ourselves raising money and making emergency donations to aid those affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 200,000.

It only feels like yesterday we were sending pallets of water and food to those ravaged by the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

This week, Mother Nature once again reminded us that our world is smaller than it has ever been and the devastation and tragic loss of life in Haiti is a pain we all feel and a catastrophe we must all respond to.

As we have all seen, either in pictures in the newspaper, images on the Internet or footage on television, the loss of life in Haiti as a result of a massive 7.0 earthquake is horrific. The country’s capital, Port-Au-Prince, was leveled, leaving the country without clear direction and governmental structure.

But, the response from countries around the world has been quick and decisive. The response has been overwhelming in the amount of search teams, medical equipment, food and water. But, the country’s infrastructure is destroyed and it will be years before we can truly appreciate the loss of life and see this Caribbean country restored.

And, as it seems with each of these disasters, our country and its people have responded in a way few can ever match. Even in tough economic times, donations by the millions have flooded in to charitable organizations scrambling to meet the massive need.

Over the coming days and weeks, we will continue to hear reports about the number of those killed as a result of the earthquake. We will continue to hear about the struggle to get needed supplies into the hands of those who need it.

Our community has a close connection to Haiti through mission trips and sister churches, and that partnership has never been needed more. Locally, the American Red Cross has reported tremendous support from local residents and area churches we are sure are already planning their response efforts and long-range plans.

Our community and our country have once again put our own differences aside and put our full energies toward a common goal of helping those in Haiti. It is once again a mission we can all agree on and a mission that deserves our best efforts.