In the wake of the earthquake and ongoing disaster relief in Haiti there has been a lot of discussion around the political state of Haiti. Setting these political issues aside, let’s look at the disaster itself and, more specifically, how Haiti’s infrastructure has played a roll in multiplying the level of destruction and, as a result, greatly increased the requirement for aid and subsequent rebuilding efforts.
First, let’s clarify what I mean by infrastructure. I’m talking about the fundamental tenets of a healthy nation: education, employment, government, communications (phone and Web access), roads and buildings. The reality of the situation is the disaster in Haiti was compounded by a dearth of infrastructure. Concrete buildings are not supposed to completely collapse in the face of a natural disaster. This can be traced back to all of the above issues, all of which are in the purview of organizations such as the Web Foundation; organizations focused on empowering local people and economies through holistic planning, while working with on the ground organizations to build lasting infrastructure that local individuals can manage and thrive under.
Now, with massive amounts of aid being piled into Haiti, how this aid (and the most certainly required future aid) is applied to ongoing infrastructure development will determine whether or not Haiti can avoid a disaster of this magnitude in the future and, more importantly, become a healthy nation.
With this in mind, we need to be thinking more holistically, not just in Haiti but beyond; reacting less and, instead, focusing on long term planning. This is why we’ve put our support behind the Web Foundation because it truly has the power to change people’s lives and local economies, ultimately increasing standards of living, health, and safety. This isn’t a sales pitch for the Web Foundation; it’s a call to engage in more holistic giving, based around empowerment rather than relief.
By all means, support Haiti now as we are at this Thursday’s HaiHaiTO event, because the requirement for disaster relief is ongoing, and the Canadian government is stepping up with each donation we make. But let’s remember it’s holistic reengineering of infrastructure, not reactionary rebuilding, that is required to ensure this level of disaster is avoided in the future.
You may also donate your Air Miles to the Red Cross.
For Haiti: Haiti Partners
For other locales, including South America, Africa, and more: Web Foundation