Wanderlust Wendy

Same Magnitude, Different Results

My heart has been heavy since I learned the news of the tragic earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th. The next day, I happened to be in the provincial capital of Bafoussam running various errands. While in the supermarket, news coverage on France24 about the tragic event plastered the display of televisions on sale. The images were shocking.

Immediately, my thoughts wandered back to the time when I learned that my family had to sleep in a park due to a similar event. In 1999, a same magnitude of earthquake hit the island of Taiwan. I was already in the U.S. by this time, but my parents and my sister were still on the island. I was reminded of the stories told by my family from that day. It was my sister’s birthday. My parents described the terror of the moment when the quake hit, hiding in the bathroom, holding onto one another while the quake pasts. And the following week of camping out in a park with the community, in case of after waves.

Reports on Haiti reflect the stark difference between these two events due to the level of infrastructure. Certainly, there are many other factors as to how the aftermath of these two earthquake of similar magnitude differs. Yet, it’s not difficult to see how the island of Taiwan, while small in size, was equipped with the infrastructure to quickly recover and mobilize necessary aid. Haiti, a country that had little to begin with, is not so lucky.

With a heavy heart, I wanted to do what little I could to help. So, even with my measly Peace Corps salary, I donated $20 to the Red Cross relief fund. I am stuck in Cameroon helping the people here, so all I can do is give what little money I have. If I can make that bit of contribution, then I am most certain that you can as well. It is unfortunate that there are heartless scammers out there who are exploiting this tragedy. To ensure that your contribution is well-utilized, consider the few reputable organizations below. There are many other well-intended organizations out there, but do take some time to do the research!

1 thought on “Same Magnitude, Different Results”

  1. My reflections of past earthquakes of similar magnitude that caused far less damage led to my last blog post as well. It's amazing the differences between building conditions in Taiwan or California and Haiti and the readiness of the emergency services to deal with such an event. Thanks for the list!


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