One year ago today on the 12th of January, 2010, Haiti was hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that became one of the world’s worst natural disaster’s on record. The images and mounting death toll that resulted from the earthquake will all be settled in our mind. Below we review the facts of the earthquake to refresh your memories, and provide links for more information on the progress that has (or has not) been made as well as ways in which you can help. But we at Afropop would like to commemorate the victims of this terrible disaster through a recognition of its music. Haiti’s complex political history has often been mirrored and even shaped through its music, and it comes as little surprise that the victims of the earthquake have been expressing their situation and appealing to the world through music. Check out this group of youngsters, orphaned by the earthquake and facing their new realities with a hopeful approach and an appeal for peace and love through hip hop (filmed by Unicef). Haitian Hip Hop.
At Afropop, we have a Hip Deep show to offer you: delve deep into the ‘Music and Story of Haiti', a show that explores the tight relationship music has maintained with the country’s politics.
The epicentre struck just ten miles from Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The city’s already weak infrastructure collapsed into chaos: institutions that would normally take charge of the situation were victims of the earthquake themselves. The aid response, in spite of overwhelming generosity, has been complex and hampered by a lack of organization. In a country with a population of 10 million, the death toll has reached 230,000 with more falling victim to a recent cholera outbreak. Millions remain homeless and those living in tent cities are having to accept this ‘temporary’ solution as home for the moment. The rebuilding of this country will be very much a long-term project and your help will always be appreciated.
See the BBC update, one year on.
The American Red Cross is one of the most widely known organizations working in Haiti. They accept online donations, help volunteers arrange to give time or other support, and can accept $10 donations, charged to your cellphone bill, by texting HAITI to 90999 (for details of this text donation service, click here).
Read a special report from Médicins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) workers in Haiti one year on, and donate to this great organization.