BHR Editorial - The Tragedy in Haiti

The news coming out of Haiti is horrible. The images are heart-breaking. The damages are catastrophic. The suffering seems limitless. Large parts of Port-au-Prince lie in rubble. A shaky YouTube video shot just before dusk on Tuesday from a hill overlooking the city shows nothing but haze, evidently a cloud of dust rising from the floor of that teeming city in a valley.
The 7.0 earthquake that struck the long-suffering people of this poorest of poor countries 600 miles off our coast has captured our nation’s attention. In the typical American manner, the United States stands ready to go in and attempt to stanch the suffering.
Our president was to speak about the US response in a televised address to the nation late Wednesday night. He has asked for prayers for the people of Haiti, those who died and those who somehow survived. For now, the American public, with its legendary largesse and good will, is prepared to step up and be counted.
Within hours of the disaster, we heard any number of suggestions about ways to help. Well-intentioned individuals from all over are organizing fund drives – from a book sale in Brockton to a savings account set-up at a Hyde Park bank to a send-a-text phone line that will debit $10 to a texter’s phone bill.
In these early hours, before any assessment of the losses can be accurately given, it is prudent to be very deliberate. Certainly a donation to the American Red Cross will be helpful or Paul Farmer's magnificent Partners in Health , and there may be other charities, such as the Haitian Multi-Service Center operated by Catholic Charities on Columbia Road, that can provide relief services right away.
But the damages appear to be overwhelming, and the generous instinct to find a way to help might easily be misdirected. Right now, the need is for search and recovery activities, and delivery of emergency medicine to survivors.
As for what is the best any of us can do, the answer is uncomplicated: Do what you do best: Console Haitian neighbors as they struggle with the fears of losing their relatives; engage in support groups at your church or community group; make a donation to the American Red Cross, and plan to give again when more is known and the needs are assessed.
For our part, the Reporter newspapers will attempt to gather the information needed to keep you informed of the situation in Haiti, and offer suggestions of ways to be helpful. Our website,, is up and running with continual streaming information about what has happened, and what can be done to give assistance.
We will heed President Obama’s advice, and say our prayers for the Haitian people in this time of great tragedy.
By Ed Forry, Publisher