Haiti bears the brunt of natural disasters over and over again. In recent years a hurricane wiped out roads that then turned to mud and left people stranded for days. Once the immediate crisis was over their businesses and farms were destroyed. Now this devastating earthquake, once again, lays bear the desperation that people in Haiti live with day to day.
The USA always comes to the aid of people suffering in natural disasters, and President Obama immediately sprung into action and is sending all he can for the relief effort. His leadership is already helping to push other countries to follow our lead by sending doctors, EMTs, clean water, construction materials, and much-needed medicine and food to the country.
Is there a way to stop the cycle of needing to send so much aid to Haiti? The answer is yes -- and it would take a lot of resources, too, not just money. We already tried that. Haiti has gotten more funds than just about any other nation but that has not been enough. It also needs the development of its leaders, a stronger civil society, and more faith-based organizations to help build it into a better country. Do we have the will to provide that level of support? In our hearts, yes. In our minds, yes. In our government checkbook? I'm not so sure.
Perhaps the best idea would be to have a public-private partnership with America's vibrant Haitian-American community and willing businesses that will commit to dedicating itself to helping Haiti become a country that would not need to rely on others as much as it has in the last several decades.