As I watch Tropical Storm Isaac bear down on Haiti from IJDH’s Boston office, I feel worried and helpless. I think back to past deadly hurricane seasons—2004, 2008, 2010—and most of all I think back to January 12, 2010.
When the news of Haiti’s devastating earthquake reached me in Brazil, I got to a computer and donated to IJDH. I had been a supporter of IJDH for years, ever since I heard Brian Concannon speak to Partners In Health staff about long-term solutions and the rights-based approach of IJDH and its Haitian affiliate the Bureaux des Avocats Internationaux (BAI).
Emergency relief is important to save lives immediately following a disaster, but the work of IJDH and BAI prevents disasters from happening. The work establishing the rule of law and fair treatment of Haiti by the international community are the only things that will enable Haiti to break the cycle of extreme vulnerability to disasters.
There is little natural about a death toll in the tens of thousands from an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude or massive loss of life from heavy rainfall. These unnatural disasters result from political, environmental and economic conditions that will improve only when Haitians are supported rather than thwarted in building a system of laws, rights and accountability that are the foundation of a just and safe society. This is the work of IJDH and BAI.
Today, I contribute my time and expertise to IJDH in Boston as a full time finance volunteer. I firmly believe that there is no better investment I could make in Haiti’s future. If your thoughts are with Haiti today and you yearn to break the cycle of disaster, please give as generously as you can to IJDH, to support the long term systems change necessary to avoid future disasters.
Our thoughts are with everyone in Haiti today.
Betsey Chace, MBA