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Haiti Earthquake

November 18, 2010 | British Columbia

One person's story of how they contributed to the Haiti relief effort

Toronto, ON - November 18, 2010 - The earthquake in Haiti was one of the largest natural disasters to ever affect the Western Hemisphere. 230,000 people died, 300,000 injured, 400,000 children orphaned, and over one million left homeless. In the aftermath of this 7.0 quake, people from all over the world rushed to the aid of the Haitians, millions donated $10 to the Red Cross via text message to help the relief efforts, and celebrities participated in telethons to raise billions of dollars.

Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort

Almost a year after the quake, the media isn't really talking about Haiti anymore, so the perception is that the nation is on the road to recovery - but it's not. Haiti is still severely devastated. People live in tents amidst a city of rubble, with no real sanitation system and very little access to health care. As a result of drinking untreated water, a cholera outbreak hit the country in October 2010 and continues to be a dangerous threat to Haitians throughout the nation.

Haiti Volunteers

In August 2010, I travelled to Haiti for 12 days to do volunteer work in orphanages and tent cities. Among other things, we organized dental clinics to provide basic dental care, as the majority of Haitians have never even picked up a toothbrush. After educating them on oral hygiene, we brushed their teeth and gave them fluoride treatments, and the two dentists on our team cleaned, scaled, and extracted any rotting teeth. Every day, patients lined up by the hundreds, but we weren't able to treat them all because we simply didn't have the resources or manpower. There's still a lot of work to be done in Haiti, and it can't be done without the help of volunteers.

Helen Lee is a writer living in Vancouver, BC. Her work has appeared in a number of publications including Metropolis and 10 Magazine. Helen holds a BA in English and a diploma in journalism. When she is not writing, she enjoys getting lost in new cities. She hopes to return to Haiti soon to continue helping with relief efforts.

Check back next week for more ways that you can help Haiti and the Haitian people.

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