62,000 people. That is the estimated number of Haitians who are still displaced from the 7.0 earthquake that shook Haiti in January 2010; a heartbreaking disaster that claimed over 200,000 lives and displaced as many as 3 million people.
Elouse’s four cousins
….this is only 1% of the 900 people who lost their lives in Haiti to Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
900 lives…fathers, mothers, teachers, grandmas, little brothers, babies…lost in the waters of a sea that came on land and washed it out. A land crushed under debris created by a 145mph wind that knocked down concrete walls and tore down palm trees as if they were saplings just transplanted from a kindergarten classroom the day before.
To say that we feel for our sisters and brothers in Haiti is an understatement. My heart is heavy and it wants to scream because although it believes that we, together, will make things better, it is hard to see the road ahead when there is such a harsh wind blowing in one’s face.
To look at the state of Haiti now, with the lack of food and access, and the abundance of poverty, one may not remember how powerful a nation Haiti actually is.
In the 18th century, Toussaint-Louverture, Henri Christophe and Dessalines revolted in an effective guerilla war against the French colony. All three had been enslaved: they successfully ended slavery and regained freedom for the nation. They did this in 1791 against the French, in 1801 against the Spanish conquest, and in 1802 against an invasion ordered by Napoleon Bonaparte. They renamed Saint-Dominique after its original Arawak name, Haiti, which became the second independent nation in the Americas.
Such history should not go unnoticed because it is a significant example of the perseverance, love, and determination that courses through the veins of Haitians.
If I could say anything to my sisters and brothers in Haiti right now, if I could speak at all, I would say this:
“In the midst of the chaos; the heartbreak; the loss of life; the search for lives; the feeling that rebuilding will simply take too much energy…again; the pain; the tears that will run dry; the anguish, and all the feelings that weigh down your soul and may make you doubt your abilities, please remember who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you are capable of doing. You do not stand alone, because we stand with you. You do not sit alone, you do not swim alone, you do not cry alone, you do not hug your loved ones alone, you do not cry alone.
You do not cry alone, and you will not rebuild alone.
We are with you.
We are with you and we will laugh together again and you will see that we can get out of this. Please believe with me. I know it’s hard right now, and I do not pretend to understand what you’re going through, but please believe with me”.
To anyone who would like to assist, you may consider contacting any and all of these organizations:
Food For The Poor
Save the Children
Please remember that there is also a cholera outbreak because of lack of clean water, and it is also claiming lives. Help is needed most urgently! Please lets do what we can.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this hurricane, not only in Haiti but in neighboring countries including the southern US states. Sending you all love and happiness in the hopes that you keep believing and looking forward to another sunrise.
Have you ever been directly affected by a devastating storm? What would you say to those who are trying to rebuild their lives?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophia at ThinkSayBe. Photo credit: Ricardo’s Photography. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
A little over four years ago, I stood up in a church, surrounded by the warm glow of friends and family, and promised to love one man for the rest of my life. In sickness and health, for richer or poorer, in good times and bad. My husband and I knew, when we got married, that we would last the distance. We had been together for a long time, borne two children together, and endured a lot of hardship. We had survived the deaths of both of our fathers, my postpartum depression which lasted for almost two years, and my son’s autism diagnosis. I had lost a job, and we had been on the brink of financial crisis. A lot of things had happened. Big, stressful, life-changing things.
Fourteen years into our relationship and four years into our marriage, we have recently been wading through something that many people would see as a disaster: the loss of the industrial unit that my husband worked out of for fifteen years, as well as the charity youth recording studio that it housed. We had a little less than a month to move fifteen years’ worth of product, materials, tools and equipment out of the unit, with no place to move it to. We had to turn our home upside down, empty our garage and beg for favours from friends who might have a bit of storage space to spare.
We had to strip the studio bare – the studio that we put thousands of dollars and tons of love and care into – and we had to see it empty of everything but memories.
Through the heat of July, we moved load upon load of stuff. There has been heavy lifting and carrying, rearranging, decluttering and a great deal of stress and anxiety. While all of this has been going on, I have been keeping my fledgling freelance business alive – helping my husband during the day, working through the night and grabbing catnaps on the couch from time to time. For a month, I abandoned my running, ignored my friends and forgot about things I’d said I would do. My two boys spent countless hours working with us, packing boxes, carrying things into the house, helping us find space where we thought there was none.
It has been physically gruelling, mind-blowingly stressful and absolutely fantastic. It is fantastic because we have an opportunity to rebuild our charity youth studio into something bigger and better than it was before. It is fantastic because my husband gets to recreate his business, drawing from its strengths and learning from the challenges it has faced in the past. It is fantastic because we have had offers of help from friends when we’ve most needed it: someone lent us a pickup truck when our van broke down, someone else has taken on the task of putting together a crowdfunding campaign for the youth studio, and many people showed up to do heavy lifting with us.
Most of all, it is fantastic because we – my husband, my sons and myself – have experienced what it truly means to be a family. Where others might have turned against one another, we have come together as one strong, cohesive unit.
It has been an absolute joy for us all to be there for each other, working together and learning from each other’s strengths. Yes, there has been some snapping and irritation, because we are, after all, human. But there has also been a lot of laughter and fun, and most of all, respect.
To say that my kids have been amazing through all of this doesn’t do it justice. My younger son has demonstrated maturity and empathy well beyond his years, as he has tirelessly helped and constantly shown concern for the wellbeing of those around him. My older son – my autism boy for whom change is so challenging – has been immensely brave through the routine changes and the drastic alterations to the space he lives in. I am so proud of them both that I could cry.
We have emerged from the worst of the craziness. The taking apart and moving out is done, and now we can start the exciting process of rebuilding. I can resume a more humane schedule, my exhausted husband can take a break and catch his breath, and my kids can play. And we can all look at each other and smile, overflowing with happiness, because we have each other. My husband and I know that we will always be there for each other, in good times and bad. And that makes us rich in a way that money never could.
Have you and your family had to deal with adversity? How did you and your kids cope with it?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Kirsten Doyle of Running for Autism. Photo credit to the author.
Today was the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which pummeled the east coast of the United States. Whether our #WorldMoms are reporting on Hurricane Sandy in the U.S.; Typhoon Typhoon Bopha or Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; or the Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand, globally, we are interconnected and have become very aware of the risk of natural disaster.
We are thankful that our friends from Save the Children tap us on the shoulder and remind us to share information with our global community about keeping our kids safe in the event of a disaster every year. Family Check List? Reunification Plan? We are busy helping with homework, changing diapers, researching universities, and we appreciate this much needed reminder!
This video really hits home. How do we know how to reunify with our children in the even disaster struck while they were at school? What is the school’s reunification plan? Have you asked for it?
TIP!: Not feeling in the mood to prepare today? Here is something to watch NOW to get you in the mood:
TIP!: Tomorrow night at dinner, go over this Disaster Check List with your family!
TIP!: #WorldMoms, Take the Pledge!
I pledge to protect children.
I will learn how to keep my kids and children in my community safe in emergencies.
I will share this information with my friends and family.
And I will take action to prepare my home and community.
I appeal to my government to take action, too.
So when disaster strikes, together we’ll be ready and our children can be safe.
Head on over to Save the Children for more information, and to sign up to take the pledge!
We may remember to go for our annual mammogram or OB visit, but let’s not forget the annual check-in for our strategy to protect our little ones if disaster strikes. Join me in printing out that checklist, #WorldMoms!
Do you have any tips for our community about being prepared in the event of emergency? Please share them with us!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden, of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credits to Save the Children.
Just a few months ago, I had the opportunity to tour a New Jersey, USA preschool, whose playground had been covered in sludge from Super Storm Sandy. That was the day Save the Children announced their Get Ready, Get Safe program, which advocates for emergency disaster planning for schools, preschools and day cares in the United States.
(But what about where you live? Read on for some helpful tips that can be applied anywhere on the globe…)
Today marks one year since Super Storm Sandy hit the U.S., and within the past year, our planet has experienced other natural disasters that have made their devastating impact, too, including the floods in the Philippines.
“Sandy has been toughest on children: VIDEO: Save the Children: Hurricane Sandy 1 Year Later.”
What can you do to prepare your community?
Ask your children’s school or day care center if they have an emergency preparedness plan. If not, suggest one!
What can you do to prepare your family?
Check out this graphic from Save the Children below to assist you in your family safety plan:
I’ve got to go now to make my “go kit.” I hope you will, too.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credit to Save the Children.
Did you know that it was 6 months after Hurricane Katrina until the last child was reunited with her parents in Louisiana? SIX months. Did you also know that just after the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut a mother was sent to three different locations where she was told her child may be until she found out that she had lost her child in the shootings? And that there are more pet reunification programs set in place than for human children?
According to Kathy Spangler, Vice President in charge of US Programs at Save the Children, this is unacceptable. She stated that many schools or child care facilities in the United States still do not have a reunification plan in place in the case of disaster.
Jennifer Burden of World Moms Blog and her 2-year old daughter sit down with Kathy Spangler, VP of US Operations at Save the Children, at St. Anne’s Child Care Center in Keansburg, NJ, marking 10 months after Hurricane Sandy affected the area.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit down with Kathy Spangler in Keansburg, just a few towns over from where I live in New Jersey, USA. The town of Keansburg was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last October. The storm overall was responsible for over 50 billion USD worth of damage including 650,000 homes and hundreds of child care centers and schools. In town we viewed the finished post-storm repairs needed by a local day care, St. Ann’s, which were made possible by Save the Children.
Judy Abrahamsen, the Director of St. Ann’s Child Care Center explained that the playground had been covered with sludge from the flood waters, and the ceiling had a major leak.
When asked, she responded that the major obstacle in finding aid for the day care’s repairs, initially, was finding the time to pinpoint the grants and take the time to fill out the many forms while still running the business. Save the Children came to the rescue. And Kathy Spangler explained that running a day care is a labor of love, and those in the business are not in it for the windfall money, but because they love working with children. These businesses often don’t have the reserves on hand when natural disaster occurs, yet we need safe spaces for children, especially in times of disaster.
Within 24 hours after Sandy hit, Save the Children had over 130 people on the ground. The journey back to NJ this week was momentous, as they just launched their annual National Report Card in Protecting Children in Disaster, and New Jersey was one of four states to take action and meet the minimum emergency planning standards for children in times of disaster for the first time.
“Save the Children’s disaster report card tracks progress on four critical standards: that states require all child care centers to have 1) an evacuation plan, 2) a family reunification plan, and 3) a plan for children with special needs, and 4) that states require all schools to have disaster plans that account for multiple types of hazards.” However, 28 US states and the District of Columbia fall short.
“Back to school week in New Jersey is a reminder that we must do more to protect the nation’s 68 million children who are separated from their parents on any given weekday.”
Also, on this date, Save the Children launched a new preparedness initiative called “Get Ready, Get Safe” to help families and communities protect children at times of disaster.
On their site parents in the United States can send an electronic letter urging their governor to take action, make a donation and/or sign up to receive action alerts to stay informed. Spangler also encourages parents to stay informed and ask their children’s schools about reunification plans. Whether you are reading this from Newark, NJ or Naples, Italy, we can all kick off child advocacy by asking the simple question: “What is the reunification plan for my child?”
See the full report and take action at www.savethechildren.org/GetReady.
What do you say, parents? Will you find out if your child’s school has a plan set in place?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA. Please look out for more on this trip by following Jennifer on twitter @JenniferBurden.