It’s an anniversary we won’t soon forget, and another milestone for a nation. January 12th of this year marked the 5th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since that disastrous event, which took the lives of far too many and left hundreds of thousands of others with incomprehensible injury and untold sadness. Broken limbs, wounds, lacerations, and infections demanded immediate and highly skilled attention—demand that could not be met by a country reeling from this level of devastation. The earthquake was a disaster where the injured needed plastic and reconstructive surgery at a level never seen before.
It’s even harder to believe that it’s been almost five years since a team from The Plastic Surgery Clinic arrived in Port-au-Prince for a week long mission. Our team set out to continue the debridement, skin grafting and reconstructive procedures performed by the previous volunteer surgeons. The line of patients who needed attention was never-ending, their suffering incomprehensible, and their strength in the face of hopelessness unbelievable. The experiences from that week in mid-February have stayed with each volunteer every single day since their return. It’s not just that you can’t forget such an impactful experience. It’s that you owe it to those who lost their lives to remember, to move forward, and to continue the hard work wherever there is suffering.
That’s why we’re so glad to continue working with Artists for Peace and Justice. This incredible organization supports long-term, sustainable development in direct partnership with the Haitian people. They believe in empowering local communities, fostering economic growth, and the power of education to change a nation. They provide education, scholarships, healthcare, and other fundamental resources to a country where more than 50% of the population still lives in extreme poverty.
Haiti has come a long way since the earthquake five years ago, but there is still so much work to be done. You can contribute by donating to APJ, an organization that follows a 100% policy. Every single publicly-donated penny donated goes directly to programs in Haiti. The need for long term commitment is essential in order to create true change, and APJ is wholly committed to the ongoing project of empowering a new generation of Haitian leaders who will continue to help Haiti rebuild to become stronger than ever before.
To find out more on the 2010 Haiti Relief Mission, read Dr. Lista’s personal journal from the trip: