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[Editorial] More Help for Haiti

Posted January. 15, 2010 08:09,   


The death toll from the devastating earthquake in Haiti is estimated at 100,000. The scene of the disaster is one of complete pandemonium, with Haitians overwhelmed by extreme fear and terror. Countless people have either been killed or injured in the magnitude-7.0 earthquake. All Haitian government offices including the presidential palace have been destroyed, resulting in an astronomical amount of property damage.

With a population of 8.92 million, Haiti is one of the world’s poorest nations with the average per capita income of just 1,400 U.S. dollars. Since the earthquake has dealt a serious blow to the island nation and destroyed its already weak infrastructure, estimating the damage is tough. Worse, Haiti cannot rescue its people or repair the damage on its own. The world must act in the spirit of humanitarianism and help Haiti.

Korea established diplomatic relations with Haiti in 1962, but removed its diplomatic office in the Caribbean nation in 1992. Since then, Seoul’s mission in the Dominican Republic has handled relations with Haiti. The number of ethnic Koreans in Haiti is 70 and bilateral trade is just 22.5 million dollars per year. Yet Korea cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Haitian people.

Seoul is considering sending a million dollars worth of humanitarian aid to Haiti. The Korean National Red Cross will also provide 100 million won (89,150 dollars) to Haiti and ethnic Koreans living in the United States will visit the island to help relief efforts. Given Korea’s status in the world, however, a million dollars in aid seems rather insufficient. Korean corporations and civic organizations should also try harder to help. Korea owes a lot to international society. From a humanitarian and moral perspective, it should proactively help a nation like Haiti that cannot stand on its own two feet. Korea can also enhance its national brand by sending medical supplies and food and dispatch relief organizations and volunteers to Haiti.