Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reporter's Notebook

Paul Leonard can be reached at

Putting troubles in perspective

Today has been filled with shocking images in the wake of yesterday’s earthquake in the impoverished island nation of Haiti – scenes of complete devastation, chaos and fear.

It’s also a scene more than 3,000 miles removed, in a country most of us have never been and most likely won’t be appearing on anyone’s travel itinerary anytime soon.

Despite our great distance from Haiti in terms of location, language and culture, these horrible images of widespread death and destruction have momentarily knocked many Washingtonians from their grim reverie about a lack of jobs, bank financing and the precarious state of many a bottom-line.

It sometimes takes a week like this one to put our own troubles in perspective.

A nation that has endured insurrections, extreme poverty and countless hurricanes now must be completely rebuilt after a nearly 300-year earthquake event decimated its capital.

As in other calamities, the international community is already mobilizing at the front line to assist in the rescue and rebuilding. However, given the scope of this disaster, with estimates of the dead still difficult to find a full 24 hours after the earthquake hit, the survivors will still need more help in the coming weeks and months ahead.

Here’s a short list of organizations pitching in to help the Haitian people in their time of need:

The American Red Cross:

Doctors Without Borders:

Mercy Corps: