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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 15, 2010

Amid the tragedy, human kindness shines

As the shaking stopped and the vast clouds of dust settled, the horror that is now Haiti revealed itself.

Endless rows of collapsed buildings, crushing countless victims, from the tiniest slum child to the Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince. The shell-shocked survivors, stumbling amid a city stripped of everything needed to live food, water, power, medical facilities, a working government.

There is virtually nothing left except ruins and a desperate fear of what the future will bring.

It seems hopeless.

Yet even in this darkest hour, hope has been arriving from all corners of the globe, as planes and ships rush to Haiti, carrying everything from search-and-rescue dogs to blood products to power generators. And the massive scope of the tragedy reminds us that much more help will be needed. For most of us, the best way is through monetary contributions, large or small, said Coralie Matayoshi of the Red Cross of Hawai'i.

Thankfully, donations those individual expressions of human kindness have been pouring in. In two days, the Red Cross collected $35 million nationwide, more than the first 48 hours for Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined, Matayoshi said. As of yesterday morning, donors texting "Haiti" to 90999 on their cell phones gave more than $3 million, $10 at a time. Others have reached out with everything from tip jars in restaurants to high school basketball tournaments.

It's an encouraging beginning to what must be a long-term effort.

The people of Haiti face a long and painful recovery to rebuild their lives and communities. And as the death toll climbs and local residents struggle to survive, the situation could get worse before it gets better. That's why we must give what we can, not only to help, but to offer hope that this suffering eventually will be swept away, along with the rubble.