Five years on what so fully captured our attention is now too easy to forget. More than 160,000 were killed. The recovery has been difficult for thousands more.
There has been a tendency to dismiss Haiti as Haiti, too forsaken to have any lessons for anyplace else. Yet when the Tohoku Triple Disaster struck, some experts saw comparable patterns in the initial response. One has told me, “If not for the Japanese trucking companies voluntary action, Tohoku was sliding toward Haiti.”
Several colleagues at the White House, DOD, and with various voluntary agencies have commented on important lessons that each of them learned. “Catastrophes are entirely different beasts, as different as a Lynx from a Lion,” said one. Another wondered aloud, “Would Americans display the resilience we saw in the Haitians, if hit as hard?”
So it has been a long day. It is almost too late. But while not nearly enough, a few words in honor of those who died, those who worked so hard to save lives, and for the struggle that continues today.