January 20, 2010 Edition

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Haiti earthquake
offers us lessons

John Bland

The devastating earthquake centered at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, last Tuesday has brought to the forefront many issues, reactions and revelations. Some of ours are as follows.

  • Haiti is really not too far from us. Just below Cuba, it is not too many miles from the tip of Florida.

  • It is a modern-day phenomenon that so many millions of dollars are being raised by people calling an 800 number or using their cell phones to text $10 donations to the American Red Cross and UNICEF. CNN has been promoting the organizations and asking the public to donate while televising special coverage of the earthquake aftermath and rescue efforts.

  • Watching and reading about the incredible stories of survival, loss, devastation, sorrow and hope have been truly moving. Seeing the orphans and injured children is especially difficult to watch.

  • Our ice storm that occurred almost one year ago is put into perspective by the Haiti quake. However, the earthquake and the coming anniversary of the ice storm, and our potential for a New Madrid Fault earthquake bring to mind all the more the importance of being prepared for a natural disaster.


Mike Pinkston, technology coordinator for the Walnut Ridge Schools, allowed us to share his words of wisdom that he had shared with the Walnut Ridge and Black Rock schools' faculty and staff via e-mail.

Here's the e-mail from Mike Pinkston.

Subject: Don't miss this lesson

There are some important lessons being taught right now in the Haiti story.

1. Be prepared. The quake happened yesterday (Jan. 12), and they are talking about tomorrow before any type of real help even begins to arrive. Notice: Day 3 before help arrives.

2. The Walnut Ridges and Hoxies of the world will be far down the priority list. All the TV coverage is on Port-au-Prince. The same situation in Port-au-Prince will be played out in Memphis and St. Louis, major population centers with old construction. Notice: Day 3 only has meaning to large population centers.

3. What you need the most, will be the first to go. Water, power, communications. When you are injured and need water to clean your injuries and light to help your family, it will not be there.

4. First responders will be victims themselves. You will truly be on your own.

Are you a lifelong learner? Don't miss this lesson.

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