Earthquake Devastates Haiti

A major earthquake struck Haiti last night causing massive damage and leaving perhaps hundreds of thousands dead in its wake. Reports indicate that many buildings have been destroyed, including at least one hospital and prison, and the headquarters for the UN relief mission in the country has collapsed, also killing, it’s believed, the chief of the UN mission. This will make matters of rescue and recovery even more difficult.

Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic (D.R.). In our recurring series, Harvest Journal, author Byron Holcomb writes about his efforts at running a coffee farm in the Dominican Republic and the tensions he’s noticed between the people of the two countries. No doubt the earthquake affected the D.R. too, but even more so it will exacerbate the pressures faced by the D.R. from its much poorer neighbor as both countries struggle to recover, and in the case of Haiti in the face of very long odds.

One further layer of tragedy here is that despite the many challenges faced by Haiti throughout the last decades (and really even longer than that), the country was really starting to show signs of progress. It was one of two countries in the Caribbean region to have projected economic growth this year.

Relief operations are underway. Donations can be made with Mercy Corps and the Red Cross here.

About the Author


Kenneth R. Olson is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Huskies. Go Blazers! Go Dawgs!