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TODAY'S QUESTION: What's the best way to provide long-term assistance to Haiti?

Monday, January 18, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 1:12 p.m. CST, Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti experienced a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, devastating Port-Au-Prince, and as many as tens of thousands are feared dead. Unfortunately, this is not the only tragedy the country has experienced.

Recent natural disasters include four tropical storms or hurricanes that killed about 800 people in 2008, storms in 2005 and 2004 and major floods in 2007, 2006 and twice in 2003 and 2002, according to reports by The Associated Press.

This earthquake has led the global community to pay more attention to Haiti, which is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80 percent of citizens living below the poverty line, according to CIA World Factbook.

Revitalizing Haiti's infrastructure to the point of self-sustainability is imperative to giving the country the power to better protect itself against natural disasters.

Forgiving Haiti's $1.8 billion national debt could be the first step to helping the country rebuild itself. 

How can the global community help Haiti protect itself from future threats? What is the best way to provide long-term assistance to Haiti?


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