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Young children are seen at an orphanage on January 18, 2010 following the earthquake that hit in Port au Prince on January 12, 2010. More than 105,000 food rations have been distributed to victims of Haiti's devastating earthquake since the emergency relief operation began last week, the UN's food relief agency said. (JULIEN TACK)
Young children are seen at an orphanage on January 18, 2010 following the earthquake that hit in Port au Prince on January 12, 2010. More than 105,000 food rations have been distributed to victims of Haiti's devastating earthquake since the emergency relief operation began last week, the UN's food relief agency said. (JULIEN TACK)

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The devastating earthquake in Haiti has caught the attention of the world in an unprecedented humanitarian relief effort.

While there is much coverage on the ongoing work being done both in Haiti and around the world, there may be many questions and confusion about how to donate, what to donate, or how to locate information on missing relatives or loved ones.

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Or you may have more general questions about Haiti, earthquakes, the relief effort and Canada's involvement.

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If you have a question and you can't find the answer, leave it with us through the comment function attached to this story. Every day we will find the best person to provide you the information you need, whether it be from a Globe reporter in Haiti or an expert with a specific relief organization active in the region.

Q & A

The Red Cross says it is best to take the time to document and photograph the dead. Is this being done at all? I watched a feature on CBC on the mass graves and there doesn't appear to be any documentation happening. I watched a documentary on the 2004 tsunami and one of the families filmed were able find and identify their daughter through photographs posted on bulletin boards made specifically for the purpose of identification. It seems like an important step that may get overlooked.

Answer: In a disaster situation, especially one so grave as Haiti, care of the deceased in often overlooked in the days that follow. Trucks piled with corpses have been ferrying unidentified bodies to hurriedly excavated mass graves outside Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince at the request of Haitian authorities, who see it as the most efficient way of dispensing of rotting corpses.

But the Red Cross says it's important to avoid this hasty disposal of bodies, and photographing them or taking DNA samples of the corpses before burial is needed not only for identification purposes, but to allow families to properly mourn their dead. After all, contrary to what many believe, corpses do not spread disease and cause epidemics after natural disasters.

Haiti's voodoo priests have also objected to the anonymous mass burials. Disposing of the dead in such a manner and without the proper rites is seen as disrespectful.

Few of the victims, however, are receiving proper burials.

Canada, for its part, has outlined criteria on how to identify Canadian victims, which includes having the body seen and identified by next-of-kin or an embassy official. The criteria is listed here: http://www.international.gc.ca/humanitarian-humanitaire/earthquake_seisme_haiti_definition.aspx

Meanwhile, as part of its relief efforts, the International Committee of the Red Cross sent a forensic expert to Haiti to help document the death, Reuters reports. Pan American Health Organization spokesman, Daniel Epstein, told Reuters: "We are making every effort to prevent dumping bodies into mass graves because every family has the right to identify and know the fate of their loved ones, their lost relatives."

Are cruise ships in the area of Haiti or Dominican Republic at risk in the event of aftershocks?

Answer: Scientists have said that Haiti can expect more aftershocks in the coming weeks, but they tend to be weaker and less frequent.

The Dominican Republic is urging tourists not to cancel their getaways despite the devastation in neighbouring Haiti. Vanessa Welter, a spokeswoman for the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, said that this week's powerful aftershock in Haiti was not felt by its neighbours. "It caused no damage in the DR and it wasn't felt in most places. I think just maybe a little bit closer to the border, but there was no damage," Ms. Welter said. "I'm not a scientist so I really can't speak to the risk, but I do know that the DR is doing well, all the tourist regions are open and welcoming visitors and all the seaports and airports are running smoothly."

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