Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti Catastrophe: Good Neighbor Brazil Suffers Losses, Contributes Much

Overlooked in the news of Haiti’s catastrophe is the role of Brazil, that commands the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti with 1,266 troops (1,310 personnel in all). At least 10 Brazilian peacekeepers are dead with more missing and injured.

The Brazilian air force had two Hercules transport planes on standby, one of which landed in the Port-Au-Prince airport today, and the other due tomorrow to ferry 11 tons of water and 10 tons of food, with more to come. Brazil said it intends to build an “aerial bridge” to supply Haiti.

Among the Brazilian dead was Zilda Arns, “the legendary founder of the Children’s Pastoral, a Roman Catholic Church-based group that has saved tens of thousands of lives by teaching uneducated women about basic health care issues.”

President Lula has pledged $15 million or more to help rebuild Haiti. Given what other nations have yet to contribute (China pledged only $1 million?), this is a noteworthy example of a good neighbor’s selfless generosity, sacrifice, and commitment to help a disaster-stricken neighbor in its time of desperate need.

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