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Band-Aids make us feel better at first, but sometimes end up causing deeper pain and longer suffering. The hurting in Haiti needs help — but the country’s wound is deep and past the point of being healed by a temporary bandage.

The havoc wreaked in Haiti has caused a ripple in our daily monotony. Seeing the pictures of the splintered buildings, parched faces and displaced families opened many of our eyes to the reality of pain, suffering and premature death in much of the world today.

In Haiti, the death toll from this earthquake is estimated to be around 150,000, as The Los Angeles Times reported. Almost half of those will be buried in mass graves, according to The Telegraph. Alongside those numbers, another one million are now wandering without a place to rest their heads since their homes have been destroyed, according to Fox News. Thousands more need urgent aid.

As we sip our pumpkin spice lattes, mochas, or americanos, a tinge of guilt may easily creep through our brains thinking about those suffering in Haiti. But what can one person do, right? We can help.

Helping is an American trend. Americans have a track record of generosity to charities and needy cities, regions and countries. In fact, The team reports that America is No. 1 in giving compared to other Westernized nations. In total we give $300 billion to charities per year.

With just a few weeks past in this year, Americans have effectively mobilized and stepped in the gap by giving to the needy in Haiti. Here at ASU, students, clubs and President Michael Crow are helping. Even the local Wal-Mart is helping. The U.S. Congress is helping. President Barack Obama is helping. Why do we help? And is our help helping or hurting Haiti in the long run?

Since we can’t all go and restack each stone, feed every hungry mouth, and bury each loved one, we do the best we can. Instead of backbreaking hours of work, we give greenbacks to help others do the labor we can’t.

Usually these gifts do a lot of good and provide for much relief effort. But still, as The Telegraph reported, Haiti will never have enough aid.

No matter how much charities, relief organizations, and troops offer aid, the need will never abate. After the relief workers pack up and go home, there will still be the homeless, the hungry and the sick. Who will house them, feed them and heal them?

Relief efforts are not permanent. They are a temporary Band-Aid to a deep problem. Haiti has one of the worst societal infrastructures in the world, said Haiti’s U.S. ambassador, Raymond Joseph, on CNN.

To sustain support, relief and aid to a country plagued with unstable infrastructures, we need a plan to equip and empower those who are hurting. According to Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert in “When Helping Hurts,” if we always do for people what they can do for themselves, we will only create more dependents.

The irony with us is that although we live by the individualist’s creed of pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, when it comes to the poor and needy, we give millions of dollars and are surprised after years that region is still in the same predicament as it was at the beginning. The best thing we can give a place like Haiti is independence and development. Money can’t solve everything.

Reach Catherine at

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