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Cruise Ships Suspend Operations in Haiti

Catastrophe changes the Caribbean map again

If you have family or friends in Haiti (as I do) cruising is the last thing on your mind tonight. There's no way to get through, no way to know if those we love survived - and will survive the coming days. Our prayers are all we have, but they're not enough, not nearly enough...

Disaster Strikes Again...Disaster Strikes Again...Once we're through the initial crisis and the triage of relief, the rebuilding will begin - and that will take years.

"The winds of optimism had begun to blow - we were hoping Haiti was going to make its way back onto the tourism map after the largest cruise ship in the world, the Oasis of the Seas, chose Haiti as its first stop on its maiden voyage in November," Eric Pierre, a Toronto resident told the Toronto Star . "How this is going to play out now is anybody's guess."

Royal Caribbean owns a private island, Labadee, close by and is scheduled to stop in Haiti on Friday. We're assuming all stops to Haiti will be cancelled until the full extent of the damage is known - and rebuilding has begun.

Haiti can rebuild itself - with a little help from us...

When Hurricane Ivan ripped through Grenada in 2004, 90% of homes on the island were damaged or destroyed. And even though Hurricane Emily caused more damage in 2005, the country was back open for business by Christmas. In 2007, the Cricket World Cup breathed new life back into the economy.

Tourism can play an influential role in getting an economy back on its feet. Cruise ships bring shoppers and adventurers - and they bring their US dollars.

"The strength of the Caribbean is centered on tourism so the region should look for ways of using tourism to feed resources not only to the devastated areas, but also to communities in other parts of Haiti," said Lelei LeLaulu, Director of Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx)

After we've answered the call to aide Haiti and the rebuilding begins, I hope the world continues to help Haiti. I hope cruise ships bring tourists who pour their money into the local economy and coax it back to life. And I hope some of the attention we focus on Haiti gives its residents new tools to carve a more independent future.

But before all of this, I hope we're reunited with our loved ones in Haitii.

If you'd like to help bring relief to Haiti, these organizations need your help.

Do you know of another organization sending help? Shere it with me so others can donate as well!

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