March 15, 2010
Dear Editor,

According to Wikipedia, “The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 M earthquake. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time on Tues., Jan. 12. By Jan. 24, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. The Haitian government reports that between 217,000 and 230,000 people had been identified as dead, an estimated 300,000 injured, and an estimated one-million homeless. The death toll is expected to rise.”

The event has touched many people, physically, emotionally, socially and permanently. This catastrophe has struck more people than inhabit Toronto. The Haitians most affected by this event, have little or nothing left of their homes, that is if they were lucky enough to escape safely. Those who were injured, face challenges that are all but uncommon to us. They are also faced with little to no domestic public assistance. The options are extremely limited, compared to what we have available to us.  

It goes without saying, that there has been an outlay of generosity that is unparalleled from any event in the past. The response from people around the world has been most generous. We have responded with money, people, equipment, aid, health care, security, building materials and so on.  People all around the world need to be commended for the way they have responded to the need of Haiti.

At this time, there is a transition occurring. Teams of people that arrived to help in Haiti are now being replaced by other teams who are assuming the “roles of assistance.” The work will be of a different nature. The initial phase of aid to the people of Haiti was of dire emergency. They were there to assist those who were in a situation of life and death.

Time has passed. The situation is no longer a dire emergency, but more of dire uncertainty. What is going to happen?  Where are these people going to go?  What are they going to do?

Assistance is still required. When someone is not immediately affected or directly involved in a situation such as this disaster, time becomes the worst enemy of those who need help. Once the media and news reports subside and focus on another item, the story what once was, becomes secondary to our everyday thoughts. Time always lets those who do not need help, lose track of those who do. The people of Haiti need help in the long term.  

Landscape Ontario recognized the need that arose in Haiti. We recognize that the needs that existed and continue to exist in Haiti are not short term and are not going to subside anytime soon. A fund has been started that has given the staff, groups, chapters, sectors and members of Landscape Ontario an opportunity to help, in not just the short term, but particularly in the long term. The goal of this fund is to provide assistance to the people of Haiti. The goal is to make an effective and direct contribution that will not disappear with time and will not dissipate in bureaucracy and confusion.  The goal is to make time our asset and to create an opportunity to develop a plan of a lasting contribution. This contribution might not ever be seen by any members of Landscape Ontario, but it will be a contribution that will affect the lives of people in a part of the world that rarely sees the opportunities that we see as parts of everyday life.  

My brother left for Haiti on Feb 22. He is there with CMAT (Canadian Medical Assistance Team), providing care to some of the many who require medical attention. Dr. Rocco Lombardi is part of the third wave of Canadian volunteers who have gone to Haiti since the earthquake occurred. The association is funded to establish short-term emergency care facilities that will eventually become long-term sustainable medical clinics and facilities. Such facilities were also set up in south-east Asia following the tsunami that ravaged that area several years ago. Those facilities are still in operation in that area. CMAT Is affiliated with Doctors without Borders.  

Mr. Editor, the Haiti fund, established by the members of Landscape Ontario is an opportunity to reach outside of our everyday lives and help people as we would not normally imagine. The Haiti fund is a statement to our association that the work we do does not stop at the borders of our province. Our influence on society and humanity should not stop within the familiar and everyday work that we do. I encourage all the members to take this opportunity to extend a hand and help those who are blessed, not with money or possessions, but with hope.

To donate, go to

Tony Lombardi, B.A., CLD, CLP
Dr. Landscape
Chair, Landscape Designers Sector Group