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Tribune Editorial: Minnesotans will again show their generosity

West central Minnesota is a place where people take care of their neighbors.

A recent string of fires that destroyed area residents' homes proved that. From the volunteer firefighters and other emergency workers who actually responded to the fires to those who have organized benefits, people proved they care about their neighbors.

People have also helped their neighbors when floods, tornadoes and disabling disease have struck.

But what if a whole town burned to the ground or was wiped out by flood or storm? What if the community struck was St. Cloud or part of the Twin Cities.

What could we do to help?

Such a disaster would be beyond what we could handle locally. We would need outside help.

Disaster on an even greater scale struck Tuesday.

A magnitude 7.0 quake earthquake hit America's neighbors in Haiti.

Thousands are feared dead with estimates by some Haitian officials reaching as high as a half million. That's a quarter of the population of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, which is located near the quake's epicenter.

Bob Poff, director of disaster services in Haiti for the Salvation Army, stated in a report released by the army that he was driving a truck down a hill when the quake struck.

"Our truck was being tossed to and fro like a toy, and when it stopped, I looked out the windows to see buildings 'pancaking' down," Poff wrote.

"As I am sitting outside now, with most people trying to get a little sleep, I can hear the moans and (cries) of the neighbors. One of our staff went to a home in the neighborhood, to try to be of assistance to the woman who lived there. But she was too late," Poff reported.

"Tomorrow, we will begin the process of assessing damage, learning about casualties, and preparing for the future," Poff concluded.

The Salvation Army is just one of many organizations that will be struggling in the weeks and months to come to help Haitians recover and rebuild.

As these groups assess the damage suffered and the Haitians' needs, more specific requirements will become apparent.

In the meantime, the best thing many of us can do is to contribute to the groups that will be helping the disaster's victims.

Besides the Salvation Army, these are a few other organizations that will be helping with the recovery:

World Vision

American Red Cross


Save the Children


Doctors Without Borders

It's time again for us to show we can be good neighbors even when the disaster isn't down the street.