PSR alum documents plight in Haiti

February 4, 2010

“This is the worst disaster I've covered in the last ten years, given the deep vulnerability of the Haitian people before the quake,” says documentary photographer Paul Jeffrey, who has covered catastrophes as severe as the humanitarian chaos in Darfur and human trafficking in Cambodia.

Jeffrey (MDiv 1980) has spent the last three weeks living in a tent in Haiti and photographing the devastation following last month’s 7.0 earthquake there. His photographs of Haiti have been printed in newspapers across the world, including the Boston Globe and the Washington Post.

“The line between ‘natural’ and ‘human-caused’ disasters is fuzzy, because it is the vulnerability of a particular society that will increase its suffering when it encounters a natural threat such as too much wind or water or too much shaking of the earth,” Jeffrey says. “If we want to mitigate the impact of inevitable natural hazards, we need to focus on justice, on helping people take charge of their lives and build sustainable communities where all members, including women and children, are subjects of their history and not just objects of someone else's history. We'll still have to deal with the crises that require compassion, but focusing on justice ahead of time will reduce the need for our mercy.”

A sampling of his most recent work can be found at www.tinyurl.com/paulhaiti.

More information about Jeffrey and his international photography can be found in the PSR news archive