Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti; who's helping, how to join in

I'm still watching coverage from Haiti. The scenes are as I remember them from Nicaragua - frightening, stomach-turning, shattering. Now they're saying there may be 100,000 dead. Or more.

It's going to be a long road back. Haitians have been living on $2 a day; now even that is gone. Water is already a scarce commodity. (How long can a human survive without it? Three days?)

Worse than thirst, though, is panic and desperation. People don't reason well when they're thirsty and starving; even less when they're also grieving the loss of family and home. They do foolish things, take violent action, or just give up and die. (Yes, it happens.)

Haiti needs help, will need it for a long time to come. If you have already sent help, good; send more. If you haven't, why not?

Here are a few organizations that are providing aid;

Doctors Without Borders is on the ground already; they have been for some time. However, their building was destroyed; they're badly stretched.
"MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres)has already treated more than 1,000 people on the ground in Haiti following Tuesday's earthquake, but the needs are huge. An inflatable hospital with operating theatres is expected to arrive in the next 24 hours."
I've heard good things about ShelterBox. They provide boxes containing,
"... one (sometimes two) ten-person tent(s). Other items can include insulated sleeping mats and thermal blankets, water purification tablets, water purification kits, water containers/carriers, a trenching shovel, a multi-fueled cook stove, eating utensils and plates, a childrens' activity kit and other essential items."
"The ICRC plans to focus on providing medical aid for survivors of the earthquake and support for efforts to recover and identify the dead. It will also support Red Cross efforts to restore contacts between family members separated because of the earthquake and its aftermath. Finally, it plans to assess the needs of the prisons where it has been regularly visiting detainees".
"UNICEF's offices in Port-au-Prince were damaged yesterday, but staff are ready to deliver disaster relief to the children and families affected by yesterday's earthquake in Haiti."
Mercy Corps
"Mercy Corps has deployed an experienced emergency team to rush critical supplies and other urgent assistance to survivors."

Bryan Williams, talking to Keith Olbermann, said about a disaster this "horrible", that it is so far removed from our daily life, that coming back, he has to "put it in a box." True. We have our own problems, our own life to live. But sometimes, unpleasant or not, we have to open that box. Now is the time.


  1. We donated to Doctors Without Borders. I've stopped watching the news. Cannot look at the photos anymore from my nice comfy, cozy home.

  2. I went with Doctors Without Borders, too. My daughter sent her donation to the Red Cross. Good choice, too; I've seen how helpful they can be on other occasions, when I was with the victims.


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