Thursday, January 14, 2010

How You Can Help in Haiti

You don't need to be told about what happened in Haiti. You almost certainly just want to know how you can help.

Unless you're a professional, you probably shouldn't go to Haiti to help. You can best help through donation. From Huffpo:

The U.S. State Department Operations Center has set up the following number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747

NOTE: We will continually be updating this page. The best way for you to help right now is to give through one of the organizations below.

The American Red Cross is pledging an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by this earthquake. They expect to provide immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. They are accepting donations through their International Response Fund.

UNICEF has issued a statement that "Children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF is there for them." UNICEF requests donations for relief for children in Haiti via their Haiti Earthquake Fund. You can also call 1-800-4UNICEF.

•Donate through Wyclef Jean's foundation, Yele Haiti. Text "Yele" to 501501 and $5 will be charged to your phone bill and given to relief projects through the organization.

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Operation USA is appealing for donations of funds from the public and corporate donations in bulk of health care materials, water purification supplies and food supplements which it will ship to the region from its base in the Port of Los Angeles. Donate online at, by phone at 1-800-678-7255 or, by check made out to Operation USA, 3617 Hayden Ave, Suite A, Culver City, CA 90232.

Save The Children has launched an emergency relief effort for Haiti. Donate to their fund to provide medical attention and clean water to children and families.

International Medical Corps is assembling a team of first responders and resources to provide lifesaving medical care and other emergency services to survivors of the earthquake. The IMC previously helped recovery efforts after September 2009's earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, and the massive 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Donate to the International Medical Corps through their 24-hour hotline at 800-481-4462

•Ben Stiller's Stillerstrong campaign will be temporarily diverting all donations to support the Haiti relief effort.

Partners In Health reports its Port-au-Prince clinical director , Louise Ivers, has appealed for assistance: "Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS... Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us." Donate to their Haiti earthquake fund.

•As a UN Special Envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton appeared on CNN on Wednesday to ask for further assistance in bringing relief to populations on the ground. You can donate through the Clinton Foundation or text HAITI to 20222 to donate $10.

Mercy Corps is sending a team of emergency responders to assess damage, and seek to fulfill immediate needs of quake survivors. The agency aided families after earthquakes in Peru in 2007, China and Pakistan in 2008, and Indonesia last year. Donate online, call 1-888-256-1900 or send checks to Mercy Corps Haiti Earthquake Fund; Dept NR; PO Box 2669; Portland, OR 97208.

Doctors Without Borders is on the ground and has set up clinics to treat injured in Haiti. Donate any amount so they can keep their efforts going.

Direct Relief is committing up to $1 million in aid for the response and is coordinating with its other in-country partners and colleague organizations. Their partners in Haiti include Partners in Health, St. Damien Children's Hospital, and the Visitation Hospital, which are particularly active in emergency response. Donate to Direct Relief online.

Oxfam is rushing in teams from around the region to respond to the situation to provide clean water, shelter, sanitation and help people recover. Donate to Oxfam America online.

•The UN World Food Programme is gathering all available resources to deliver food to the recently homeless and impoverished in Haiti. Donate now to help bring food to those affected as quickly and efficiently as possible.

•The Baptist Haiti Mission is operating an 82-bed hospital that is "overflowing with injured." Donate online to BHM and 100% of your donation will go to the relief effort.

International Medical Corps is assembling a team of first responders and resources to provide lifesaving medical care and other emergency services to survivors of the earthquake. Donate online.

•Following the earthquake, Catholic Relief Services made an immediate commitment of $5 million for emergency supplies. They are distributing food and relief supplies, and importing plastic sheeting, mosquito nets and water purification tablets from the Domincan Republic. Donate to Catholic Relief Services to assist in these efforts.

•Give to the American Jewish World Service's Earthquake Relief Fund.

•CARE is deploying emergency team members to Port-au-Prince today to assist in recovery efforts. They're focusing their efforts on rescuing children who may still be trapped in schools that collapsed. Donate to CARE.

Orphans International America reports that they have been able to make contact with their program director in the town of Jacmel, a city about 20 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince that houses OI's hospitals and schools. Orphans International America is attempting to gather food, clean water and emergency medical supplies to Jacmel. You can contribute to them through PayPal.

The International Rescue Committee is deploying an emergency response team to Haiti to deliver urgent assistance to earthquake survivors and to help overwhelmed local aid groups struggling to meet the immense emergency needs. They will focus on critical medical, water and sanitation assistance. Donate to the IRC Haiti Crisis Fund.

NetHope is coordinating its response with its NGO member agencies and with the UN's Emergency Telecom Cluster to establish connectivity in Haiti. Seventeen of NetHope's members are already providing aid and deploying resources on the ground. Donate online.

The Haitian Health Foundation is still assessing the situation of their full-time facilities and staff in Haiti. They regularly provide health care, development and relief to rural mountain villages in Haiti. Donate to the Haitian Health Foundation.

•World Vision has more 370 staff in the country. Staff members from less-affected regions of Haiti are mobilizing, and World Vision's global experts are expected to arrive in the disaster zone as soon as possible. Donate to World Vision.

The Jewish Federations of North America is partnering with the American Jewish Joint Distribution committee and have created a dedicated Haiti Relief page for online donations.

United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is the UN's humanitarian fund responding to emergencies like the earthquake in Haiti. Donate online.

Friends of the Orphans will use donations to meet the needs of first responders such as first aid supplies, shipping of necessary materials to assist in efforts, and treating the injured. Those interested in helping the relief effort can visit, or call 888-201-8880 to make a donation.

World Concern's staff is almost entirely composed of Haitian nationals and will be tapping into private as well as U.S. government supplies to help in the relief effort it hopes will soon be supplemented by cargo ships. Donate to World Concern.

Merlin USA is sending an emergency response team out to the region and have subsequently launched an emergency appeal to bring urgent medical aid and assistance to those affected. Donate to Merlin USA.

HuffPost Impact is following relief organizations in Haiti and will be updating with their latest messages from the ground.

The ARC, Oxfam, the medical NGOs and UNICEF would be my first choices. I don't have much to add to that, except remind people that the first few days are incredibly important, and that while donations of food and blankets are certainly welcome, cash can be put to work much faster.

Edit: If you want to donate RIGHT NOW, easiest way possible (assuming you have a mobile phone) is to text "HAITI" to 90999. It'll put a $10 charge on your phone bill and send the money to the ARC. I don't trust those texting services in general, but this one seems legit: it's linked from the ARC's own site.

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