January 13, 2010

Help Haiti Relief Efforts

As you no doubt know by now, shortly before sunset last night, the Caribbean nation of Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake. The epicenter of the 7.0 quake was just 10 miles from Port au Prince, the nation’s capitol and home to 2 million residents. Today and tonight, rescue workers, family members, neighbors and strangers struggled to extract survivors from the rubble of the “flattened” capital city. Government officials say the death toll may exceed 100,000.

The Presidential Palace was destroyed, as was the headquarters of the U.N. mission in Haiti and the national cathedral. There is no electricity. The airport was decimated. The central hospital was badly damaged and clinics are inoperable. Potable water is the next major threat, then food, shelter and medical care. The destruction of infrastructure and the loss of life is staggering. The future needs are unimaginable.

I struggle to turn off the news to get back to work, but am unable to shut off the images. I feel compelled to watch, to try to comprehend the magnitude of the loss. And I feel that burning feel in my gut — to do something, anything. It’s the same feeling I had on 9-11, the Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. But what can one person do?

In an interview earlier today,  Special Envoy to Haiti and former U.S. President Bill Clinton made the answer clear: “We’ve got to save lives.” Absolutely! But how do we help with that effort? Again, according to President Clinton, the answer is straight-forward: Send cash. Now. A CNN story from earlier today concurs: “Most organizations are asking for monetary donations. They are not seeking material items, like clothes or food, or volunteers at this time.” See the disaster relief donations page on JobMonkey for several reputable organizations to whom your donation can go.

And there are many other worthy organizations too. Check out these lists of charitable organizations  (here and here),  which have been vetted by CNN journalists for credibility. You also can text “Haiti” to 90999 to donate $10 to relief efforts in Haiti through the American Red Cross.  Or text “Yele” to 501501 to donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

How are you planning to respond to the Haitian earthquake? What will you do to help?

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