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Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti: We Must ALL Help

Tuesday, January 12, at 4:53 p.m. a 7.0 earthquake hit 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Current estimates by the Haitian government suggest that 200,000 may have died already, 80,000 have been buried in mass graves by bulldozers, and millions others are injured; most are unable to obtain medical treatment. Surgeons are amputating limbs with hack saws and no anesthesia; people not killed in the quake are dying from dehydration and treatable infections. Millions are homeless.
The people of Haiti are suffering
What can we do  to help?

  

On January 20th, another earthquake hit; this one a 6.1 on the richter scale.


The people of Haiti are suffering
What will we do?
Before the earthquake, Haiti was already ranked as "the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent of its people living below the poverty line and 54% existing in abject poverty." (The Week, 1-15-10)


40% of the population of Haiti is comprised of children. 
Aren't the children of Haiti our children too?


Before the earthquake the life expectancy for the average Haitian was only 60. According to the World Food Program  1.9 million people in Haiti "were ‘food insecure’, meaning they needed assistance to stave off hunger" before the quake and only 50% of the population had access to safe drinking water prior to the devastation wrought by the quake.


Haiti has been suffering for a long time
Shouldn't we have been helping them for a long time now?


Everyone is jumping on the "collect donations for Haiti" bandwagon. It makes more sense to donate to organizations who are already in Haiti, have been working for Haiti for years, are run by local agencies, or who have financial profiles that show their money goes to the victims not to the administrators. Consider giving to one of the following organizations:




Doctors Without Borders has been in Haiti for 20 years and needs donations to provide crucial medical treatment and supplies; they only spend 1% of their funding on management.

Quisqueya International Organization for Freedom and Development, founded by a former Peace Corps volunteer, is on-the-ground, assisting with relief efforts; QIFD is a nonprofit organization that works on the grassroots level to advance political, economic and social rights by working with community organizations to empower poor people to help themselves;

Yele Haiti, a grassroots organization set up by Grammy-winning musician Wyclef Jean, a native Haitian, whose programs have used music, sports and the media to create 3,000 new jobs, put 7,000 children in school, feed 8,000 people a month, and provide HIV/AIDS prevention education to 2,000 young people a month.




The Pan American Development Foundation is the disaster relief arm of the Organization of American States. It has been in Haiti for over 30 years, and currently has over 150 people on the ground there. Go here to make an online donation or call 877-572-4484;

Partners in Health (Paul Farmer's organization) has been on the ground in Haiti for over 20 years. To support its efforts with a donation, go here;

Action Against Hunger has mobilized an emergency response and has teams already on the ground, assessing and responding to needs;Recognized as a world leader in the fight against hunger and malnutrition, the ACF International Network has pursued its vision of a world without hunger for three decades.



CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, also needs donations for its on-ground work in Haiti;

Habitat for Humanity has been working in Haiti for 26 years and will be sending a team to assess the impact on affordable housing after the earthquake. To make a donation, go here

The United Nations World Food Program has teams "already on the scene, mobilizing emergency food assistance to families." To support these efforts, you can make an emergency donation here;

Staff from the United Nations Foundation is currently on the ground, and its United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) is accepting donations toward these relief and recovery efforts. Donations can be made online here.



Dreaming of Haiti

Lush green, people singing

Children running in the streets
I try to fly away at night

To this ancestral land
Where the people’s eyes shine

America will have me
But Haiti knows me

From the marrow
Loves me from the soul

And Haiti waits for me I know


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