WDEL Blog: Rick Jensen's World Famous Thirsty Thursday Blog
Friday, January 15, 2010
Non Governmental Ways to Help Haiti Earthquake Victims
If you want to help people in Haiti, I personally would avoid contributions to the White House or the Haitian Government. Neither has demonstrated the ability to distribute funds to citizens in an effective or meaningful manner.
How's THAT for putting it nicely?
There is a link to the International Red Cross on the White House website and I would suggest your donations are best used by nonprofit humanitarian organizations with people on the ground and experience working to improve lives in Haiti. A short and solid list follows.
The Haitian Red Cross is estimating that more than 50,000 people are dead and millions more injured after the quake, the impoverished nation’s strongest in 200 years, crumbled government buildings, hospitals, schools, and shantytowns. Most of the capital, Port-au-Prince, is in ruins.
A ShelterBox response team of two U.S. Rotarians and one from the United Kingdom has already mobilized to deliver 500 containers of supplies to the affected areas. Also, more than 100 Aquaboxes are being delivered to Haiti to provide safe water.
Claude Surena, a member of the Rotary Club of Petion-Ville, is sheltering more than 100 people in his damaged home in Port-au-Prince. He is also leading the efforts of the 17 Haitian Rotary clubs to ensure that the ShelterBox containers will be deployed effectively to the thousands left homeless.
The Rotary Club of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, has committed US$50,000 to clubs in the affected areas.
"Rotarians are working hard and fast to get help to those in Haiti," says Past RI Director Barry Rassin, of Nassau, Bahamas, who has previously coordinated relief efforts in the country. "We're at the same time working on long-term efforts."
More than $75,000 has been donated to District 7020 in the Caribbean, according to Past District Governor Dick McCombe. The district will be coordinating much of the Rotarian relief effort through its Haiti Task Force, set up two years ago to administer all financial aid to the nation.
A six-member team of Rotarians from District 5890 (Texas, USA) has reported in safe after landing in Haiti for a humanitarian mission 45 minutes before the quake struck. They were scheduled to be there a week but will likely return early.
"We were in Haiti 18 months ago, delivering aid after a series of hurricanes left thousands homeless," said Lasse Petersen, general manager for ShelterBox. "We’ll now be working closely with our contacts on the ground in the country to make sure we get aid to the people who need it most during the current crisis."
RI President John Kenny and Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Glenn E. Estess Sr. have sent a joint letter conveying Rotary's condolences to victims of the quake and asking for more information on how Rotarians can help.
One other footnote about "donations to Haiti." While it pains me to admit it, Rush was right on this one --- all of us are ALREADY making donations to Haiti, by virtue of being taxpayers in the U.S. And, here's a pop quiz: How many nations donated money to the United States to help Americans who were suffering through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?
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