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Haiti Quake


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The thing is, there are earthquakes all the time that kill lots of people. People die all the time. So what's the big deal about Haiti? It seriously was a complete disaster zone before.

Keep giving these people aid.............all it will do is promote the kind of destruction we've seen so far.

Anyone that donates a dime, or even waste 5 minutes of their time watching the news networks, is an idiot.

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I understand where your coming from light but, the benefit's will be very low in this case. Even if this had happened here in the states or in another well funded country the massive amount of destruction is beyond belief and will take many lives.

I don't hate the people of Haiti but in a way Drunk8 has a point, when so much damage is done in so big a city there is little hope for the one's seriously injured that don't get medical attention in the first day or two.

The word's "Move on to someone you can help" are for sure being uttered all over Haiti!

That's why I don't like the mass press getting more attention than the people in need. I know it's there job but have some taste and dignity...please!

The death toll is currently estimated at 50,000 and could easily rise, which would then be followed by disease unless something is done quickly. Like Suzi Orman says, people first, money second, things third. Abandoning people in their most urgent time of need is not something that I even want to contemplate. It is better to assist and reduce the misery level wherever possible. Otherwise you will be paying the price in spades.

You can easily understand why they need people who are fluently bilingual in English and French.

Matthew 25:31-46 (New International Version)

The Sheep and the Goats

31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

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^Yes, they are currently having significant problems with logistics.

By Tina Susman, Tracy Wilkinson and Joe MozingoLos Angeles Times

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Emergency aid flowed from around the world toward Haiti on Thursday, only to confront a reality that grew more desperate by the hour: Crippled ports and communications left stunned earthquake survivors on their own to scavenge for food and water, carry away legions of dead and dig frantically for voices calling out from under the rubble.


Also, it is not only the Haitians themselves that are impacted by this disaster. People from other countries who are living there are also affected, including citizens of the United States. And there are people living in the United States who have relatives in Haiti who were hit by the earthquake.

LAS VEGAS - Haitian families in Las Vegas are starting to receive news about their loved ones in Haiti. 8 News NOW first spoke with the Talice family on Tuesday, the day a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti.The Talices are using a small, white notebook to keep track of the family members they have lost as a result of the earthquake. The list already has more than a dozen names on it. "I have six cousins. (They've) already (found) their (bodies). I have one family that has people in the house, they don't find one of them," Ifoni Talice said. The family is continuously learning of more people who were killed. "It's heartbreaking. It's really hard to hear," Wilbert Talice said. "Most of them are still missing. They don't even find them at all. "Every time my phone ring(s), I'm scared to take it, because I know," Ifoni Talice said. "I don't eat or sleep and (stay) out the whole night, because I don't feel like I can stay in the house."

The Talices say one friend they lost was battling cancer. They never imagined a natural disaster would claim her life. "She went to the Dominican Republic and then, for a few months, came back to Port-au-Prince," Wilbert Talice said. "Now, they tell me she died. It's so terrible," Ifoni Talice said.

The Talices say they are sure they have lost more loved ones, but they are unsure if Haiti will ever be the same. "It will take years… years to rebuild." Wilbert Talice said.


Haiti has an interesting history, and was once occupied by the United States.

Why is Haiti so poor? A history of quake-hit island

Once the richest French colony in the Americas - contributing as much as 50 per cent of the mother country's wealth - Haiti now vies with Nicaragua for the title of poorest country in the New World. Thanks to yesterday's magnitude 7.0 earthquake, it is likely to fall further behind its fellow developing nations.


You can easily see why it would be wrong to turn away from helping them.


After 20 hours in the air, China's International Rescue Team has arrived in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Immediately after their plane touched down, they set out for the quake-hit areas. According to an operational plan, they began rescue work at the headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, offering medical treatment to suffering locals.

This is one of the treatment centers near the Prime Minister's office compound. 15 members of China's international rescue team are offering treatment to the injured. But as a result of around the clock efforts, doctors are worried they will not have enough medicine.

Hou Shike, Medical Leader of China International Rescue Team, said, "We are trying our best. There is an influx of patients with trauma. And we are in desperate need of medicine, especially antibiotics. Many patients are showing symptoms of infection."

Hot weather, scarce medication, and a lack of professional medical personnel, all complicate the mission for the team.

The lawns nearby the Prime Minister's office are packed with thousands of patients waiting for help. But doctors say the insufficient supply of medicine will hamper the treatment process for many, warning of a possible epidemic in the wake of the quake.

These are the ruins of the United Nations' Stabilization Mission in Haiti. When the earthquake struck, many UN staff were buried under the collapsed building.

With the help of heavy-duty equipment, China's rescue team is making progress in its search for survivors.

Huang Jianfa, Head of China's International Rescue Team, said, "The whole construction is totally destroyed. We are conducting a comprehensive search for anyone buried underneath."

After a 20 hour flight, the team has put in another 18 hours on the ground.

They use tools designed to detect signs of life and sniffer dogs to locate buried survivors. Heavy-duty machines are very effective in clearing rubble.

China's rescue team is also collaborating with other international aid forces, such as ones from the US and Brazil.

In the heart of every rescue worker, one thing outweighs all others: time is of the essence.



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^We must give some credit to the other international groups that may have arrived before the United States, reportedly Belgium and Canada, and perhaps others. I do not know who actually got there first. But it is fair to say that the United States was among the first. Again, it only makes sense because Haiti is our neighbor. Canada is also close geographically, and very importantly, some Canadians are fluently bilingual in French, a language commonly used in Haiti.


There are many Haitians in Montreal...I've been watching the French news..I understand some words..here's the website for RDI http://www.rdi.ca/

Here's other websites to see what Canada is doing http://www.ctv.ca/ http://www.cbc.ca/


PS Thanks for the pics of the dogs ..the rusty coloured one reminds me of my dog who is now in heaven.. :(


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Wow! What a subject for people to be trolling on about! Despicable! sad.gif

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisiphere.

Their government has been corrupt in the past.

Their current government is ineffective and they have no emergency plans or providers such as police or fire rescuers to help their own people in this catastrophe. They cannot help themselves. They are helpless. Their infrastructure is destroyed. They have no food, water, shelter or medical care available to them. If the civilized world does not help them, they all will perish. How can we let that happen, an entire nation is in peril.

Racism has no place here. angry.gif

And my church has supported a mission in Haiti for years, and 100% of the money donated through our church goes to the people of Haiti. To suggest that priests keep the money for their Porches is ignorant.

Pray for the people of Haiti. I am proud that my country is so generous and quick to help in disasters such as this.

Just be careful who you donate to. There are alot of scumbag scammers coming out of the woodwork.

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You know what I think? Screw Haiti. It was a disaster zone before the quake anyway. Maybe this is God's plan for population reduction. They certainly needed it.

What an offensive an inappropriate post. They didn't deserve to have this happen to them. Please keep these comments out of this thread.

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The current situation in Haiti will require improved logistics and a lot of patience and focus by those who wish to deliver relief services. It won't be long before the post-traumatic stress sets in. The people most impacted have been severely stressed to the point where violence could become a factor. It's important to deliver services quickly and maintain calm.

Rest in peace, Molly Hightower.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The U.S. military distributed its first aid midday Friday, as the worldwide effort to help quake-ravaged Haiti struggled to reach the capital city's residents.

A rapid response unit from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division handed out food, water and medical supplies to Haitians outside the main airport in Port-au-Prince.

"We're here to do as much good and as little evil as we can," said Capt. Mike Anderson, the unit's commander.

Aid has been slow to reach stricken residents due blocked roads, a damaged seaport and clogged airport.

Amid fears of unrest among the Haitian people in their fourth day of desperation, looters roamed downtown streets, young men and boys with machetes.

"They are scavenging everything. What can you do?" said Michel Legros, 53, as he waited for help to search for seven relatives buried in his collapsed house.

Hard-pressed government workers, meanwhile, were burying thousands of bodies in mass graves. The Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in Tuesday's cataclysmic earthquake. The State Department updated the toll of U.S. dead to six and cautioned that the casualty count is likely to rise still further.

President Barack Obama announced that he will meet at the White House Saturday with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who have been chosen to lead the private fundraising efforts to help Haiti.

United Nations peacekeepers patrolling the capital said anger was rising. They warned aid convoys to add security to guard against looting.

Ordinary Haitians sensed the potential for an explosion of lawlessness. "We're worried that people will get a little uneasy," said attendant Jean Reynol, 37, explaining his gas station was ready to close immediately if violence breaks out.

"People who have not been eating or drinking for almost 50 hours and are already in a very poor situation," U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said in Geneva. "If they see a truck with something, or if they see a supermarket which has collapsed, they just rush to get something to eat."

The quake's destruction of Port-au-Prince's main prison complicated the security situation. International Red Cross spokesman Marcal Izard said some 4,000 prisoners had escaped and were freely roaming the streets.

"They obviously took advantage of this disaster," Izard said.

'No one is helping us'

Huge logistical hurdles and the sheer scale of the destruction mean aid is still not reaching hundreds of thousands of hurt and homeless people in the devastated coastal capital Port-au-Prince.

"These people have lost everything, They have nothing. They have been waiting for two days now. No one is helping us. Please bring us water or people will die soon," said Renelde Lamarque, who has opened his home yard to about 500 quake victims in the devastated Fort National neighborhood.

Raggedly dressed survivors held out their arms to a Reuters reporter, begging for food and water.

Dangerous aftershocks still ripple every few hours through the city, dislodging debris and increasing the anguish of people already traumatized by death and injury on a massive scale.

A big aftershock jolted buildings at about 5 a.m EST on Friday, causing fresh alarm.

Limited looting

The U.N. World Food Program said post-quake looting of its food supplies long stored in Port-au-Prince appears to have been limited, contrary to an earlier report Friday. It said it would start handing out 6,000 tons of food aid recovered from a damaged warehouse in the city's Cite Soleil slum.

A spokeswoman for the Rome-based agency, Emilia Casella, said the WFP was preparing shipments of enough ready-to-eat meals to feed 2 million Haitians for a month. She noted that regular food stores in the city had been emptied by looters.

More than 300 troops of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division arrived at the Port au Prince airport overnight and others have arrived in nearby waters on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, told ABC's "Good Morning America."

"We have much more support on the way. Our priority is getting relief out to the needy people," he said.

About 5,500 U.S. soldiers and Marines are expected to be in Haiti by Monday. Their efforts will include providing security, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Hundreds of bodies were stacked outside the city morgue, and limbs of the dead protruded from the rubble of crushed schools and homes. A few workers were able to free people who had been trapped under the rubble for days, including a New Jersey woman, Sarla Chand, 65, of Teaneck, freed by French firefighters Thursday from the collapsed Montana Hotel. But others attended to the grim task of using bulldozers to transport loads of bodies.


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Currently 79°F

UK firefighters rescue Haiti girl

Staines News

Jan 15 2010

A two-year-old girl has been rescued from a collapsed building in Haiti by British firefighters, the Department for International Development said.

The young girl was trapped under piles of rubble in the capital Port-au-Prince and was rescued on the first full day of deployment for the 64-strong team following the devastating earthquake.

Mike Thomas, chief officer of the fire and rescue team, said: "This is a real boost to us all. This is what we do the job for."

Meanwhile, relatives of a British woman missing in disaster-struck Haiti said they fear the worst as rescuers desperately search for survivors among the rubble.

United Nations worker Ann Barnes, 59, has been unaccounted for since the building she was in collapsed during Tuesday's devastating earthquake which has left as many as 50,000 dead.

Irene Marquet said she believed her "wonderful" sister was buried among the rubble of the UN's headquarters in the Haiti capital of Port-au-Prince.

She said: "There's been absolutely no trace, which is horrendous. One wants to remain hopeful but it gets more and more difficult as time goes on. All I know is that at the time of the earthquake, she was on the second floor of the main building.

"She must be still there in the rubble which is an awful thing to know. I believe everything is being done but it is desperate. There's been absolutely no trace which is horrendous."

The Red Cross estimated the death toll was between 45,000 and 50,000 but it is feared millions more have been injured, orphaned or made homeless. Aid workers reported seeing piles of bodies in the streets and children sleeping among the dead, while the grief-stricken try to dig their relatives from the rubble with their bare hands.

Rezene Tesfamariam, Haiti director of charity Plan International, said: "There are people still alive underneath (rubble), you can hear them crying for help, but time is running out."


U.S. Air Force Reopens Haitian Airport


Wall Street Journal

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A major obstacle to delivering aid to Haiti began to be cleared Friday, as the U.S. Air Force brought order to the chaotic Port-au-Prince airport.

In another sign of progress, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson took up position off Haiti's coast and began to fly water and other badly needed supplies to land. Despite these and other advances, hundreds of thousands of Haitians remain stranded in dire conditions.

Earlier, authorities had been forced to turn away aid flights when the large influx of aircraft overwhelmed the facility's small tarmac. But by daybreak, a 115-person Air Force team, which flew in five C-17 cargo planes of communications and air-traffic management equipment overnight, had undone most of the logjam. A steady stream of flights arrived and departed without difficulty even during the pre-dawn hours, the first time the airport was able to accept nighttime flights since the quake.

The Vinson, a nuclear-powered ship with a crew of more than 3,000, is the largest American vessel to reach Haiti since a powerful earthquake Tuesday killed thousands of people and destroyed large swaths of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

The Vinson and the Air Force team join the rapidly expanding contingent of U.S. troops deployed to Haiti.

More than 3,000 soldiers from the Army's 82nd Infantry Division will be on the ground in Haiti this weekend, and the USS Bataan, an amphibious ship carrying 2,200 Marines, is slated to arrive off the coast of Haiti next week alongside the USNS Comfort, the military's largest medical ship.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that up to 10,000 American troops will be operating in or near Haiti by Monday. Adm. Mullen, the nation's top military officer, said the size of the U.S. military commitment could grow even larger in coming days.

The Associated Press quoted two military officials on Friday as saying that U.S. forces in Haiti will be operating under an adaptation of standard military rules of engagement that allows for self-defense even though the Pentagon does not expect a need for it. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to characterize the confidential rules. The Pentagon is planning for both a short-term relief mission and the possibility of a longer-term role supporting 9,000 United Nations security forces but not supplanting them, officials said.

Capt. Bruce Lindsey, the Vinson's commanding officer, said in an interview that his ship was operating from a position in Port-au-Prince's harbor, which was damaged in the quake. He said that the harbor's piers and cranes appeared to have been hit the hardest, complicating efforts to bring in supplies by boat.

"Speed is of the essence in a crisis like this, but with the airport and the harbor so badly damaged there are clear limits to the amount of supplies that can be brought in any one time," Capt. Lindsey said.

Some critics have begun to question the speed of the U.S. relief effort. Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, who led the relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, said on CNN Thursday that the American military "could have been there a day earlier."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the government had moved as fast as possible given the conditions in Haiti. He noted that the lack of organized food distribution systems meant that air dropping in supplies, a policy considered by senior U.S. military officials, could have sparked riots on the ground in Haiti as desperate quake survivors fought for food.

"There are just some certain facts of life that affect how quickly you can do some of these things," Mr. Gates said. "The collapse of the infrastructure in Haiti, the small size of the airport, the time it takes a ship to get from point A to point B, those are all just facts of life."

Members of the Air Force team that opened the airport – the 621st Contingency Response Wing, one of two Air Force units specifically designed to open distressed airstrips – expressed frustration that they had not been sent earlier to manage the flow of aid into the airport, saying Thursday's flight freeze may have been avoided.

"We would have liked to have been there a little bit sooner to unclog the airfield," said Col. Brian O'Connor, the wing's commander. "It makes me cringe, it's so disorderly."

The team was the first large-scale unit to be based at the airport since Tuesday's earthquake, and commanders were hoping that by the end of Friday, they would complete a logistics center that could begin receiving the large amounts of promised American government aid poised for transport here.

The unit was still awaiting a complement of Army soldiers to set up a distribution base near the airport so that humanitarian aid could be sent out to the hundreds of thousands of increasingly desperate residents of the capital in an organized manner.

Col. Patrick Hollrah, the on-the-ground commander of the Air Force-led task force, insisted some aid was already getting to needy Haitians, but said distribution remained haphazard.

"The aid is getting out, but it's just not getting out as efficiently as it will be," he said. "It's not doing any good sitting on an airplane."

The fits and starts at the airport appear to be a microcosm of the ongoing hurdles facing the international community in helping Haiti even four days after the devastating quake.

The 7.0 temblor has wreaked havoc with the country's infrastructure, making its seaport unusable and most of its roads impassable. The airport's tower, though still standing, has been deemed unsafe, and aid workers and locals alike continued to spend nights outdoors rather than risk the shelter of the airport's lone terminal, still adorned with signs from U.S. carriers like Delta and American airlines.

Air-traffic control at the airport was taken over by an Air Force Special Operations team just hours after the quake, but the small group became overwhelmed by the traffic, officers said.

"When we got here, there wasn't an empty spot on the" tarmac, said Col. Hollrah, who arrived Thursday night. "No one was in control of anything."

If the contingency response team is able to complete its distribution center by nightfall as planned, large amounts of American relief supplies organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development are expected to follow quickly, officers said. According to military officials, the hulking C-17s, among the military's largest cargo aircraft, were beginning to flow into the airport with some regularity from U.S. air bases in South Carolina and New Jersey.



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A few things to keep in mind: While there are many great organizations who are providing funds and aid (many of which have been posted here -- keep them coming!), some are also springing up waiting to take advantage of people's sympathies and willingness to donate. Despicable but true. So just make sure that your money is going to a legit organization, preferably one that gives a high percentage of the donated money to actual relief. Here are a couple of links that list legit organizations:

CBC.CA Haitian contacts, relief efforts

CHARITY NAVIGATOR - Help survivors of the earthquake in Haiti

Consider donating to an organization whereby your funds can be doubled. For example, the Canadian government is matching individual donations made between Jan. 12 - Feb. 12 to a registered Canadian charitable organization receiving funds for quake relief:

FAQ'S - Haiti earthquake relief fund CIDA

FYI - better to send money rather than clothing or other goods as they tie up planes, personnel, etc. Sending money through texting is really snowballing. Great to see technology have such an immediate and positive impact:

REUTERS - U.S. texting raises $11M for Haiti

p.s. here are a couple of other really good organizations to donate to:



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Until one has lived through it or seen it first hand, it is difficult to fathom what these people are going through.

The country was in dire straits before the quake, still suffering from hurricane Gustave.

This is not about politics, it's about 'Human Beings" we as a race must be morally obligated to help one another least we be barbarians.

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Until one has lived through it or seen it first hand, it is difficult to fathom what these people are going through.

The country was in dire straits before the quake, still suffering from hurricane Gustave.

This is not about politics, it's about 'Human Beings" we as a race must be morally obligated to help one another least we be barbarians.


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I could give a little more to the Salvation Army.

I think it is very kind of you that you give what you can and you should not be interrogated on how much or which organization you have chosen to give to. You own no one an explanation EL. We all can have our charities and or beliefs that touch our heart and to be questioned on who or what amount is no ones business but the person who is donating their hard earned money.

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I think it is very kind of you that you give what you can and you should not be interrogated on how much or which organization you have chosen to give to. You own no one an explanation EL. We all can have our charities and or beliefs that touch our heart and to be questioned on who or what amount is no ones business but the person who is donating their hard earned money.

Thank you, Kiss of Fire.

I like to think that Mr. D was merely curious because he needed inspiration. wink.gif

It is an excellent idea to carefully consider where your donation will do the most good, because at the moment logistics are not well coordinated, and although aid is on the way, there is a lot of chaos in the process.

How Companies Can Truly Help in Haiti

by Timothy Ogden

The news and images from Haiti are heartbreaking. Many individuals and companies are reaching for their wallets; others are wondering what they can do to help. But the best advice for corporate givers trying to figure out how best to respond is the old adage: "Don't just do something, stand there." To understand why, take a look back at the responses to other recent disasters. There is a discernable pattern, and not a good one:

1. Donations spike in the immediate aftermath.

2. A huge portion of the funds donated are spent on setting up disaster-relief operations that are no longer the primary need.

3. A flood of cash and materials cause a logistics nightmare leading to waste and ineffectiveness, if not corruption.

4. Six months later, reconstruction stalls because the world's attention has moved elsewhere.

5. And, finally, a series of reports bemoan the fact that too many funds are devoted to disaster relief and not enough to disaster preparedness and reconstruction.

Companies are in the perfect position to break this cycle: They have the ability (and the obligation) to be thoughtful and strategic about how they handle their charitable giving. Here are a few ways businesses can help—and some principles everyone can apply to post-disaster giving:

Don't earmark your donations for Haiti. Funds for disaster relief are absolutely necessary in the short term—but immediate relief efforts are just one part of a long recovery process. By the time money earmarked for disaster relief arrives in charities' bank accounts for a particular disaster, recovery workers have already moved on to the much harder, much more expensive rebuilding phase. Rather than earmark a gift for Haitian disaster relief, direct your donations toward replenishing the cash and materials that disaster-relief agencies will expend in the next few weeks in Haiti, so they will be ready to respond immediately to the next disaster.

Go with experience. If you feel that you must give to disaster relief in Haiti, make sure you are giving to an organization that has extensive experience in Haiti and people already on the ground. They will be much more effective because of their existing knowledge of communities, cultural norms, and power dynamics.

Give money. Gifts-in-kind may seem like an appealing and useful way to contribute but they tend to cause huge logistical problems that dramatically undermine their value. Money gives those responding to the disaster the ability to act flexibly, according to the needs at hand. If you do have materials you are convinced will be useful (construction supplies, computers, and so on) ask the charity your working with whether it can effectively use what you can give. (And be prepared to hear that they'd rather have the cash.)

Look ahead. Long after their immediate health and safety needs are taken care of and the media spotlight has moved on, Haitians will still benefit from your organization's help in rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. One way to do this—and engage employees and customers—is to match the dollars they contribute for immediate relief with a corporate gift for reconstruction, to be given in six or eight months. By that time it will be clear which areas of the rebuilding effort are underfunded. You'll also have time to thoroughly vet agencies, projects, and so forth, to ensure that your donations will do the most good.


Another United States team is on its way...

and a team from France has arrived, always welcome because they can communicate in French. Some people in Haiti do not know English, but they are fluent in French.

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CNN Video Report from Dr. Sanjay Gupta

US takes control of Haiti airport

The government in Haiti has given the United States temporary control of the airport in the capital Port-au-Prince in an effort to get aid supplies moving more quickly to survivors of Tuesday's earthquake.


Posted on Sat, Jan. 16, 2010

Evacuees from Haiti arrive at McGuire

By Edward Colimore and Darran Simon

Inquirer Staff Writers

Many didn't have money to get home. They were tired and still wearing warm-weather clothes, but all were happy to be alive on U.S. soil after their ordeal in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

More than 240 American evacuees from several states and a handful of Haitians yesterday flew into Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst aboard cavernous C-17 Globemaster IIIs.

They were given warm clothing, examined by doctors, and received mental-health counseling at an evacuation center set up in a gymnasium at McGuire Air Force Base. About a dozen remained there late yesterday, still trying to make arrangements to get home. "I saw the earth open and close back again," said Ed St. Felix, a Haitian native who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Beatrice Valerius, a Haitian-born ophthalmologist who lives in Miami, said she was about to operate on a patient when the room started shaking and instruments fell off the table.

"I lost a lot of friends," she said through a translator. "I left family members, relatives there. It's kind of sad. It's very hard for me to eat when I know others can't."

Mirlene Jacob, 27, of Philadelphia, said she had arrived in Haiti only 15 minutes before the earthquake struck. She stood on crutches and described jumping from a damaged building.

Many evacuees appeared overwhelmed by what they had seen and experienced. Some service members gave them their own clothing. "People are frightened," said Patricia Sims, a mental-health specialist with the Air Force's 87th Medical Group. "They're coming out of a tragic situation. The stories are scary."

One of the more chilling accounts came from Navy Petty Officer Third Class Benssy Hyppolite Jean, 30, and his wife, Christy, 34, of Lakehurst, N.J. His cousin, a teacher, helped students escape their collapsing building, they said.

He then went home to find his wife and children buried in their house, according to a story relayed to them by family. Jean's cousin held his wife in his arms as she was dying, they said.

The group at the base included 246 Americans, one Canadian, and 10 Haitians, said Steve Sapp, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"They have been airlifted out for their own safety and security," said U.S. Rep. John Adler, a New Jersey Democrat whose district includes the base.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services paid for flights of 10 U.S. evacuees who sought assistance and the New Jersey Department of Human Services paid for 17 others who sought help, said William A. Schaffer, director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.

The C-17s that brought evacuees to New Jersey yesterday had earlier flown military personnel and equipment to the disaster area.

More than 100 service members from the Burlington County base were sent to Haiti Thursday to help with the airlift and distribution of humanitarian relief.

Two other groups of evacuees arrived in New Jersey yesterday. A church delegation of 20 got to the Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church in Mercer County about 3:30 p.m. And 15 members of Trinity United Methodist Church in Hackettstown got home earlier yesterday. Members of that group were playing ball with children at a Haitian orphanage Tuesday when the earthquake hit.


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