I rarely go off-topic in this Blog, and have not used it to promote personal causes, but I am compelled to add this note about Haiti.
I just returned this past Thursday from my second trip to Haiti this year. Most of the trip was spent in the community of Bohoc, Haiti which is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. As we all know, Port-au-Prince, which was a very poor and impoverished country to begin with, was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake on January 12, 2010. It is estimated that 300,000 people died in the earthquake, over 300,000 more were injured, and over 1 million were displaced. These estimates are likely on the low side, as very little rubble as been removed even nine months later. Literally, hundreds of thousands of people are living in tent cities, and nearby villages are overwhelmed by friends and relatives moving in. Hospitals and clinics in Port-au-Prince were destroyed, and those in the outlying areas (already with minimal resources) are simply overwhelmed. One hospital we visited that served a large area was run from a small portable generator with an extension cord going through the window, and they were dependent on finding free diesel to run it.
As we returned, we got the news that a cholera epidemic had hit an area to the north of Port-au-Prince, and some cases had been reported in the Port-au-Prince area. As I type this, over 200 are dead jn just a few days, and by the time you read this the numbers will be higher because without treatment cholera can be deadly in hours. The real number is much higher because many people die without ever being able to seek medical care. This has the potential to further devastate this country, that has minimal resources to provide clean water or medicine and the aid cannot flow in fast enough. If this hits the water sources in Port-au-Prince, the toll will quickly be in the thousands. I cannot keep up with the updates that change hourly, but to read more click here for Google news updates on the cholera outbreak. Read a first-hand account here.
The needs for funds to provide immediate assistance (literally, this very moment) are significant. A $30 5-gallon water filter, for example, can save many lives. I mean this in a very literal sense.
I am not necessarily pushing one organization or the other, and there are many worthy organizations operating in Haiti, but here are some that I know are on the ground now providing aid, and they are reputable stewards of the money. You can get more information from their websites, but remember any amount helps.
- American Red Cross (see their Haiti update and follow on Twitter).
- Partners in Health (see also their note on the Haiti crisis and follow their Twitter updates).
- Samaritan’s Purse (their Haiti update and Twitter feed).
- World Vision (see their Haiti update and follow them on Twitter).
Another very worthy organization is Charity Water (Haiti update and Twitter feed), which uses 100% of donated funds to build wells and provide clean water sources. My trips to Haiti have been with The 410 Bridge, which is working on long term projects in Haiti, including sustainable water resources and micro-enterprises.
Let’s help our neighbors!