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Texting R.E.L.I.E.F. may not be best way to go

I have been reading a lot of articles in the past day indicating the drawbacks of making donations by text/sms. If that is the only way you would or could give (i.e., you don’t have a credit card etc) then it makes sense, but a direct donation to the relief organizations is a much more efficient way as illustrated below:

What happens to that money next depends in part on how it was given. Mobile phones have been a popular way to give — donors texted more than $24 million to the American Red Cross in the first week — but they’re not the speediest. The donation generally isn’t processed until the giver pays his or her phone bill, which means it can take up to 90 days for the charity to see a penny. (Phone companies have agreed to expedite the process.) Contributions made with a credit card, in most cases, are delivered to aid agencies’ coffers immediately.



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Haiti relief concert and telethon set for Friday – NY & LA

Wyclef Jean (press photo)

The music industry will unite this Friday for global telethon to raise fund’s for the victims of the natural disaster.

Dubbed “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief,” the fundraiser will take place Friday and comprise events in New York City, Los Angeles, London and Haiti. Haiti native Wyclef Jean will host the New York City proceedings, while actor George Clooney will do the same in Los Angeles and CNN’s Anderson Cooper will report from Haiti.

In New York, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Shakira, Sting and Jean will all perform. Taylor Swift, Timberlake, Dave Matthews, John Legend, and Stevie Wonder will all perform in Los Angeles, where Keith Urban, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow are also plan to collaborate. Jay-Z and Rihanna have planned a special joint performance with U2’s Bono and The Edge in London, where Coldplay will also perform from.

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The Obama’s personal response: $15,000 Check for Haiti Recovery and Red Cross PSA

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama “have been inspired by the way that millions of Americans have responded with tremendous generosity to the Haiti crisis – even in these tough economic times,” said Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “So, today, they sent their own check for $15,000 to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to support the ongoing relief efforts in that country.”

The Clinton-Bush Haiti fund was launched on Friday – in a joint effort by former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, prompted by the president asking the two to help get Americans involved in relief efforts. As of today the fund has received more than 126,000 contributions for relief and recovery efforts.

Michelle Obama joined with the Ad Council and American Red Cross for a series of public service announcements to encourage Americans to support relief efforts in Haiti, as she said in this statement:

“I was eager to join the Ad Council and the Red Cross to launch this call to action in the wake of this weeks devastating earthquake. The people of Haiti are struggling just to survive. And every one of us has the power to help.”

See Michelle Obama’s series of Red Cross PSA’s: Here , Here and Here

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NYC Police Officers/ Firefighters save children from rubble amidst aftershocks

<em>NY1 In Haiti:</em> Second Quake Rattles Capital

 According to NY1 who stationed reporter Dean Meminger on the ground in Haiti  — the New York City Police and Fire Search and Rescue Task Force pulled a five-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl from a building yesterday as seen in the above photo.

The children were taken alert to an Israeli tent hospital, where they were reunited with their parents. Dr. Dario Gonzalez of the Search and Rescue Task Force said “Both in wonderful condition, a little dehydrated, a little hungry. They’re both doing really well with no injuries.”

The rescue was a bittersweet victory for the NYC team as rescue workers also pulled the bodies of three other children from the same building. The deceased are said to be siblings of the two rescued children.

The 80 New Yorker task force members are still conducting searches through the devastated areas.

See video footage of the scene here: NY1

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27 NYC doctors and other medical providers depart for Haiti this morning

I have just learned that a dedicated group of 27 surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, nurses, and surgical technicians left for Haiti from New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital on a donated private jet with 3000 lbs of supplies this morning. These are much needed efforts in light of the overwhelming medical need.

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U.S. medical students on the ground speak out on conditions in Haiti

These interviews with US medical students on the ground in Haiti for the past week highlight not only the progress being made to treat and care for the sick and injured, but also the tremendous journey ahead to save these people in desperate need as logistical and political barriers persist:

Alison Smith, a medical student at Tulane University, Wednesday (January 20):

The General Hospital in Port-au-Prince is slowly becoming more organized. When I think of how it was the first night I arrived (no physicians and no real medical care) to what we have now (seven operating rooms, medicine wards, a pre-operation and post-operation area, a pediatrics area), it is amazing.

Today I finally had the opportunity to go back and reassess people sleeping outside the hospital who may have received some basic medical care right after the earthquake. I was able to go back and change dressings, provide medicines and send people into the hospital who would have died in the next few days. We have limited food and water and some clothing, so I am trying to provide some to people who have no family. They are at the greatest risk for dying soon, as they have no one to care for them and we have no room for them in the hospital. We are supposed to get food and water for the patients tomorrow. There is a United Nations supply center that has food and supplies, but the Army has not brought them to us. The situation was more tense today as people are getting frustrated and we narrowly sidestepped some riots.

Josh Denson, 25, Tulane University Grad ’06 and third year medical student at Tulane, Wednesday (January 20):

I just woke up today sleeping on the concrete by this pool at some hotel to either an aftershock or an earthquake. The pool water was moving back and forth and the people were yelling a bit. There are sick people everywhere, people are losing limbs and different parts of their bodies constantly. Everyone has infections and there aren’t people or resources to even change all the bandages. Compared to three days ago when we first showed up at the general hospital in Port-au-Prince, it’s 100 percent better. Three days ago was absolute chaos.

Source: MTV

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Bloggers get tough with their audiences: Haiti needs cash not clothes!

I read the following blog posting by aidwatcher’s Alanna Shaikh and thought it did a very good job of cutting through all the proverbial b.s. over how the average American can help in this relief effort:

Don’t donate goods. Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem in emergency relief. Only the people on the ground know what’s actually necessary; those of us in the rest of the world can only guess. Some things, like summer clothes and expired medicines are going to be worthless in Haiti. Other stuff, like warm clothes and bottled water may be helpful to some people in some specific ways. Separating the useful from the useless takes manpower that can be doing more important work. It’s far better to give money so that organizations can buy the things they know they need.

Some people like to donate goods instead of cash because they worry that cash won’t be used in a way that helps the needy. If that’s you, I have two points. 1) Why are you donating to an organization you don’t trust? 2) What’s to stop them from selling your donated item and using the money for whatever they want?

After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Honduras was flooded with shipments of donated goods. They clogged ports, overwhelmed military transport, and made it nearly impossible for relief agencies to ship in the things they really needed. Those donations did harm, not good. Expired drugs had to be carefully disposed of. Inappropriate donations had to be transported away and discarded. All of this wasted time and money.

Don’t go to Haiti. It’s close to the US, it’s a disaster area, and we all want to help. However, it’s dangerous right now and they don’t need “extra hands”. The people who are currently useful are people with training in medicine and emergency response. If all you can contribute is unskilled labor, stay home. There is no shortage of unskilled labor in Haiti, and Haitians will be a lot more committed than you are to the rebuilding process.
If you are a nurse or physician, especially with experience in trauma, and you want to volunteer, email Partners in Health – – and offer your services. Or submit your details to International Medical Corps. They’ll take you if they can use you. Do not go to Haiti on your own, even if you are doctor. You’ll just add to the confusion, and you’ll be a burden to whoever ends up taking responsibility for your safety.

Don’t ignore rebuilding. The physical damage done to Port au Prince is going to take a long, long time to repair. The human consequences will have a similar slow recovery. Haiti will still need our help next year, and the years after that. It is going to take more than just a short-term infusion of relief money. Give your money to organizations that will be in Haiti for the long haul, and don’t forget about Haiti once the media attention moves on.

 For another good article elaborating on this subject see Saundra Schimmelpfennig timely titled blog “Good Intentions Are Not Enough”.

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