Thousands are feared dead in Haiti after the massive earthquake that rumbled through Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, but now aid groups are struggling to assist the living. The country, which is the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere, already had a large humanitarian presence, but many workers from the United Nations are missing or feared dead. The country has no electricity or phone service, and hospitals and aid centers have been reduced to rubble.
Now, Americans are wondering what they can do to help. President Obama, in a Wednesday-morning speech, pledged U.S. aid and resources. He also urged Americans to open their wallets to the citizens of Haiti, saying, "This is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share." The Center for International Disaster Information recommends financial donations, rather than supplies, as the best way to make a difference. If you're interested in donating, all of the organizations below have pledged relief for Haiti.
1. Already viral on Facebook and social networking sites, the Red Cross is getting the word out about its text-message donation system. Text "HAITI" to the number 90999 to donate $10, which will be added to your next cellphone bill. You can also donate online through the Red Cross website.
2. Hospitals in Haiti are badly damaged and overwhelmed. To help medical aid workers, donate to Doctors Without Borders on its website.
3. International aid group CARE has already sent 133 staff members to Haiti, and it will be distributing food. You can donate your Delta Air Lines SkyMiles to transport CARE aid workers to Haiti or give money for relief funds through its website.
4. Louise Ivers, clinical director for Haiti for Partners in Health, wrote in an E-mail to colleagues, "Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS ... Please help us." You can donate to support Partners in Health's field hospitals on its website.
5. Today, World Vision heads to Haiti with 18 tons of supplies, including blankets, tarps, and water containers. Support World Vision by donating through its website.
6. The UNICEF representative in Haiti, Guido Cornale, told the BBC yesterday that the Haitian earthquake is one of the worst he's seen in his life. To help children in Haiti, donate via UNICEF's website.
7. Haitian-American rapper Wyclef Jean's foundation to rebuild Haiti, Yéle, is also accepting text-message donations. Text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5, which will be added to your next phone bill. You can also donate via the Yéle Foundation's website.
8. International Relief and Development will supply water, sanitation kits, medicines, hygiene kits, and shelter materials. You can donate to IRD on its website.
9. Oxfam already has 200 volunteers stationed in Haiti. They'll be providing clean water, shelter, and sanitation through donations on Oxfam's website.
10. The Salvation Army is sending 285,120 boxed meals of rice, soy, and vitamins to Haiti. Support the Salvation Army through its website.