I have posted the main story about what happened, and below this story is a list of all the ways you can help. From texting donations to just mailing money to organizations. This will be a massive effort, and we will see what the true assessment is as soon as the Incident Command Teams send out a report.
One thing that I am not hearing about, which will be a huge concern as time ticks away, is security. I have yet to see any advertisements for disaster relief related security operations, but we will keep our eye out. Haiti is an extremely poor nation (poorest in the western hemisphere), and security issues were a big problem before this earth quake. My guess is that massive looting and lawlessness will occur after the initial shock, along with attacks against aid workers and innocents in the weeks and months ahead. Providing security for these recovery operations will be very important if we really want to help Haiti.
The current privatised security operations, in my opinion, will be mostly rescuing clients–hotel guests, businessmen, travelers, or securing banks and other institutions vital to Haiti and foreign investors. Also, expect some of the aid groups to have some security folks. It looks like the various governments throughout the world are looking at this in the same way, with sending teams to rescue citizens, along with trying to help the Haitians with rescue and disaster relief.
I would also like to remind the readership that the private military company response to hurricanes like Katrina was excellent, and because Haiti is relatively close to the U.S., PMC’s could be contracted to do all sorts of things to help in that response. Blackwater was able to provide a helicopter, and hundreds of security contractors, all equipped and ready to work in that disaster zone, and they did an excellent job. BW saved lives and was able to keep the peace at the various disaster relief centers with guards. Other companies were able to respond quickly to the Katrina disaster, and were easily able to offer those services until no longer needed. I would also suggest security for the key communications infrastructure which will insure communications for people and aid will not be hindered. Security must be a priority, if in fact folks want the rest of the disaster relief operation to be successful. -Matt
Edit: I just found out that the main prison has collapsed, and prisoners have escaped. Also, the IPOA has just created a page for companies that are offering their services for the Haiti relief operations. Check it out here.
A Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake and a Series of Aftershocks Hit Just 10 Miles From Capital
By NED POTTER, DEAN SCHABNER, STEPHEN SPLANE, AMMU KANNAMPILLY and BRIAN BRAIKER
Jan. 13, 2010 —
A major earthquake struck just off the coast of Haiti late Tuesday afternoon, reportedly causing extensive damage in the capital of Port-au-Prince, and one aid worker said, “There must be thousands of people dead.”
The quake had a magnitude of 7.0 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and was centered just 10 miles from Port-au-Prince.
The center was also relatively shallow, less than 10 miles below ground, raising the risk of damage.
Karel Zelenka, a Catholic Relief Services representative in Port-au-Prince, told U.S. colleagues before phone service failed that “there must be thousands of people dead,” a spokeswoman for the aid group told The Associated Press.
“He reported that it was just total disaster and chaos, that there were clouds of dust surrounding Port-au-Prince,” Sara Fajardo said from the group’s offices in Maryland.
State Department Asst. Secretary for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley told reporters that embassy staff “reported structures down. They reported a lot of walls down. They did see a number of bodies in the street and on the sidewalk that had been hit by debris. So clearly, there’s going to be serious loss of life in this.”
The United Nations confirmed that the building housing the UN headquarters in Haiti has collapsed. 200 to 250 people are estimated to work there daily, so far no one has been rescued.
Early reports said a hospital in nearby Petionville had collapsed, and a videographer for The Associated Press said he could hear people screaming for help.
A Reuters reporter, quoting workers for a U.S. charity, Food for the Poor, said there were more houses destroyed than standing in Delmas Road, a major thoroughfare in Port-au-Prince. An employee of Food for the Poor said a five-story building had collapsed.
There were other reports of damage, but they could not be immediately confirmed.
Quake Felt in Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic
“I couldn’t even stand up, that’s how bad it was,” said Valerie Moliere, a 15-year-old resident of Port-au-Prince, reached by ABC News. “There’s a lot of people in the street everywhere. Some are wounded.”
“I just heard that right next to my neighborhood there’s this pharmacy and this school that broke down and many people died,” she said.
“I don’t know how powerful it was. But from what I felt, it was very powerful,” said Carole Bastin, another resident reached by ABC News. “And it lasted like … I don’t know maybe, it was quite long because I could not walk, I was trying to leave the house, the building, I could not because everything was shaking around me. All the file cabinets were opening and all the things falling apart.”
The earthquake was felt by people in Jamaica; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
The original earthquake was quickly followed by two strong aftershocks. The USGS said they had initial magnitudes of 5.9 and 5.5, and more were likely.
“We’ve seen this with almost all large, shallow earthquakes,” said Don Blakeman of the National Earthquake Information Center in a telephone interview with ABC News. “We’re going to have an aftershock series, and as time passes, the size of the aftershocks and the frequency will decrease.”
Carel Pedre, a Haitian journalist speaking to French digital channel iTele said there had been several aftershocks. In an emotional interview, he said, “I’ve not had any contact from my mother and my brother and I wonder about what’s going to happen and I’m scared.”
“We had an earthquake at 4 o’clock, at 5 o’clock and now it’s midnight and there are still aftershocks and we’re weak, we don’t have the means with which to react, we can’t get everyone out of here and we don’t have enough food for everyone. There are people out there dying,” he said.
Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., Raymond Joseph, said he spoke with President Rene Preval, who told him that buildings were collapsing around him while driving his car.
“The president is fine and [the first lady] is fine,” he said. “However, the palace building has been damaged.”
The ambassador added that Haiti endured four hurricanes in 2008 and that “for this to come and hit us is like a double whammy.”
Boston-based non-profit Partners in Health (PIH), which has offices in Haiti, released a statement saying “The earthquake has destroyed much of the already fragile and overburdened infrastructure in the most densely populated part of the country. A massive and immediate international response is needed to provide food, water, shelter, and medical supplies for tens of thousands of people.”
Louise Ivers, PIH clinical director in Haiti, made an urgent appeal for help in an email to colleagues. “Port-au-Prince is devastated, lot of deaths. SOS. SOS… Temporary field hospital by us at UNDP needs supplies, pain meds, bandages. Please help us.”
White House and State Department Offer Help
The White House issued a statement Tuesday night from President Obama: “My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this earthquake. We are closely monitoring the situation and we stand ready to assist the people of Haiti.”
U.S. military and humanitarian services said they were ready to offer help, but officials said privately that they had to wait for a formal request from the Haitian government.
“The United States is offering our full assistance to Haiti and to others in the region. We will be providing both civilian and military disaster relief and humanitarian assistance and our prayers are with the people who have suffered, their families and their loved ones,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was to make a speech on Asian relations.
“We are standing by to help in any way we can,” said Crowley.
The U.S. Agency for International Development asked California Task Force 2, the Los Angeles County Fire Departent’s search and rescue team, and Virginia Task Force 1, sponsored by the Fairfax County, Va., Fire and Rescue Department, to prepare to deploy to Haiti to help with the recovery effort, should the country request assistance.
The Coast Guard had said that it would send out reconnaissance planes at first light today to assess the damage to the region. They also have four cutters in the area should a request be made for assistance.
Efforts to get aid into Haiti could be hampered by damage to the airport in Port-au-Prince. The Federal Aviation Administration reported that the air traffic control tower at the airport has collapsed.
Flights were being routed around Haitian air space Tuesday night because no air traffic control services were being provided.
“Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken,” said Henry Bahn, a visiting official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “The sky is just gray with dust.”
Bahn said he was walking to his hotel room when the ground began to shake.
“I just held on and bounced across the wall,” he said. “I just hear a tremendous amount of noise and shouting and screaming in the distance.”
Haitian-Americans Desperate to Reach Loved Ones
In the United States, Rose Leandre was anxiously trying to get through to any family members in her native Haiti on Tuesday evening.
The Spring Valley, N.Y., woman runs the Haitian-American Cultural and Social Organization, which provides immigration, social and educational outreach to the sizable Haitian community — estimated to be at least 11,000, according to U.S. Census figures — in Rockland County, one of New York City’s northern surburbs.
“Everybody’s been calling all over and calling each other, ‘have you heard from your family?’ And so far, no one’s getting through & so far, within the community, no one has gotten through to anyone in Haiti,” Leandre said.
Leandre added that she was desperate to make contact with her mother, who traveled to Haiti, to an area 20 minutes outside Port-au-Prince, just Monday.
“She’s disabled, she has severe arthritis, so during the wintertime, it’s horrible for her, so she usually goes and spends a month or two in warmer weather,” Leandre said.
Leandre said the community would likely meet today to discuss relief efforts.
A tsunami watch was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, but it was canceled after several hours.
“There could have been destructive tsunami waves near the earthquake epicenter but there is not a threat to coastal areas further away,” said an advisory from the warning center.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with a population estimated at 9.8 million people, according to the World Bank.
ABC News Radio and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Julia Bodeeb
A 7.3 earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2001. Haiti needs earthquake recovery help immediately. A large amount of victims are expected from this disaster. Many buildings have crumbled and many people are missing.
Reach out to help the people of Haiti recover from this tragic earthquake. Time is of the essence to help relief groups save lives.
Donate to Red Cross
The Washington Post notes that people may text: HAITI to 90999 and a $10 donation will be made to the Red Cross for earthquake emergency response. This amount will be charged to your bill for cell phone.
Go to http://redcross.org to learn more about how to donate the the Red Cross to send help to Haiti. The Red Cross has taken immediate action to start to send funding and supplies to Haiti to ensure that earthquake survivors get the help they need.
Learn about how to help Haiti recover from the Earthquake at www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake or call 1-800-4UNICEF.
UNICEF helps children and families all over the world survive natural disasters and obtain urgently needed medical care.
Musician Wyclef Jean, whose homeland is Haiti, is asking people to donate to Yele Haiti to help with disaster relief for earthquake survivors.
Wyclef Jean asks people to please text: Yele to 510 510 and donate $5.
For more information go to: http://yele.org.
Save the Children
This organization has been providing help to Haiti since the 1980s. For more information about how to help the Haiti recovery program with Save the Children go to: http://www.savethechildren.org.
Go to http://www.worldvision.org to learn how to help the children in Haiti. This organization works to help with disaster response resources. The website also provides information about how to sponsor a child in Haiti or other locations.
Doctors Without Borders
This group has won a Nobel Prize for their work to save lives during times of disasters. For more information about how the doctors will work to help Haiti go to: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org.
The Mercy Corps has created the Haiti Earthquake fund. Send donations to P.O. box 2669, Portland, OR 97208. Go to www.mercycorps.org for more information. You may also call 1-888-256-1900.
Donate to Local Salvation Army or Goodwill
When a disaster strikes nearby countries, the Salvation Army and Goodwill will send items from America to those areas in need. So donate to your local stores. Items donated to Salvation Army and Goodwill help people in crisis to start a new life.