Like everyone else, I've been following the developments in Haiti, and what I see makes my heart sink, right down to the earth where all those buildings have crumbled. The devastation is tremendous: there are tens of thousands dead (people are estimating up to a hundred thousand by the end of it), people trapped beneath the rubble, the capital city decimated. How can people even begin to organize when all the infrastructure -- hospitals, shelters, food warehouses, telecommunications -- is gone? I think they've found two working hospitals so far. As for help of a spiritual or inspirational nature, the UN headquarters, the Presidential Palace, and most churches have collapsed.
It's so unfair. Haiti is already one of the poorest countries in the world; this earthquake hitting Haiti was like giving a homeless man a kick in the face and breaking his nose. I know every country has their own issues, the hungry that need to be fed, the homeless that need to be sheltered, the kids that need to be taken off the street and educated -- but I hope that people can look beyond their own back yards and extend not only their compassion, but their assistance, to the victims of the Haiti earthquake. This time, they cannot help themselves, so the rest of the world has to.
Here are five quick and easy (and legitimate) ways you can help:
* text 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts in Haiti
* text YELE to 501501, which automatically donates $5 (added to your cell phone bill) to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund (Yele Haiti is a grassroots movement founded by native Haitian musician Wyclef Jean).
* text Give10 to 20222, which automatically donates $10 (added to your cell phone bill) to n to support the Haiti earthquake relief work of Direct Relief International.
* donate to Save the Children's Haiti Earthquake Fund via credit card, Amazon, Google Checkout or PayPal.