Los Angeles, CA
Utter destruction is a word to describe the events in Haiti after an earthquake ripped apart and destroyed the country that's roughly the size of the state of Maryland. With the majority of the governmental infrastructure destroyed in Port Au Prince and the country has plunged into complete anarchy coupled with a humanitarian crisis. Where are all those displaced citizens going to get food and water?
Hospitals are leveled, schools wiped out, and the main prison ripped apart allowing whatever inmates who survived the quake to escape. I sincerely doubt there will be a nation to rebuild. Gangs of machete wielding thugs have taken control of the streets. Opportunists are already hatching plans to seize what little resources the country has to offer. If anything, Haiti as been and always will be a main port for drug smugglers. I fear that situation will only get wore.
I'm most concerned with the events that happen a year or two years from now when all of the media attention has disappeared and another tragedy that captured our fickle attention. Donating money today might make your conscience feel better, but much like the undocumented plight of New Orleans after Katrina, what you do to help in months and years after the fact is even more important than being part of the initial wave of help.
Don't get me wrong, sending money to Doctors Without Borders (aka MSF) is a worthy deed... today... but let's not forget that the fallout from the earthquake is a long-term crisis that cannot be solved so easily by throwing money at it, then forgetting and ignoring it tomorrow. Haiti, much like New Orleans, will need your help and support in the future.
Check out an organization that a friend works for... Save Haiti Saturday. Here's their mission statement...
What started out as a grassroots effort by a group of friends from Miami and Haiti has now turned into a collaboration of hundreds of people around the country from all walks of life, all working together for one cause: to save as many lives as humanly possible in earthquake ravaged Haiti.Do what you can to help out. Spread the word. But don't simply give then forget. The people of Haiti will be needing your help for many years to come.
The morning after the earthquake hit, Dr. Barth Green, co-founder of Project Medishare, was en route to Haiti on a charter plane (made possible through the generosity of Hank Asher) filled with a team of trauma surgeons. Upon their arrival in Haiti, Project Medishare began working closely with Haitian President René Préval to organize all medical teams on the ground to implement a plan to set up field hospitals and triage centers around the capital city of Port au Prince.
The group of friends, with the help of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Neurosurgery staff, has been dispatching medical relief and rescue teams from Miami to Haiti. With the help of Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., their WQAM radio station, and The Miami HEAT, they have set up drop points where people can go to donate medical supplies, water, food, generators, and other necessities. Upon discussing ideas on how best to set up a fundraiser at a local Miami venue, some of the friends noted that with the huge national outpour of support, a national event would attract more attention, and in turn create more donations to send aid to Haiti. Over the next forty-eight hours the group came up with a concept, devised a plan, and have since launched the website www.SaveHaitiSaturday.com to implement it.
Restaurants, clubs, bars, etc. from across the United States have offered to generously donate a percentage of their revenue for "Save Haiti Saturday" which will be taking place this Saturday, January 16th, 2010. "Save Haiti Saturday" is a nationwide fundraising initiative to benefit Project Medishare for Haiti’s massive medical earthquake relief effort. Each participating business has committed to donating either its door cover charges, a percentage of the food and/or beverage revenue, or a fixed dollar amount. The final decision as to how much each individual venue chooses to donate is completely at their own discretion. The more money we can raise, the more support we can provide to our teams of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers who are working tirelessly and selflessly around the clock, performing surgeries and taking care of the sick and wounded during this most critical time in Haiti. People from all over the Nation, from all walks of life are banding together for "Save Haiti Saturday" to help the earthquake victims during their most desperate time of need.