A GUEST POST BY STEPHENIE FOSTERTuesday afternoon’s 7.0 earthquake in Haiti has caused massive death and destruction. The Red Cross estimates that one third of Haiti’s nine million people may need emergency aid. On Wednesday morning (January 13), the Haitian Prime Minister told CNN that he believed that hundreds of thousands of Haitians may have died. It has been widely reported that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Port-au-Prince was among the dead, and the head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission is missing.
As we all know, earthquakes are devastating no matter where they occur. However, this type of strong quake is especially harsh in Haiti, which is the poorest country in the Americas with an annual per-capita income of $560 (U.S.). The country has limited construction standards, and in November 2008, the mayor of Port-au-Prince estimated that 60 percent of buildings were shoddily built and unsafe.
Many of us have worked with Haitian women, whether through the Vital Voices Global Partnership or other organizations. These are women who have worked hard to build businesses and organizations to create a better life for their families and communities. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their families.
Many of us are looking for ways to help the people of Haiti. Here are some resources: - The U. S. State Department's DipNote blog writes that "for those interested in helping immediately, simply text 'HAITI' to '90999' and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill. Or you can go online to organizations like the Red Cross and Mercy Corps Mercy Corps to make a contribution to the disaster relief efforts." - The American Red Cross has posted more information about its efforts and how to donate here, www.redcross.org. - Mercy Corps' online donations page is here, www.mercycorps.org