No doubt you’ve heard about the 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haitian capital Port-Au-Prince on Tuesday. Californian efforts to help are underway, including three urban search-and-rescue teams from Sacramento, L.A. and Orange County that have been deployed by the Governor and a group of 350 nurses from the California Nurses Association.
According to USA Today, the search and rescue effort is part of a national strategy that is focused on the rescue of 45,000 U.S. citizens estimated to be in Haiti.
However, the same article quotes the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Rajiv Shah, as saying, “We are also, of course, thinking about critical needs in the area of health and food, water, transportation, and infrastructure, and other advanced planning that needs to take place now.”
If you feel like you won’t make it to the end of this article (You should! Tons of ways to help out follow) you can at least dance off how overwhelming this situation is for one night at this fundraiser: Sila’s performance in San Francisco’s newish jazz club, Coda. 100% of proceeds go to relief efforts, and you will enjoy this *Afro-Electro-Brazillian-Ethiopesque-Funk performance (*their description). It’s at 1710 Mission Street (@ Duboce) at 9 PM tonight, tickets are $10.
If you want to the people of Haiti more directly than what the U.S. Government seems to be aiming for, fear not. The American Red Cross has released $10 million in funds as part of a huge relief effort to which you can contribute (if you are an American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles user, click here. No, seriously.).
For even more international, national and bay area organizations, the San Jose Mercury News has a list compiled at the end of this article. It should be noted, however, that the text message drive letting you donate $10 to the Red Cross if you text to 90999 is also putting money in the coffers of AT&T and Sprint.
And while CBS reminds us that Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and has serious gaps in infrastructure, there is an existing system of grassroots organizations already working to develop education and resources with the country’s poor, especially with women.
San Francisco’s own Global Fund for Women has set up a crisis fund, saying, “Contributions will be directed to women’s peace-building efforts and the re-building of their organizations and communities after a war or disaster to ensure long-term sustainability.”
If you are more concerned with getting medical assistance to survivors of the disaster, Boston group Partners in Health is working to leverage its 120 doctors and 500 nurses and nurses aids working in Haiti right now.
Meanwhile, San Jose Mercury News tells us that about 3,000 Haitian immigrants live in California, with up to half living in Marin County. Many people are gathering with church groups and waiting to find news about loved ones. If this is you or your Haitian friend, you can register loved ones in Haiti at the International Committee of the Red Cross’s Family Links site and check back for any news on them.
If you are looking for an American citizen in Haiti, call 1-888-407-4747 for the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Citizens Services.