'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Catastrophe in Haiti 

You've probably encountered many of the same reports that I have:

Haiti's president tonight issued a desperate appeal for international aid following the earthquake that has devastated his country, as fears grew that the death toll could rise above 100,000.

René Préval said the damage caused by the magnitude 7.0 tremor was "un­imaginable" and appealed for help, describing hearing the screams of those trapped under collapsed buildings while he and his wife stepped over bodies lying in the streets.

"Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed. There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them. All of the hospitals are packed with people. It is a catastrophe," said Préval.

With chaotic scenes in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince, officials said it was impossible to gauge accurately the scale of the disaster, but the country's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, told CNN that the final death toll could be well over 100,000. "I hope that is not true … But so many, so many buildings, so many neighbourhoods are totally destroyed, and some neighbourhoods we don't even see people, so I don't know where those people are."

The people of Haiti are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Here are three possibilities that have been brought to my attention by friends and family for anyone interested in making a donation to facilitate Haitian relief efforts, First, the National Nurses United:

More than 1,500 registered nurses from across the U.S. have responded in less than one day to the call by the nation’s largest organization of registered nurses for volunteers to provide assistance to residents of earthquake devastated Haiti —leading the RNs to now issue an urgent appeal for the public to support these efforts with donations of funds to support travel costs and medical supplies on their upcoming emergency nursing mission.

Press and nurses are invited to a conference call Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time for an overview of the efforts and their logistics, including the details on the first teams of nurses traveling to the area. Press can call in for the briefing at (866) 320-4709 using the access code 143135, or gather with local nurses and representatives in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Miami.

The relief efforts are being coordinated by the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), a project of the 150,000-member National Nurses United (NNU), formed last month through the unification of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses and Massachusetts Nurses Association. RNRN/NNU is hoping to have nurse volunteers on the ground in Haiti within the next few days and is coordinating with Haitian nurses on the effort.

Details are still being worked out, but those able to support the efforts of these nurses can get involved via:

www.NationalNursesUnited.org to sign up to volunteer or donate

@NationalNurses on twitter or by following: #haitiRN

Call the RNRN hotline: 1-800-578-8225

Support the RNRN/NNU disaster relief effort in Haiti by sending checks c/o California Nurses Foundation, 2000 Franklin St., Oakland, CA 94612. Charitable contributions will be used to pay for travel/related costs and medical supplies for volunteer RNs on their emergency nursing mission in Haiti.

RNRN sent hundreds of nurse volunteers to the Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina. RNRN has also sent volunteers to Sri Lanka after the South Asia tsunami and to help following huge Southern California wildfires. RNRN is affiliated with National Nurses United, AFL-CIO, the national union and professional association for registered nurses.

“The need for help has never been so acute. We need financial support to transport them,” said NNU Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro. “Nurses will be fundamental to the disaster relief process, to provide immediate healing and therapeutic support to the patients and families facing the devastation from this tragic earthquake,” DeMoro said.

Second, Mercy Corps:

Mercy Corps is deploying an emergency response team to the island nation.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is plagued by hunger and political instability. This disaster will drastically increase the needs of families who had little to lose in the first place.

Families need your help -- food, shelter and other supplies -- in the aftermath of the worst disaster to strike the region in years.

Mercy Corps has a long history of helping earthquake survivors meet their immediate needs and recover what they've lost. We aided families after earthquakes in Peru in 2007, China and Pakistan in 2008, and Indonesia last year.

Lastly, there is also a local (for me), Sacramento area effort, Children's Hope, founded by Leisa Faulkner. Faulkner has traveled to Haiti numerous times and raised funds to support social programs there through Children's Hope:

As you probably have seen today, a huge earthquake (7.3) has hit Haiti just 10 miles southwest of the center of Port-au-Prince (PAP). Children's Hope needs your help. Three of the major centers of our humanitarian work in Haiti are centered in PAP, are still not responsive and we are very concerned for the children and families: the boys home (St. Josephs) is located on Delmas, PAP, Sopudep School (for street children) is in PAP, and "The Lamp" free clinic is in low lying Cite Soleil, PAP. Early reports have many structures down on Delmas, the presidential palace in collapse, and the large local hospital is down. Fear of rising water may further threaten the low laying Cite Soleil, where our clinic "The Lamp" is located. I have not been successful in getting through by phone. We here are sick with worry at early reports like the one below. If you have a few dollars to spare, lives will be saved. We are sending emergency funds starting tomorrow, and then as soon as pledges come in, since the need is urgent. We also really need to raise shipping money for the supplies already donated by a local hospital here (Marshall Hospital of Placerville) to send these supplies to Haiti. If you pledge, please remember to then send the check to Children's Hope. But please pledge now, so we can get new medicines ordered now, and help on the way.

Children's Hope
3025 A Cambridge Road
Cameron Park, CA 95682

Please feel free to post contact information for any other organizations that are involved in the relief effort. Long time readers of this blog know that I'm not a big fan of the American Red Cross. There are, of course, socioeconomic dimensions to this catastrophe that should be explored, and I may do so, but, for now, humanitarian assistance is urgently required.

Labels: , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?