Friday, 12 July 2024

Help for Haiti: Groups send aid, gather donations around country and the North Coast

NORTH COAST – With the devastation and death toll mounting in Haiti due a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit its capita, Port-Au-Prince, on Tuesday, organizations around the country and the North Coast are reaching out to help the stricken country.

The death toll in Haiti is estimated to reach as high as 50,000, based on numerous press reports, and the American Red Cross is reporting that as many as three million people may be affected by the quake.

Aftershocks triggered by the huge Tuesday earthquake have continued to hit the region. By early Friday morning, approximately 43 quakes, ranging in size from 4.4 to 5.9 in magnitude, had occurred since Tuesday, according to the US Geological Survey.

On Thursday President Barack Obama pledged $100 million in US aid and announced that he had deployed members of the US Armed Forces to help support recovery efforts.

Included in that deployment are several Coast Guard cutters providing basic services, members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, a Marine Expeditionary Unit, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and the Navy's hospital ship, the Comfort, the White House reported on Thursday.

Assisting with the recovery efforts are a number of humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam America and the American Red Cross.

Doctors Without Borders medical teams have reportedly given medical care to more than 1,000 earthquake victims in the four tented facilities that the organization set up,and are trying to get an operator theater or a major hospital opened.

On Thursday, Doctors Without Borders said one of its inflatable field hospitals, complete with two operating theaters, was expected to arrive in Haiti, and doctors and other medical personnel were on the way.

American Red Cross Disaster management specialists were set to arrive Thursday from the United States, Peru and Mexico to join local Red Cross staff already on the ground in Haiti's disaster zone. The International Committee of the Red Cross already head deployed medical supplies and medical staff.

Blood and blood products to help the injured already were shipped to Guantanamo Bay to help Haitian evacuees and patients, and other supplies are prepared for shipping once airports can receive relief shipments, the Red Cross reported.

The Red Cross said Thursday it has released $10 million so far to help Haiti, and was leading a text message campaign to draw donations.

The group said priority needs are food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support.

Donna Neu with the Yolo and Lake County Red Cross chapter, said they're primarily collecting financial donations for the effort.

“We're not sending any volunteers,” Neu said. “They are not asking for any at this time.”

They ask that contributions be mailed to the Red Cross office at 401 Martin St. in Lakeport, with a notation that the money be sent directly to the Red Cross International Response Fund.

Neu said people can make donations online at the Red Cross' Web site, . The Red Cross also can be reached at 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).

People also can donate money through their cell phones. Neu said they can text “Haiti” to 90999, which will send a $10 donation. The Red Cross reported that the mobile donations raised more than $3 million by Thursday morning.

Ellen Maremont Silver of the Sonoma and Mendocino County Red Cross chapter reported Thursday that their phones haven't stopped ringing.

That day, she said she sat with a propane tank installer as he counted out more than $127 – mostly in change – from his private piggy bank. “People's hearts are large,” she said.

The American Red Cross has seen an outpouring of support and concern from the public, both locally in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties and around the country, Silver said.

So far, more than $8,000 from more than 90 people has been donated through the Sonoma and Mendocino County Red Cross chapter, with people continuing to call, donate online, mail in donations and bring contributions directly to the Santa Rosa headquarters, Silver said. Residents of those counties also can donate online at .

Other groups accepting donations include Doctors Without Borders,, Oxfam America, and Yéle Haiti,

For those trying to contact friends and family in Haiti, they are urged to call the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-647-5225.

As the efforts continue, California Attorney General Jerry Brown on Thursday encouraged Californians to make charitable donations for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, but warned them to avoid scam artists who may prey on the goodwill of California donors.

“After every tragedy, a wave of scam artists take advantage of generous individuals who want to help the victims of a tragedy,” Brown said. “It's important to thoroughly research charitable organizations before you write a check.”

He urged people to donate to charities they know and make sure they're in the Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts at . For additional tips on charitable giving, go to .

Information on national charities is available from the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance at 800-575-4483 or .

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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