Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Devastation Continues

In Haiti. I assume that, like me, you have been watching what is unfolding in Haiti. The death toll continues to grow as this impoverished country continues to reel from aftershocks from this powerful earthquake, with bodies lying next to the living. Rescue attempts are underway, but it is difficult work, with rescue workers having to bring in supplies for THEMSELVES as well as for those whom they are trying to aid. Add to that the difficulties in actually getting to the areas in which they are needed due to lack of infrastructure, impassable roads, and generally deteriorated conditions, and it is a difficult time indeed. The difficulty being faced by rescue teams and other humanitarian agencies cannot be understated, nor the level of destruction this country has suffered.

There are many, many sad stories, but here is one positive one:

Amazing. The determination of these rescuers is remarkable. What a tribute to the human spirit.

Since communications are very difficult now in Haiti, the State Department has provided a phone number to find missing U.S. Citizens, 1-888-407-4747, as well as a People Finder site if you are looking for someone, or know there whereabouts of someone, as well as an email address, Secretary Clinton will be on the ground in Haiti Saturday morning.

Still, the loss of life is staggering, with estimates anywhere between 50,000 - 200,000 deaths expected. As one might expect, a number of children are now orphans. While the Red Cross (you can make a donation to the Red Cross via your cell phone by texting in the word "Haiti" to 90999) and other organizations are there, as we know, including at least one that works specifically with children.

And one such group is SOS Children's Village. From their website:
SOS Children’s Villages History in Haiti

SOS Children’s Villages has been established in Haiti for over 30 years with extensive experience working with children and families in the area. We support around 3000 children and adults in Haitian SOS Children's Villages (in Santo and Cap Hatien), SOS Youth Centers, SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools, and SOS Vocational Training Centers. In 2005, SOS Children’s Villages started to operate SOS Family Strengthening Programs, which enable children who are at risk of losing the care of their family to grow within a caring family environment.

That is important - that they already have a presence in Haiti since, unfortunately, where there are disasters, there are unscrupulous people all too willing to take your donations. If you wish to donate, click HERE.

Another organization that already had a presence there is Convoy of Hope:
When the earthquake hit, Convoy’s country director was in Port-au-Prince. And because Convoy’s warehouse was fully stocked, the team was able to begin responding immediately with 50,000 meals.

One load of relief supplies is being airlifted shortly and another truckload of food and medicine just arrived from the Dominican Republic. Additional loads are being readied for immediate shipment and distribution at several points of distribution in Port-au-Prince.

More supplies are critically needed - Please give now to help the earthquake victims of Haiti!

Just two more good ways to help in Haiti.

But to the actual rescues, some rescue members you may not hear much about are the Rescue Dogs. Many are coming from the Search Dog Foundation. Here is a heart-warming story from Haiti:
At 1:15pm local time, an SDF Search Team in Port-au-Prince located three girls, trapped alive since Tuesday in the rubble of Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Bill Monahan and his Border Collie, Hunter, were searching a neighborhood near the Presidential Palace, concentrating on a large bowl-shaped area of rubble which was all that remained of a 4-story building.

After criss-crossing the area, Hunter pin-pointed the survivors’ scent under 4 feet of broken concrete and did his “bark alert” to let Bill know where the victims were. Bill spoke with the survivors, then passed them bottles of water tied to the end of a stick. As they reached for the water one of the girls said, “Thank you.” Highly trained rescue crews from California Task Force 2 are now working to extricate the girls from the wreckage and provide first aid.

Incredible, these dogs, aren't they?

But as you might imagine, not only are people suffering in Haiti, but so are animals, just like during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Humane Society International sent me the following email:
Like you, all of us at Humane Society International are deeply saddened by the reports of death and destruction in Haiti caused by Tuesday's massive earthquake. We're grateful that government and relief agencies are mobilizing to assist the hundreds of thousands of people in need of water, medical care, and shelter.

And as with any disaster of this magnitude, animals are also suffering and in dire need of care. To try to help these animals, here's what HSI is doing right now:

* We're working with Sociedad Dominicana para la PrevenciĆ³n de Crueldad a los Animales, which is based in the Dominican Republic and has offered to get a team of animal responders and veterinarians into Haiti;
* We're sending a veterinarian trained in disaster response associated with our partner organization, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, to the Dominican Republic to spearhead our assessment;
* We have joined the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti, and will be working with the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and other partner groups on a coordinated response to this crisis;
* We've communicated with humanitarian relief agencies and are poised to address the security, transportation, housing, and supply challenges that accompany deployment.

As you read this, we remain uncertain about how we will be able to respond to the crisis in Haiti, but I can tell you that we will do everything we can to help that country's people and animals in the coming days. If you'd like to support HSI's International Disaster Fund, which we use to help relief efforts around the globe, click here.

There is also the World Society for the Protection of Animals:
When people's properties are destroyed, animals' homes often disappear too. Wild animals often have to flee their habitat to survive. Domesticated animals are at risk of remaining trapped or abandoned with no food or water. Helping animals affected by disasters not only reduces their suffering, it helps restore entire communities.

Given the complete collapse of infrastructure in and around Port-au-Prince, the capital city at the epicentre of the earthquake, any relief operation will be fraught with difficulties but WSPA remains committed to helping those animals affected by the disaster. As you can understand, information at this time is sparse. WSPA will continue to provide up-to-the minute reports as we get more information from our team in the field through our Animals in Disaster blog.

You can click HERE to donate to WSPA.

These are tough times in Haiti, to be sure. The devastation there is just incomprehensible. The loss of life, housing, food, and potable water cannot be minimized. Please help if you can, provide links to those who can if you cannot, and pray if you will.


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy--This is a great round up of information on Haiti. God help them. :(

This is OT, but I was wondering if you would be able to join in LD's radio show tonight? He has an awesome guest who will talk about latest events in the bailout & Fed situations. It's going to be very interesting!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks, SonicNinjaKitty - I appreciate that. God help them, indeed...

I'll sure try to - sounds interesting! Thanks for letting me know!

Becky said...

Amy this is an excellent post, the information you've provided is so valuable and, well, it's just a beautifully written sentiment about the tragedy in Haiti, thanks for sharing

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks so much, Becky - I appreciate that!

It is just hard to imagine the impact of this earthquake. Watching the journalists on the ground is just the merest glimpse. One of them I saw said that the stench was going to stay in his nostrils for the rest of his life...

Such tremendous loss. I am so glad Hillary is on the ground there, and so are they...