Friday, January 15, 2010

A Heartbreaking Week Comes To An End

I'm certainly glad it's Friday. This has been an incredibly difficult week.

Although Monday was just another day, the world changed on Tuesday afternoon at 4:53pm ET.  It's impossible to avoid the heartbreaking stories and images coming from Haiti, where the death toll today is estimated at somewhere around 150,000 people.

Schools, hospitals, homes and most of the other buildings in and around the capital city of Port Au Prince collapsed under a massive earthquake that registered 7.0 on the Richter scale. As the days pass, the chances of survivors being pulled from the wreckage lessens.

And we watch, helplessly, though not hopelessly.  We're still hoping for the best, yet sadly, aware that this is truly the worst for a country that has already seen so much disaster and sorrow.
                                                                                 The silver lining to this very dark cloud is evident in the depths to which Americans have reached to help our neighbors in the Caribbean. It's difficult not to feel pride when the lists of relief agencies run pages long, and the posts on Twitter and Facebook show our friends and acquaintances filled with compassion and care.

Most of us (the Rush Limbaughs of the world notwithstanding) are coming together in solidarity to do whatever we can to help these people, and in our thoughts/prayers/wishes that help arrives as soon as possible.

Tonight I'll speak with Bob Ferguson who works for OxFam America as their Music Artist Relations coordinator about what musical artists are doing in our worldwide quest to help. 

Many of us have taken advantage of the ease of text message donations. Today, the Red Cross crossed the $10 million threshold of donations received from people texting Haiti to 90999. Each time someone does that, $10 goes to the Red Cross. I did that on Wednesday, as did so many others.

There are now many other relief organizations who are tapping in to the text network for donations as well. Tonight OxFam America, who is on the ground in Haiti providing clean water and sanitation to survivors joins in. Text OXFAM to 25383 to make a $10 donation to their Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund.

Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all agreed to waive their regular texting charges for these donations, and Verizon has agreed to pay all the money pledged immediately, rather than wait until the cell phone bills are paid. The others are expected to follow suit.

In addition to those two text donation numbers, here are some others you might want to help:

  • Text HAITI to 25383
    International Rescue Committee
    Donates $5
  • Text HAITI to 52000
    Salvation Army
    Donates $10
  • Text YELE to 501501
    Donates $5
  • Text HAITI to 864833
    The United Way
    Donates $5
  • Text CERF to 90999
    The United Nations Foundation
    Donates $5
  • Text DISASTER to 90999
    Compassion International
  • Text HAITI to 20222
    The Clinton Foundation
    Donates $10
And should you want to check out a long and growing list of relief organizations to help in other ways, here's a great list provided by The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC:

Although the week is ending, the nightmare in Haiti has just begun. We'll be helping them for a long time to come, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Photo credit: Raedle/Getty