The post-earthquake news out of Haiti is very bad. According to President René Préval, many thousands of people may have died, and many more are injured. President Préval, speaking of the "unimaginable catastrophe," is appealing for immediate and substantial international help, and noted that he has stepped over dead bodies and has heard cries of assistance from the rubble of the destroyed Parliament building. (All photos below from the Miami Herald.)
The capital city of Port-Au-Prince, home to around 2 million people, has been largely destroyed, and Haiti's arts capital, Jacmel, very close to the epicenter of the earthquake and the aftershocks, which have continued throughout the night and into today, has suffered serious damage. The head of the UN Mission, whose building was completely destroyed, is presumed dead, as is the Archbishop of Port-Au-Prince, who died in the collapse of the one of the many now-leveled churches, and UN peacekeepers from Brazil, Jordan and China are also said to have died.
Last night, Haiti's Ambassador to the US, Raymond Joseph, stressed that the Haitian government is in control, but he was unable to say anything about the fate of lawmakers or those working in the Presidential Palace, beyond asserting that the President and First Lady were fine. Because of the widespread destruction, Haiti is facing a tremendous civil and humanitarian and civil crisis. Without electricity, drinking water or shelter, many people who have survived the quake risk serious illness or death. As I noted yesterday, the US has pledged unqualified help, as have other nations, and search and rescue, reconstruction and other teams have already begun to depart from Santo Domingo, the capital of Haiti's neighbor, the Dominican Republic, and from Florida and elsewhere.
As I appealed yesterday, there are various ways you can help. I know we are all financially stressed these days, but funding is crucial especially in the early days of this horrific tragedy. Options include:
Two very immediate options I've tried and know are working:
You can text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in #Haiti (via Red Cross)
You can text Yele to 510 510 and donate $5 toward #Haiti earthquake relief. (via Wyclef Jean's Yele.org)
You can go to WhiteHouse.gov for ways to donate to Haiti.
CNN's Impact has a long list.
Doctors without Borders/Médicins sans frontières does excellent work all over the world, and they are active on the ground in Haiti.
Unicef is always a very good option, and the money is targeted towards children.
Fokal.org, recommended by actor Hill Harper, is an NGO that works with Haitian young people. (Supposedly 100% of your donation will directly to relief.)
A Spanish video feed: