Published on 13 Jan 2010 Sections

Haiti quake: how to help the rescue effort

Efforts to raise millions of pounds to help survivors of the Haiti earthquake are under way in the UK and around the world. Here is the latest information on the relief effort and how you can help.

It is estimated nearly two million people felt the effects of Haiti’s devastating earthquake and the aftershocks which followed.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, are feared buried in the rubble.

Electricity is currently down across the whole island and there is a risk of landslides.

The national palace, dozens of shops, offices and the headquarters of the UN mission have collapsed.

DEC appeal launch

UK charities have begun raising money to fund rescue efforts, as well as food, water, shelter and medicines for survivors.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launched its appeal at midnight. The DEC is an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid agencies.

You can donate here: DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal. You can also phone 0370 60 60 900.

Developers at Google have voluntarily setup a person-finder microsite that helps people looking for their loved ones in Haiti.

The premise is that people either enter the names of the people they’re looking for / and other people enter the names of people they have information about. The site then links the two names together.

Hospitals in crisis

There are reports of dead bodies littering the corridors of hospitals in Port-au-Prince, with doctors on the ground struggling to treat the injured.

Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said its three hospitals in Haiti were too badly damaged to use and it was treating the injured at temporary shelters.

Aid workers on the ground say the most crucial supplies they need are blankets, water, plastic sheets and food.

Finding your family

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has set up a special website to help thousands of people within Haiti and abroad who have lost contact with their loved ones. Click here:

Rescue effort

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has mobilised resources and staff to respond to the disaster. USAID has already deployed teams including up to 72 people, six search and rescue dogs and up to 48 tons of rescue equipment.

The ICRC’s head of delegation in Haiti, Ricardo Conti, said: “Our ability to help depends largely on the situation in Port-au-Prince.

“It is extremely difficult to move around the city to assess needs. What is certain is that the quake has had a massive impact on a population already reeling from other recent disasters.”

Shelters and supplies

The race to set up field hospitals and emergency shelters is now on.

Red Cross volunteers already in Haiti are helping the injured and supporting hospitals. In Port-au-Prince they have enough pre-positioned supplies for 500 families.

The emergency kits consist of kitchen kits, personal hygiene kits, blankets and containers for storing drinking water.

You can help the rescue effort by donating to the ICRC’s fund here: Red Cross quake donation.

Homeless families

Save the Children is appealing for £3m to help fund its emergency response as the organisation’s workers in Port-au-Prince try to reach people made homeless by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

Thousands of families have been forced onto the streets.

Save the Children’s Emergency Director Gareth Owen said: “This is a major disaster and we are expecting the number of casualties to rise significantly.

“It’s crucial we move fast to get help to thousands of children and their parents who are living in dangerous conditions without shelter or any way of getting clean water, food or medical assistance.”

Donations to Save the Children’s efforts can be made here: Save the Children Haiti donation.

Disease fears

Port-au-Prince is a densely populated city and sanitation is already poor. Efforts are under way to rush extra water and sanitation services into the area to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.

Oxfam has staff of around 100 permanently based in Haiti – including 15 emergency specialists.

Humanitarian Director Jane Cocking said: “Oxfam has its emergency response team for Latin America based in Haiti so we are well prepared, with a public health, water and sanitation team in Port au Prince ready to respond.

“We also have emergency supplies in Panama that we are preparing to send in as soon as possible.”

The charity’s international director Penny Lawrence said: “This earthquake is grim news for the poor people of Haiti. We are calling for the generous support of the UK public to help us save lives.”

You can send cash to Oxfam’s emergency relief effort here: Oxfam Haiti quake donation.

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