Haitian earthquake demands quick assistance

Vincent Stigliani/Editor-in-Chief

A week ago today, a major earthquake struck in the southern region of Haiti, one of the most impoverished and unstable countries in the world. The full scope of the devastation is still somewhat unclear, but it can be said with certainty that the country will need large-scale assistance in the wake of this 7.0 magnitude quake.

To put this disaster in perspective, the country isn’t even a fifth the size of Iowa yet its population is three times greater. Its GDP per capita is the lowest in the Western world and 203 out of 229 at $1,300 per year. These facts, coupled with the country’s unstable government and infrastructure, have exponentially worsened what would be a crippling blow to even the most stable of nations.
Haiti most certainly will need assistance from the outside world and even the smallest gestures could add up to meaningful action. Perhaps the most helpful and realistic way of

assisting the millions of people in need is monetary donations, and there are multiple ways to go about this.

Donation methods seem to be evolving alongside today’s ever-changing technology. Now, donations can be made by anyone with cell-phone access. Users first text a message to a designated number. The system will then reply with a confirmation message and forward your donation to your carrier. Your carrier distributes the money to the charity and adds it to your bill at the end of the month. All numbers and charities can be found online, but I will list a few options. Text “Yele” to 501501 and you will contribute $5 to the Yéle Foundation, a leading organization in Haiti’s rebuilding. Text “Haiti” to 20222 if you would like to assist The Clinton Foundation—Bill Clinton is Special Envoy to Haiti. Texting “Haiti” to 85944 will donate $5 to the Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp international, and to 25383 to help the Internal Rescue Committee. The same message to 90999 will give $10 to the Red Cross. Already by last Thursday, less than two days into the initiative, over $5 million had been donated through texts. These are just a few of the many options for helping out the millions of people impacted by this natural disaster, and many more foundations and specific causes may be found online.

I advise you to be aware, however, what you are donating to because there have been multiple cases of people using this tragedy as a money-making scheme, creating fake websites and bogus foundations. The FBI urges potential donors to apply a “critical eye” of donation requests and steer clear of unknown foundations or middle men. Despite this, as long you don’t venture too far off the beaten path, your much-needed donations should be secure.

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