How to Help Haiti Earthquake Victims - Rolling Stone
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How to Help Haiti Earthquake Victims

After a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southern Haiti on Saturday, advocates encourage donations to locally based charities

Earthquake-displaced people sit under blankets to shield themselves from the rain, the morning after Tropical Storm Grace swept over Les Cayes, Haiti, early Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, three days after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)Earthquake-displaced people sit under blankets to shield themselves from the rain, the morning after Tropical Storm Grace swept over Les Cayes, Haiti, early Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, three days after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

People displaced by the earthquake shield themselves from the rain in Les Cayes, Haiti, early on Tuesday, August 17th, 2021, three days after the earthquake.

Joseph Odelyn/AP

On Saturday, a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. More than 1,400 people were killed in the island nation, which was also the site of a massive earthquake in 2010, and at least 6,000 have been injured as of Tuesday, per the Associated Press.

The earthquake hit about 80 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, displacing tens of thousands of people; 7,000 homes have been destroyed per PBS News Hour, who also reports that Covid-19 vaccines had only begun to be distributed less than two weeks prior to the earthquake. An estimated 30,000 families are homeless. Rescue efforts have also been hampered by landslides. The country is already grappling with political upheaval following the July 7th assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and coupled with the pandemic, widespread poverty, and gang violence, the need for aid in Haiti is palpable.

In the midst of the maelstrom, Tropical Storm Grace hit the island late Monday, bringing torrential rain and winds, which are expected to cause mudslides and flash flooding.

Haiti has yet to have fully recovered from the 2010 earthquake, which killed 230,000 people and injured 300,000. Following criticism about how donations were allocated in the aftermath of that disaster, advocates for the region are urging donators to look to local organizations that provide aid. Here are several organizations who are either local organizations, have local workers, and/or partner with local organizations on the ground to provide support in the region.

  • The Haiti Emergency Relief Fund, which touts that it does not pay staff or have overhead, collects donations and sends all the money directly to grassroots organizations in Haiti. During the 2010 earthquake, HERF funded mobile health clinics, women’s groups and community organizers. After 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, it supported efforts to help healthcare workers, and provided medicine and food for those affected.
  • FOKAL Haiti Relief (via U.S. charity Ayiti Demen) channels donations directly to Haiti farmer’s associations, grassroots women’s organizations, and other local organizations that are the frontline to local advocacy and economic recovery following disasters, such as the latest earthquake. FOKAL also successfully provided support to grassroots organizations during Hurricane Matthew.
  • Haiti Communitere is a small organization built around a Port-au-Prince community center that offers a safe and secure place for local organizations to meet, as well as resources and education. The organization works with community members to address needs and provide emergency support. Since it is nearby the capital’s main hospitals, after the earthquake, it immediately began providing free accommodation for families of victims.
  • Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, who have had medical staff in Haiti for 30 years, have teams in position in Haiti providing medical care, including in some of the hardest-hit areas such as Port-Salut, Les Cayes, and Jérémie. The organization is assessing the needs in other areas and are planning to provide additional medical equipment, essential items and medical teams to help those that are injured.
  • Hope for Haiti is a humanitarian relief organization that has been working in southern Haiti for more than three decades. Their team lives and works in the region and their aim is to reduce poverty via education, healthcare support, access to clean water, infrastructure and economic opportunity. Specific to the recent earthquake, the non-profit is providing emergency kits, healthcare and other resources.

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