disaster relief

Do Good: How To Help Japan

March 14, 2011 at 9:31 am , by

pict_grid7The videos, images and stories of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan are devastating, and it seems like every hour there’s more bad news: aftershocks, nuclear explosions. It’s easy to feel a sense of utter helplessness as we watch in shock, halfway around the world. But there are ways we can help:

The American Red Cross already has medical relief teams on the ground in Japan. To donate $10, text REDCROSS to 90999 or visit their site to donate any amount.

Save the Children, which has operated in Japan for the last 25 years, is also mobilizing to help children and families affected by the disaster. They’ve set up a special fund for Japan, and you can donate online or text JAPAN to 20222 to donate $10.

MeryCorps is working with its partner in Japan, Peace Winds, which is helicoptering in tents and supplies for homeless victims today. Click here to donate online.

Global Giving has a special fund set up for earthquake relief and is working with other organizations on the ground, like the International Medical Corps and Save the Children, to bring aid to victims.

If you have loved ones living in Japan, Google set up a 2011 earthquake people finder to help you connect. CNN also has a big list of additional ways to help the relief effort.

Image via GlobalGiving.


Do Good: Help for Chile

March 1, 2010 at 11:37 am , by

chile-mapIt’s hard to believe we’re talking about another devastating earthquake so soon after the events in Haiti. The quake that struck Chile on Saturday (one of the most powerful in recorded history) has killed more than 700 people and displaced millions more. Relief organizations are already working with the Chilean government to get aid to the region. But if you’re wondering how you can help, like Haiti (and most natural disaster relief efforts), usually the best way is to donate money, which will get aid to Chile much faster than other kinds of donations.

The Mobile Giving Foundation (which helped organize many Haiti mobile fundraisers, including the one by the Red Cross), already has a list of groups you can donate to via text message:

  • Text the word “CHILE” to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision.
  • Text the word “CHILE” to 52000 to donate $10 on behalf of the Salvation Army.
  • Text the word “SAVE” to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of Save the Children.
  • Text the word “CHILE” to 85944 to donate $10 on behalf of International Medical Corp.

Organizations like the American Red Cross and UNICEF don’t have a specific Chile donation pages set up (yet), but those groups use donations to get aid where it’s needed most, if you’d prefer to donate the old-fashioned way instead of via text.


Helping in Haiti: One Doctor’s Story

February 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm , by

Bruce Dubin is a doctor, lawyer and teacher—who also wants to do some good in the world. That’s a rare combo. I saw Dr. Dubin last week in Colleyville, Texas. He lives in Colorado but had just come from Haiti to attend the funeral of his friend (and my beloved brother-in-law), Dr. Richard Grossman, who had died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Nothing else could have gotten him to leave his efforts to help in Haiti, he said, and he will go back soon. Here’s a bit about what he saw and experienced while there.

group in Haiti
When you first heard about the earthquake, what did you think?

When I saw the announcement on television, I knew it was going to be bad, and I just felt like I had to go. So I hooked up with three of my former medical students (above; with Dr. Dubin on the left), and they all had the same gut feeling I did. One of them had some connections in the Dominican Republic and with a church group that was going to Haiti, so that’s how we started our trek.

What did you see when you arrived?

Outside Port-au-Prince, it almost looked like life as usual in Haiti. But as we got closer to Port-au-Prince, the scene changed and it looked like a war zone, with rubble and bodies everywhere. The smell was so bad, everyone had to wear face masks. It was hot. Dust from the debris was settling in the air, and there was smoke from some oil fires as well. The students with me saw some things that no one should ever have to see in their lives.

Sounds like you were early responders. When did you get there?

The earthquake happened on Tuesday; we got there and set up our first clinic on Friday. We couldn’t believe the lack of any initial response, at least on the part of the U.N. The first night or two, we saw maybe one or two U.N. vehicles with a couple of people driving around. But that was about it. Some of the bodies had been removed from the street by Sunday, but people were pretty desperate for food and drinking water. And there was a shortage of basic medical supplies. We were seeing children and adults who had been under rubble or had been injured and had open wounds, lacerations, fractured bones, and they were running the risk of developing severe infections and losing their limbs.

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How to Help Haiti

January 14, 2010 at 1:35 am , by

mapdataIf you’ve seen any of the news coverage of the earthquake in Haiti—and the total devastation it’s caused—you’re probably wondering how you can help. According to the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI), monetary donations are almost always the best and fastest way to help victims of a natural disaster, often because of the logistics, time, and money it takes to assemble, transport, and distribute other collected goods. (CIDI info found via The White House Blog.) Here are ways you can make a donation that will help get relief to Haiti quickly. Even $5 or $10 can go a long way, especially when thousands of people contribute.

Red Cross: Send a $10 donation by texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999, or donate and get more information online. (You may have seen this one spreading on Twitter and Facebook.)

Mercy Corps: Donate online to help get food, shelter and other supplies to Haiti via this organization’s emergency response team and other efforts.

CARE: This group, which is dedicated to fighting poverty, already has staff in Haiti and is sending additional emergency workers. Contribute online.

UNICEF: Nearly half of Haiti’s 10 million citizens are kids. Help children and families affected by the earthquake by making a donation online.

Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation: Text “Yele” to 501501 to donate $5 to the popular Haitian singer’s foundation, which is using 100% of funds raised for relief. (This fundraiser’s also been popular on Twitter.)

You can also check this list (which is being updated periodically) from the San Francisco Chronicle for more ways to help.

UPDATE: There have been reports of donation hoaxes on Twitter, email and Facebook so before you text a donation (or follow a link from email to donate online), to be safe go directly to the organization’s website to make sure it’s legit. Almost every group has Haiti relief information and links to donate on their homepage right now.

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