Haiti: Six Months After the Earthquake

July 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm , by

Today marks the six-month anniversary of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti. A good friend of mine and fellow journalist, Eleanor A. Miller, is spending the summer reporting for the Haitian Times in Port-au-Prince. I asked Eleanor via email about her experience, and what she’s observed on the ground in Haiti.

Kids at The Sunday Project. Photo by Eleanor A. Miller

Shelter is the biggest issue. “There are tent cities everywhere. There is no open public space anymore–every park, every open lot, everywhere has tents and shacks and people living on it,” Eleanor said. “If any sort of tropical storm blows through, causing heavy rains, winds or mudslides, it will be another disaster all over again. Tents and tarps are already falling apart because they simply aren’t meant to be used continuously, and the strong heat and rains of the Caribbean have taken their toll.”

According to Eleanor, the mood among Haitians is frustration. Many look to the United States for much needed help. So what can average Americans do?

“Consider donating to Haitian-run organizations on the ground that know the culture, work intimately with locals and are sustainable,” Eleanor said.

Eleanor volunteers with The Sunday Project,  run by local radio personality Carel Pedre. Every Sunday, the group heads to Cité Soleil, the poorest slum in Port-au-Prince, and distributes 300 boxed meals to seriously malnourished kids. You can donate to The Sunday Project or find other organizations to give to. But it doesn’t cost anything to remain interested in the Haitian recovery and ask our government and aid organizations to do the same.

Cite Soleil

Cite Soleil, a slum in Port-au-Prince. Photo by Eleanor A. Miller

Dr. Lisa Checks In

February 4, 2010 at 8:00 am , by

Dr. Masterson

Lisa M. Masterson, M.D., stopped by our office yesterday (that’s her in the middle with me and Emily Chau, my fellow LHJ Health Lady) to fill us in on some of her latest adventures and causes. She was just back from Haiti, where she and her fellow physicians from the TV show The Doctors arrived with 7,000 pounds of much-needed supplies—and treated a number of victims. A specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Masterson helped a pregnant woman with a leg injury find the care she needed. See clips from that episode here.

Dr. Masterson, who’s based in L.A., was in New York for an event promoting screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. She says that for women over 30, combining a pap test with an HPV test is the best way to prevent this cancer, which still kills some 4,000 women every year.

The good doc also got on her soapbox about the recent changes in screening guidelines for breast cancer. She’s afraid that many women will stop getting mammograms, especially if their insurance won’t pay for them to be done annually. She also wants to encourage women to continue to do self-exams, or at least “get to know their own breasts,” she says. “I’m seeing breast cancer more in younger women.” Feeling something and having it checked out by your doctor could save your life.

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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Do Good: Haiti Earthquake Survivors Helping Others

February 1, 2010 at 11:55 am , by

scoutWhen we heard this story from our friends at CARE, who are a big part of the relief effort in Haiti, we had to share. Local boy and girl scouts who survived the earthquake have banded together to help CARE deliver supplies and comfort people in need.

Joanie Estin, right, is a member of Ste. Rose de Lima Scouts of Léogane. She lost her father, and her home, in the disaster. Her family has been living at a local school, but as soon as she could she joined up with her fellow troop members to pitch in.

“We try to advise the people on how to stay calm, and we help the international agencies with the distributions,” Joanie said to CARE. “For me, it’s a good deed. It helps me feel better.”

At a recent aid distribution, for instance, scouts served as security to help control the anxious crowd and emotional support as aid workers delivered soap, sanitary napkins, and other hygiene supplies to the women of Léogane.

Want to know how you can help? LHJ has partnered with CARE to help drive donations that will go toward both immediate emergency relief and a long-term redevelopment plan in Haiti. Visit their website to learn more and donate.

Cupcakes to Support Haiti Relief

January 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm , by

cupcake-02Check out this sweet deal offered by New York City’s famed Magnolia Bakery: The Red Cross Cupcake ($3). During the rest of January and February, Magnolia will donate $1 to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund for every Red Cross cupcake sold.

The details: Red Cross Cupcake, Magnolia’s classic vanilla-vanilla cupcake (vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream frosting) topped with red sprinkles in the shape of the Red Cross logo.

Locations after the jump…

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Host a Give Back Get-together for Haiti

January 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm , by

mark__0123One thing people seem to agree on these days is that Haiti needs our help—why not make the focus of your next dinner party an opportunity to do just that? Lifestyle Expert Mark Addison has some great ideas on how to pull it off.

1. Just serve water in recognition that 90 percent of the population of Haiti don’t have clean drinking water. Donate what you would have spent on beverages to a relief-based charity. PSI Safe Drinking Water Fund

2. Ask guests to bring a donated item from a list of needs (found UNICEF and Gifts That Give Back).

3. Only use items you have around the house for your party donate the money you would have spent to a Haiti Relief Fund, like the one set up by The Red Cross.

4. Find a local or national organization willing to ship or transport your collected items, like  Artists for Peace and Justice.

5. Or try hosting a care package party where guests prepare boxes of goods to be sent to victims.

Categories: Do Good, Home | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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.