The Haiti earthquake humanitarian response has been impressive and moving, but efforts have been slowed by logistical challenges like blocked roads, damaged communications lines, and a population that is growing more desperate by the hour.
The Haiti earthquake is challenging aid groups and governments alike.
The main airport in Port-au-Prince is still open and functioning, but has been filled to capacity.
Crews on the ground have struggled to unload the planes quickly enough to make room for the next one to land. As a result, planes have had to circle while they wait their turn. Air traffic controllers from the United States have been helping manage the situation and all non-military flights out of the airport have been restricted.
Meanwhile, the capital’s port has sustained severe damage and cannot be used to handle cargo.
On the ground, blocked roads have slowed the process of actually getting the supplies to the people in need.
Don’t be a victim of a Haiti earthquake scam: Haiti Disaster Scam Warning
As a result, Haitians have grown tense and uncertain if help will ever arrive. People who have been without food for days have turned to looting, desperate to get something to eat. Some have even tried to hijack trucks of supplies, further complicating relief efforts.
To make matters worse, the main prison in Port-au-Prince was destroyed, freeing roughly 4,000 prisoners who are now prowling the streets.
Despite these challenges, workers have remained dedicated. More than 100 paratroopers of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division landed at the airport overnight. The rapid response unit began handing out food, water and medical supplies while a helicopter combed the area from above searching for drop zones.
The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier arrived with a marine expeditionary unit on board. Helicopters have been bringing water and other supplies from the Vinson to the airport. Planes carrying rescue teams from China, Canada, Russia and Britain have all landed and the U.S. military presence should expand to 8,000 troops in the days to come.
The U.N. World Food program has already begun distributing 6,000 tons of food. Officials say that two million people will need food aid in total, but so far they have only managed to feed 4,000.
ORGANIZATIONS TAKING DONATIONS
- Action Against Hunger- http://actionagainsthunger.org
- ActionAid – http://actionaidusa.org
- Air Serve International – www.airserv.org
- Airline Ambassadors – www.airlineamb.org
- American Red Cross – www.redcross.org/donate or text the word HAITI to 90999 for a $10 donation*
- AmeriCares – www.AmeriCares.org
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals- www.aspca.org
- CARE – www.care.org/donatehaiti
- Clinton Foundation – www.clintonfoundation.org or text the word HAITI to 20222 for a $10 donation*
- Doctors Without Borders – doctorswithoutborders.org
- Habitat for Humanity – www.habitat.org
- Humane Society International – www.hsi.org
- Mercy Corps: Haiti Earthquake Fund – www.mercycorps.org
- Oxfam America – OxfamAmerica.org/Haiti
- Partners in Health – www.pih.org,
- Save the Children – http://savethechildren.org
- The Salvation Army – salvationarmyusa.org
- UN World Food Programme – www.wfp.org
- UNICEF – www.unicefusa.org/haitiquake
- United Way International – www.liveunited.org
Learn more about what each organization is doing with A Guide to Helping Haitians.
*please note that texted donations will appear on your wireless phone bill. The money is collected by the phone company and then passed onto the intended charity, which can take as long as 90 days from the time of donation.
Click here for information on donating loyalty points and frequent-flier miles to help charitable organizations.
Other information on Haiti:
- Haiti Disaster Scam Warning
- Helping Haiti: A Guide to Helping Haitians in the Earthquake Aftermath
- How to Help Haiti: Volunteer Opportunities and Global Relief Efforts