It's been a week since the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, destroying a country and killing an estimated 200,000 and counting. The devastation has also brought the globe together in a huge effort to help the victims and those affected by this unthinkable disaster. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the US alone has raised over $200 million dollars.
With the help of Twitter, I got in touch with American-Haitian Blogger, Catherine Laine, who works with AIDG(Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group) in Cap Haitien, located North of Haiti and only a few hours drive from Dominican border. After 24 hours without an Internet connection and barely any cell phone service, she finally got enough of a signal to log onto Skype video to share her experience of feeling the quake and stories of colleagues and family currently in the capital:
I also got introduced to Yeardley Smith, known as the voice of Lisa on The Simpsons. Smith has been working closely with Fonkoze, Haiti's Alternative Bank for the Organized Poor and visited the country only a few months ago. Like Laine, she emphasized not only the immediate but continuous aid and attention that must be given to Haiti as they are dig themselves out of this tragedy:
We've now seen firsthand how mobile and online technology has revolutionized the ease and options of giving back. As I write this, Red Cross in partnership with MGive has raised over $22 million with people donating $10 when they text "Haiti" to 90999. With the help of celebs including everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Paula Abdul, News talk magnate Larry King raised an incredible $7 million during his 2-hour live telethon, "Haiti: How & You Can Help" on CNN Monday evening.
But while it may be easier than ever to donate, the options may seem overwhelming and some of them even questionable. Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities, has a great list of legit and non-profits responding to the crisis: "Help Survivors of the Earthquake in Haiti."
The US Better Business Bureau has also set up a site where you can verify the charities you're donating to: http://www.bbb.org/us/charity/
For those who want to make a more hands on impact, the philanthropic media site, Tonic, has also compiled ways that you can volunteer in Haiti:
"How to Volunteer In Haiti."