Haiti Quake: Ned Sublette update, open thread


(Photo: from the NOH photostream on flickr, thanks Bill)

Former Boing Boing guestblogger Ned Sublette has been posting updates on the Haiti earthquake to his mailing list. I'm taking the liberty of reposting a large portion of the latest here, and after the jump, for those who do not subscribe. Boing Boing readers, consider this an open thread to share links to other information resources or ways to help in the comments. Ned writes:

There is no way yet to know the extent of the devastation in the wake of the strongest earthquake ever recorded in the Caribbean basin region. Phrases like "very significant" are being used. It is probably safe to say that thousands are dead and presumably continuing to die in the absence of fast response, and tens of thousands are homeless.

The ground-shake in Port-au-Prince was intense. It's a city of some two million people who mostly live in flimsy housing without functional building codes. The Red Cross estimates that three million have been directly affected by the disaster. President René Preval and First Lady Elisabeth Debrosse Delatour are reported unharmed, though the National Palace collapsed. The UN mission has for the last four years been housed in the Hotel Christopher, which collapsed, with people trapped in the rubble. The head of the UN force was killed, as was the archbishop.

Everyone with friends and family in Haiti has had a sleepless night. Getting information is hard. Richard Morse's last tweet last night read, "when my batteries die I will no longer be able to communicate..it's going to be a long night..our prayers go out to everyone"

A worse problem than raising money is going to be the lack of organizational infrastructure with which to coordinate and distribute aid. How do you get drinking water to two million people? A number of people seem to be ready to go down as volunteers, as per the comments on redcrosschat.

No word yet of the situation of the Cuban doctors who are in Haiti on an ongoing basis.

The best composite source I've seen is the "The Lede" blog at the New York Times -- too long and too many widgets to copy into an e-mail -- with updated information about resources for information and contributions, as well as tweetlinks, pictures, video, etc.

There is a State Department number to call for information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747. I don't know how useful that will be.

To make an emergency donation to Oxfam, go here.

There is a site set up to collect information. It doesn't have a lot of material yet, but it reports that the P-au-P airport is functioning. On the other hand, CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that a helicopter he was in almost collided with a small plane -- that is, there is no functional air-traffic control.

There have been numerous aftershocks. An explanation of the tectonics underlying the quake is at scienceblogs.com.

Photographer daniel morel's twitpic blog, if you can bear to look at it, is here.

There's also a flickr feed.

For vodouisants, yesterday was Dantor's day, today is Papa Ogou.

Here are some articles, many of which have pictures at the original sites.

NYT, Miami Herald, AP, NPR, WaPo, Reliefweb, Prensa Latina


  1. U.S-based Friends of the Children of Haiti is providing relief to survivors via its medical clinic south of Port-au-Prince. Please help if you can — every dollar goes to treatment: http://www.fotcoh.org

  2. Money donated now generally doesn’t go to an existing crisis, it goes to the next one (at least that’s what I heard after 9/11). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing and you should still do it. If you can afford it you should set up a monthly donation system with the Red Cross. I set one up after the 2004 Tsunami and I don’t miss the money a bit.

    1. I was told by a former Red Cross volunteer that you can specify that your donation go to “disaster relief”. So even if the money you send doesn’t get to Haiti, specifically, it will get to the next place that experiences this kind of tragedy.

  3. I don’t see it mentioned but you can also donate to partners in health which has already been working in Hati.

  4. Also, Doctors Without Borders have a page set up for donations to help treat the injured in Haiti: doctorswithoutborders.org

  5. RE comment#2 – I don’t think that is exactly true. Red Cross has two general funds, International Response Fund and Disaster Relief Fund, that go towards relief efforts. If a donor makes a donation to these funds the Red Cross can use the money towards any relief effort. However, a donor may specify that his donation go towards a particular diasaster (such as the recent earthquake) and they must use the funds for that purpose.

  6. While I’m thinking about it, does any one know the answers to:

    1) How important blood donation is? I don’t have a real clear understanding of how donated blood gets around. Is there a need at all for Americans to donate? Even if it’s just to restock supplies while previously donated blood is being used in Haiti? Or does American blood not go there at all?

    2) Are there organizations accepting material donations? I’m thinking specifically of volunteer groups heading out that need to stock up on first aid supplies, food, batteries, clothing for refugees, whatever, before they go.

    3) On the subject of volunteering…please keep Boing Boing updated with the names/contact info of organizations that will be taking volunteers to Haiti to help rebuild in the coming months and, probably, even years. In this immediate chaos, I don’t know whether the Red Cross needs large numbers of untrained hands. But either way, this will be a situation that does need willing workers far into the future.

    1. “To date, there have been no requests for blood products from the government of Haiti. However, some patients at an affected facility in Haiti have been moved to a Guantanamo Bay hospital, and the Armed Services Blood Program has asked both the Red Cross and Florida Blood Services for support for those patients. In addition, the American Red Cross will be sending a shipment of blood products to the United Nations Mission in Haiti.”


      Based on this press release and the Red Cross website, there’s no indication that there are any drives being done specifically for earthquake victims. However since they are sending “blood products” (which my quick reading tells me that means platelets, plasma, etc. rather than straight blood – apparently they have a longer shelf life) perhaps this would be a good time to go down to donate some platelets. Anyway that is what I could find.

  7. With all the tragedy going on … people still have the time to run around and snap pics with their digicams and find a way to upload them, hoping to create the next big magazine cover … and to some point I understand that … vivid images make people care and at least donate.

  8. If you donate money to the Red Cross do NOT make ANY suggestion about what the money is for. Regulations require the Red Cross to keep donations made for specific efforts to be used only toward those efforts or to be held for years until it becomes accessible. Because it can take the RC so long to get around to processing the donations when they’re busy with disasters this often leads to the Red Cross sitting on huge piles of cash it cannot use which creates all kinds of financial havoc that hampers their work.

  9. Mercy Corps is deploying an emergency team to Haiti immediately. You can donate to their Haiti Earthquake fund here. Mercy Corps has a long history of helping earthquake survivors. They aided families after earthquakes in Peru in 2007, China and Pakistan in 2008, and Indonesia last year.

  10. I would also suggest Wyclef Jean’s Organization “Yele Haiti” is a good source. You can help by texting “YELE” to 501501 and $5 will be charged to your phone bill and will go towards the earthquake relief.

    Because Jean’s organizations are more granular in that they specifically cater to Haiti, contributions at this point will at least to go to the long term effort to hopefully help Haiti reach better standards prior this devastation.

  11. Here’s a post on Mashable that handily brings together a bunch of donation links, including 2 of those already mentioned:


  12. While your exact dollars may not make it to aid in Haiti, I’m fairly certain that they can see the amount donated and therefore increase their allotted budget for the current crisis accordingly. If no one donated, they couldn’t spend as much, since they’d be worried about keeping some in reserve for the next crisis. So it comes to the same thing: $50 donated means %50 more available to them in Haiti.

    I’ve donated to: Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Oxfam, and Partners in Health, all of which are good organizations and have people on the ground right now. Red Cross is another obvious choice.

  13. Kind of heard a report that Doctors w/o Borders lost three facilities in Haiti. They’ll make do – but they’ll really need $$$.

      1. Wow. As if I needed yet another example of how much “conservatives” hate everyone except their own ever-lovin’ ass. IMHO, it’s transference of self-loathing. Out of curiosity, did the junkie Rush say anything similarly cold-hearted after the big tsunami?

        Thanks to everyone that has provided links to worthy NGOs. I can’t donate much, but I’ll be splitting what I can afford among 3 or 4 of these groups. MSNBC has a compiling of NGO links at (I apologize in advance for my lack of HTML ninja skills):


  14. I’m Co-Director of EarthSpark International (www.earthsparkinternational.org), which works to provide access to clean energy technologies in Haiti. If you want to help, we recommend donating to the following organizations, several of which will use these funds immediately for relief assistance.

    The Red Cross
    The gold standard in delivering supplies and assistance to disaster victims.

    Partners in Health
    PIH sets the bar for delivering healthcare in Haiti. They are working to coordinate medical supplies during this crisis.

    The International Office of Migration (IOM)
    IOM works to bring peace to the slums of Port-au-Prince.

    This is Wyclef Jean’s organization, which has a multitude of programs rooted in the slums of Port-au-Prince.

    Concern Worldwide
    In Haiti, Concern implements educational, health and peace building projects.

    By providing access to clean energy technologies, EarthSpark can create a more resilient society.

    Our thoughts and love go out to the people in Haiti.

    EarthSpark International is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
    P.O. Box 381890 Cambridge, MA 02238

  15. I cannot think of a more unChristian man than Pat Robertson.
    What would Jesus do? Clean out Pat’s bank accounts and give it all to the Red Cross.

  16. RE: Blood Donations – Blood perishes very quickly, even when stored properly. I have no idea if supplies can be shipped safely and quickly enough from the US or countries nearer to Haiti, but blood is always needed.

  17. The Amateur Radio Relay League has a bulletin on the situation: http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2010/01/13/11288/?nc=1

    The ARRL has a free system to receive radio messages from disasters and pass them by phone or e-mail to their destination, and at least two radio amateurs are operating from Haiti now.

    A pocket-sized radio


    and a long wire antenna can transmit hundreds of miles on a 9v radio battery using Near Vertical Incidence Skywave antenna designs.

    Morse Code is superb at low power operations, which is why hams still use it.

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