On air: How you can help Haiti

When tragedy strikes, it’s human instinct to want to make it all better – in a flash.

In a country as vulnerable as Haiti, it doesn’t quite work like that. As aid pours in from across the world , a ruined infrastructure, overcrowded airport and no visible police force are some of the factors adding to Haiti’s nightmare. And time is running out.

Charities are under immense pressure to deliver in a nation without a government.  Is this fair? And who’s in charge? What fresh questions does the aid effort in Haiti bring up for you?

Aid agencies need more donations. But who do you trust with your money? This website has a few tips on how to donate safely.

Anger is mounting. The air and the ground are full of rotting corpses. For many aid is a no show. It’s only the weather that has worked in the favour of this rescue effort. Where should the aid effort go from here?

This evening World Have Your Say will be coming to you live from Little Haiti, Miami. We’ll try to speak to Haitians both inside the country and in the Diaspora. We sincerely hope they’ve managed to get in touch with their loved ones.

95 Responses to “On air: How you can help Haiti”

  1. 1 Turab Haider
    January 15, 2010 at 11:32

    Being a person of developing country we are not able to donate funds in term of Capital, So we contribute our part in raising the voice of Victomized people of Haiti(Latin America). . .Our keen sympathies are with them….ALLAH BLESS THEM.

  2. 2 Nigel
    January 15, 2010 at 11:54

    I listened to a Christian missionary in Haiti talking to his counterparts in the US on the ham radio day before yesterday and the thing he talked most about was how this might affect the Church’s goals for Haiti and the impact that failing to meet the goals would have on him personally when he got back home after his “tour of duty.” I heard nothing regarding the plight of the people there. By itself this is insignificant but if it is symptomatic of the wider view that the disaster in Haiti is an opportunty to score political points in front of the whole world or to leverage on the disaster to strenghten your Church’s position there, then it might explain why with all the knowledge, technology and information the aircraft that rushed in to be ‘first” are not able to get fuel to leave and are blocking more aid shipments from coming in.

  3. 3 Beenish Waheed
    January 15, 2010 at 12:00

    May Allah Pak bless them with great heart, courage and strong will power to pass through these circumstances….i personally raise voice through this site to help the Victomized people…..

  4. 4 Harry Webb
    January 15, 2010 at 12:02

    Why are the NGO personnel insiting upon accompanying their particular package of aid? Why isn’t the aid simply being parachuted in, direct to those who need it……….. now?

    • 5 TomK in Mpls
      January 15, 2010 at 19:18

      If a safe area was set up to drop to and then distribute, this could help. You will see very soon, some people will horde goods it they can. Some from fear, and some for greed. Believe it or not, goods can come in too fast. All aspects need to develop together. Police, roads and disposal are very important.

    • 6 harold philbin
      January 20, 2010 at 16:55

      Simple and dircect, but as usual today Harry, every thing has to have a signature and a paper receipt.

      But if the initial assistance had been to drop the first medical supplies, food and water directly where it was needed, it is probable that a lot more people would have been saved than has been by trying to get it delivered by road.

      In addition the needy would have got it before the thieves and rogues could get to it, and delivering it via another country may also be a big mistake.

  5. 7 M.Ashfaq Alvi
    January 15, 2010 at 12:07

    on the basis of humanity……….
    this is our duty…
    we stand with them in every trouble to help them…..
    God helps those who help themselves…..

  6. January 15, 2010 at 12:14

    in our opinion as a human being

    there is always a soft corner for victimize helpless addicted people…….
    so my aim is to help them throug prayers……

    • 9 Emerson
      January 15, 2010 at 20:11

      Addicted? These are victims of a horrific natural disaster. They range in age from infants to the elderly. They are beautiful members of the human family, not a poplulation of addicts. Perhaps you should save your prayers for yourself and the pompous others who deem themselves qualified to cast judgment on the innocent. You are NOT God; don’t let your ego distort your reality. Humble yourself, lest your prayers be of no effect, even in your own life. God bless the people of Haiti. Good people around the world love you and are trying to find ways to help you.

  7. 10 Rubab Musarrat
    January 15, 2010 at 12:16

    when i heard the disaster happened in HAITI, i feel sympathy for those poor people living in that particular part of world…after seeing that the aid could not reach yet,me worried a lot for those..i strongly appeal to the whole world to make sure that to provide funds as soon as possible….

  8. January 15, 2010 at 12:19

    government should take step to eliminate this disastours disease……..

  9. 12 Awasi Saleemi
    January 15, 2010 at 12:22

    99% of the problems can be solved only by just our Will Power…..dedicated to HATTI,S victomaized people…

  10. 13 steve
    January 15, 2010 at 13:03

    Today’s Washington Post’s front cover has a photograph of a destroyed school, with a male rescuer need the body of a dead school girl. It’s so depressing. I highly urge everyone here to donate whatever they can. There are even events in DC today such as bars that all the proceeds are going to the relief effort.

  11. 14 Frank in the USA
    January 15, 2010 at 13:26

    They’re angry? What??? They think they’re *entitled* to free money and aid and they get angry if we don’t cough up enough or it’s not fast enough for them? Is this a rescue effort or a shakedown? Is this a tragedy, or is it the survivors’ big lucky payday? What ever happened to thanks and gratitude? What’s happened to this world?

    • 15 Mark Gibbs
      January 15, 2010 at 15:46

      You’re kidding, right? The survivors are surrounded by destruction and the corpses of friends and family (now decomposing), the cries of buried victims are ceasing as days go by without any sign of aid and no way to rescue them… lack of basics prevent proper treatment of those who, so far, have survived, and there’s no way to feed or water them… communications are awful, they’ve no way of knowing what’s being done, they only know what they see – they’re traumatised, for Pete’s sake, and have nothing to be grateful for, as yet! Anger, frustration, grief are all natural… and you resent it? You actually refer to a ‘shakedown’, a ‘payday’? You don’t think that SIMPLE HUMAN DECENCY from those who can help is an entitlement, you prefer to think in terms of free money?

      What’s happened to the world, indeed… I have to wonder, when you seriously offer up such comments.

      • January 15, 2010 at 16:20

        @Mark you are absolutely right! Frank is obviously unaware that most of the people that are in the hardest hit areas don’t have any idea that the world is coming together to help them. They see journalists, not water food or medical provisions. They Don’t know what is happening. I was at the WHYS show in Ft Myers and had the blessing to be able to speak on air. After the show I was speaking with some of the Haitians in the audience, offering assistance from my organization, when a man filled with self-righteous indignation came up to the group of us in order to berate these women for the amount of money sent each year to Haiti from Canada. He also, didn’t get it. There is a time and a place for things like that, and now in the thick of the devastation, when so many are suffering is NOT it!! There will be time later for reflection and griping. How would either Frank, or this person at the show feel if the same thing was happening to their loved ones?

      • 17 TomK in Mpls
        January 15, 2010 at 19:21

        Mike, you unintentionally point out, that to some degree and in certain ways, the well intentioned press can be a problem.

    • 18 Emerson
      January 15, 2010 at 20:23

      Consider the origins of their condition. Learn their history and you’ll learn why America, France, Spain, and England all owe (yes, OWE) financial and other support to Haiti, not to mention all other former colonies. Further, in light of the disgraceful lack of responsiveness to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, America must redeem its image (as a racist nation) by providing the same kind of prompt assistance to Haiti that it would to any non-black country.

  12. 19 John
    January 15, 2010 at 13:54

    Why don’t they strip out some Jumbo jets and take the victims out to another country ? (US is only 200 miles away). They could erect even provisional hospitals in the US or whereever which would be a thousand times better than what they are left with in Haiti – and it could al be deployed far more easily away from the disaster.

  13. 20 dan
    January 15, 2010 at 14:02

    Haiti never had much of a Government and certainly little infrastructure.
    Recent years have seen special effort from the U.N. to change that but that hasn’t seemed to work out. I think they make for a good photo op but are useless.
    Absent Government, infrastructure and transportation facilities within the country a human tragedy of biblical proportions is in the offing.
    The United States has the wherewithal to be a First Responder with all the muscle and power to help provide immediate relief but is not omnipotent.
    Resources took prescious time to stage and move to Haiti and now have to deal with an inability to get aid directly to those in greatest need.
    As we pass the 72 hour mark, the death toll will certainly increase. Sadly there will be investigations and recriminations blaming the United States.
    God bless those countries, large and small, from all over the world who have pledged or provided resources but aside from Israel which has provided a great deal of aid, what have the oil rich countries of the Middle East done to alleviate the suffering in Haiti both immediate and future?

    January 15, 2010 at 14:06

    This disaster has not only collpased the physical infrastructure but even authority as well has not been spared. To make matters worse, it comes to a country that has been crawling out of political chaos. It is hard to organize peoeple in such situations. What we should all agree is that there is immense-irreversable-damage. As a result, it dawns on us that we cannot prepare for everything and politicking is out of question now. For the dead, certainly nothing much can be done appart from the usual business of getting rid of the bodies that may cause more hazzard.
    Aid is a short time remedy although it is critical at this time.
    It should be noted by the Haitians that the fallout from this catastrophy is not fully comprehended and the disaster will take more decades to repair. There is no room for anger or frustration because that will only reduce room for manouver. Whatever the case, people should use whatever it takes to survive; the future of Haiti will be built with the strong spirit of the survivors.

  15. 22 scmehta
    January 15, 2010 at 14:20

    Only the military troops, sent there to help, protect and maintain law & order, can manage that kind of quick and efficient coordination for the aid to reach and be distributed justifiably.

  16. 23 JanB
    January 15, 2010 at 14:28

    “Why are the NGO personnel insiting upon accompanying their particular package of aid? Why isn’t the aid simply being parachuted in, direct to those who need it……….. now?”

    Maybe because it would be seized by criminal gangs who keep it to themselves or sell it at high prices…

  17. 24 Colleen
    January 15, 2010 at 14:32

    There is massive aid trying to reach the peoples of Haiti. The US had plane after plane circling there yesterday but had to return to the US because of fear of running out of fuel.
    Many countries trying to provide aid have been in the exact same position.
    Security had to be formed first and sadly while the situation continues to worsen.
    They can not just drop food from the sky because ‘gangs’ and only the strong would have taken the food and if someone was to go up against them…they would be killed. Even those who did get the food would be hunted down and killed.
    Therefore it must be done right and in order or more death would follow an already horrid situation. I do hope that by today they have accomplished this.
    Please, oh please, let them start getting more aid by today.
    This could be any country..ANY…that these same acts of desperation for food and water would not have occurred in such a situation.
    Sadly they had no preparation at all for such a disaster…NONE.
    People from all over the world are giving and I hope continue to give. This is however the reasons why we are all so upset that it just does not seem fast enough. It is very obvious where to send money to help these people. I would suggest the Red Cross along with other long standing organizations.

  18. 25 piscator
    January 15, 2010 at 14:42

    Wouldn’t it be great, if, in this time of rapid transport and comms technology, that part of the armed forces of the various countries, could be deployed for in an international force to regional disaster response bases at key points in the World. A coordinated response could be mounted instantly to prearranged emergency airfields with heavy equipment permanently available. At the moment thee is always chaos for the first vital 48 hours. All armies have tons of vehicles, planes, tined food, blankets and tents, which they discard every year. They also have lots of time on their hands which they have to find tasks for the troops to fill. The countries would also learn cooperation, and be able to pass on training and rescue kit.

  19. 26 Linda from Italy
    January 15, 2010 at 14:53

    I get yet another whiff of blame game here. For heaven’s sake, most of the country is wrecked, just as many of the police/army as “ordinary” citizens are dead, injured or in shock, the UN mission was devastated so unfortunately it’s only to be expected that even flying in supplies immediately would still then come up against distribution problems because of the sheer impassability of roads.
    Having said that, I do wonder why more helicopters weren’t deployed, which can land on relatively rough terrain without all the paraphernalia ordinary aircraft need.
    I heard this morning that ships are arriving, sensible since this is an island, but there is still the problem of getting supplies from the port(s?) to the people.
    One other observation, I seem to remember hearing that there are large number of Cuban doctors already on site, there to help out these poor people even before the earthquake struck. Many of these doctors have apparently survived, although their hospital facilities have not, and they are hard at work doing everything they can however, now all we are hearing about is US aid – political agenda perhaps?

  20. 27 Monica in DC
    January 15, 2010 at 15:23

    Blame this, blame that… whatever. First and foremost HAS to be getting aid to the people. Donate! Donate! Donate!!

  21. 28 Henry Bolton
    January 15, 2010 at 15:35

    Dear sir/madam,

    I was deeply involved in the international response to the influx of refugees to Albania in 1999 as crisi management advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, as part of the OSCE Refugee Task Force to Albania. Although the cause of the problem is in this case very different, in Albania we faced very similar difficulties, in particular the situation regarding the Port Eu Prince airport appears remarkably similar. In the Albanian case lack of infrastructure and institutional capacity obstructed aid delivery. We created an Emergency Management Group in the PMs office which coordinated aid through working directly with diplomatic missions and international aid agenciesrepresentatives. Water, food and healthcare were urgent requirements. We diverted aircraft from the airport in Tirana to Bari and Brindisi in Italy (where infrastructure, fuel etc were available) and requested the assistance of the USS Inchon (US amphibious assault ship) whose heavy lift HH53 helicopters collected the aid and delivered it directly to where it was immediately required, locations identified and Helicopter Landing Sites established by 2 person OSCE teams deployed on the ground with communications and the authority to coordinate local leadership through OSCE communications and myself to the Deputy PM and the Emergency Management Group.

    In short, in the absence of a functioning government administration, whith almost no infrastructure, with 300,000 people appearing within one week, in desperate need of water, food and shelter and with the international community dispatching uncoordinated aid, we were able, within 4 days, to establish a comprehensive plan and methodology that overcame these obstacles. I hope fervently that some of those lessons, and those from elsewhere, are being applied in the present situation.

    Best regards,

    Henry Bolton

  22. 30 patti in cape coral
    January 15, 2010 at 15:40

    I heard on a news report this morning that an airplane trying to get surgeons, nurses, and other support staff to Haiti nearly collided with another aircraft and circled several times before finally having to land on another island, I think she called it Providence? There were other airplanes that were unable to land as well. Apparently there is a lot of aid and the problem is distribution and organization.

    • 31 pendkar
      January 15, 2010 at 18:18

      Have been reading up a bit about Haiti’s political troubles, and it is not as simple as ‘getting their act together’.

      There is an exploitative elite in the country, and when the people tried to have a government that would work for the masses, the elite scuttled the attempts, with the help of powerful forces in the neighbourhood. The common people are helpless because they face a powerful elite which is served by the local military and outsiders. So, it is not as simple as ‘getting their act together’.

  23. January 15, 2010 at 15:42

    We can help Haiti by leaving them to fend for themselves, to get their act together, to finally form some proper government.

    How generous the president usurper Obama wants to be with the American taxypayers’ money and send it to Haiti! What about the many Americans who are basically homeless now do to his hateful policies? Where’s his mercy for them? Charity begins at home.

    • 33 Gary Paudler
      January 15, 2010 at 16:38

      Hey David,
      The $100,000 that Obama pledged to help Haiti is approximately equal to what Israel receives in direct and military aid from the US – EVERY WEEK! Unlike Haiti,
      Israel has a functioning government and robust economy with modern infrastructure, shall we also leave Israel to fend for themselves and get their act together? Which Americans are basically homeless (what does “basically” homeless mean?) due to what hateful policies?

  24. January 15, 2010 at 15:51

    It is a monumental disaster,witin a few minutes the entire infrastructure was gone.Aid is getting there as fast as it is humanly possible.Aid agencies do not have airplanes sitting on the runway packed with aid,ready to go.There are also flight paths to worry about,we dont want other disasters at this time.As distressing as it is these things take time and careful planning.Let us give them that.Wish them speed not haste.

  25. 35 Jon
    January 15, 2010 at 15:55

    I’m rather appalled by the interviewer’s rash and rather aggressive suggestions this morning to aid workers that Haiti’s survivors are “understandably” turning to anger and disorder. The interviewed pressed the aid workers on the ground to agree with his alarming speculations from London even when they reported otherwise.

    This is a desperate situation in a nation with shaky public order in the first place. Speculation like this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Why not confine yourself to questions in your interviews and facts in your news reports? While it’s good to pose sharp and even challenging questions to responsible officials, the BBC has a regretable tendency to look for and even create conflict not in evidence from factual reports.

  26. 36 piscator
    January 15, 2010 at 15:57

    Linda, Donate what to who? I know everybody has this impulse to help, and it is good. Unfortunately, donations take time to reach the people concerned, and unless they are given to people actually on the ground, they tend to end up in controversy, and kind impulses are wasted. Remember previous disasters.

    Let the professionals sort it out, and the political aftermath. Then donate to the big charities with proven records. Your money may not go to Haiti, but it wont go down the drain. You you want do something for the suffering, go and find someone you know with a problem who needs you to spend time and love with them.

    January 15, 2010 at 16:05

    There is no need for blame game- whatever help will be welcome. As for the quality of houses, people will continue to build with whatever they can afford and the choises are stern and cold. What we need to acknowledge now is that the sate of affairs affecting many parts of the world including the developing world are not okay. The effects of Katrina on the gulf coast was a mind opener. Most are not financially empowered to get far from our home areas leave alone to get to Haiti. As if this is not enough, the victims will feel anger because of politics of empty promise at home and abroad – that needs to be kept aside whatever the cost.
    It is against that backdrop that I posit that the people of Haiti should be empowered to show more courage to endure and support each other. Many countries will do whatever they can with whatever tools they have to that end. I hope that the lessons learned will leave the people more informed on how to work for a future with at least minimal guarantees of self reliance.

  28. 40 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    January 15, 2010 at 16:29

    USS Carl Vinson has arrived today with 19 helicopters. If you were able to see the pictures from the destruction the port is completely destroyed. There are three ships with supplies waiting to be unloaded. I realize some injured people are running out of time but I don’t see how they can move any faster. The tiny airport only has one runway and that is causing major problems for the aid getting into the country. They are also now dealing with a shortage of fuel. Cuba has opened up its airport to air traffic dealing with getting people out for medical care. They are looking for ways to use the Dominican Republic to get things into Haiti by land from that side. But everything takes time. Unfortunately they have already reported from the WHO that their warehouse of supplies was robbed overnight. We need to get the military in there to handle distribution. I will continue to keep the Haiti people in my prayers.

  29. 41 Barbara
    January 15, 2010 at 16:36

    There is so much desperately tragic about the situation in Haiti. I do believe the world is trying to help, but the same problem that always occurs with big natural disasters is happening there, too. There is no organization–no infrastructure–ready to begin helping immediately. No one plans for such disasters before hand, simply because no one can predict where they will occur and, frankly, such plans and preparations take money few countries possess. I have often wondered if the concept of the hospital ships could be expanded, perhaps by sponsership of some of the world’s great philanthropists.

    My thought is to have several such ships based in strategic hot spots around the world. In times without crisis, the ship could sail around a designated area, allowing doctors, nurses, other health professionals, etc to help the poor of different countries with surgeries, education, and so on. Perhaps the ship might contain disaster relief supplies, cranes, helicopter, etc. and structural engineers and other disaster specialists be ready at a moment’s notice to join the crew of the ship. Then the ship would be dispatched quickly to the trouble area. This would be staffed at all times with medical professionals (maybe rotating personnel), who might see this as the medical mission it is.

    Expensive?? Absolutely. But if such ships could arrive more quickly to the disaster site ready to help, think how many lives would be saved.

  30. 42 T
    January 15, 2010 at 16:41

    While I hope that the aid that’s needed gets to people there, keep in mind the history of the States and Haiti.

    Invasions, occupations. Overthrowing former President Aristede. And now U.S. troops are back again.

  31. 43 Andrew in Australia
    January 15, 2010 at 16:42

    This is an interesting study and tends to exemplify what happens and people’s reactions. Speaking dispassionately, when a natural disaster occurs it shows the fragility of society and our civilisation. For our technology and sophistication, when faced with disaster on this scale a few things happen. Many expect despite so much infrastructure destroyed that emergency services will operate unaffected and that assistance will arrive immediately. It doesn’t. Our modern cities are not designed for this as once the supply chain and essentials gone we have nothing to sustain ourselves. And how can assistance from abroad arrive and set up and operate as quickly as demanded?

    Moreover the need to survive shows how quickly people and society in general degenerates. You can’t blame people, but when food and water are in short supply, mostly patience and help for others evaporates amongst the survivors and it is first come and fittest first. But it is the blind faith that help will come which leaves many people with false hope, as it does not always happen and if you do not act for yourself, you will perish. And the scale of some disasters are just too much in many instances we have seen. So what to do, sit around and wait maybe for no help or forget convention and look out for yourself only?

  32. 44 Linda
    January 15, 2010 at 16:47

    Where is everybody ?? i have never seen anything like this !!

    These poor people have been left to fend for themselves for 3 days in these unbelievable conditions .. i really cant believe Aid has not got to them yet

    Thet keep saying its there but they cant get it through .. C’mon where theres a will theres a way !! get the ships in there
    They are aslo saying they want to distribute Aid but there might be problems with looting etc ,, well my answer to that is the longer u leave it .. the worst it will get & in the meantime more people are dying every minute for GODS SAKE !!!

    The disease arte will start to rise killing more & more
    To the do gooders that like to make a show of adopting a baby from Africa .. this is your time to step up & do something … give big money quickly u can afford it !!

    It seems that they are waiting for donations from everyone before they can bring the supplies .. is the world in such a mess ???

    Following the Haiti devastation … is like watching the FORGOTTEN PEOPLE

  33. 45 Andrew in Australia
    January 15, 2010 at 16:49

    I hate to rain on the donate donate donate parade, but sooo much money was donated to tsunami relief and a lot of that went to corruption, to organisations themselves and many people received little to nothing. So in the rush to donate to disaster relief history has shown that it wont always get to where it is supposed to.

  34. 46 dan
    January 15, 2010 at 16:50

    Salvation Army
    American Red Cross
    Save the children
    Catholic Charities

    Need more?????

  35. 47 robin rattansingh
    January 15, 2010 at 16:52

    I Know by the unwavering support promised through the global community for haiti, there is no doubt that extensive relieve has arrived in the land and sea ports but getting past the immense carnage left behind is definitly a great challenge What this consequently means is that victims(living) that are trapped under rubble or some sorts would know have to battle with the existing elements,the stench,hunger and desolation.Regrettably these survivors will perish in large numbers i fear for the final fatalities satistics.

  36. 48 Gary Paudler
    January 15, 2010 at 16:54

    Yesterday on the BBC Jan Egeland, former United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, said that a disaster area like Haiti was no place for amateurs who could be expected to inadvertently obstruct the work of disaster-relief professionals. I trust him and know that he’s right, but I also know that there are resourceful and skilled individuals with no affiliation to established relief organizations who could be there now helping in a million ways large and small. I can build almost anything, operate equipment, cut steel, lift concrete, repair medical equipment, purify water, etc. and there are many people like me, but any organization would be justified in resisting my urge to go and help. One out of five working-age males is unemployed in the US, is that not a pool from which skilled help could be drawn? Should we begin to think about organizing for the next catastrophe?

  37. 49 Frances Jin, Singapore
    January 15, 2010 at 16:55

    Sending aid items will definitely help, but right now, isn’t the immediate crisis on hand ways to get those people injured and trapped out of the rumble and mess? So why are we flooding the country with aids, causing jams in airport and on roads, and not sending more personnel right to the sites to get those people out? We are fighting against time now, I hope there would be more on-site participation.

  38. 50 gary
    January 15, 2010 at 17:13

    Re: What fresh questions does the aid effort in Haiti bring up for you?
    Well, the fact that a significant aid effort is underway is encouraging. But, each new such disaster refreshes my concerns that in this era of rapid communications and significant technologies, we ought to be doing much better than we are. Humanity itself is its only useful product, yet more than two dozen millennia after looking and acting much as we do today and more the than two millennia after some Greeks personified forethought in Prometheus’ name , we still do a very poor job of it. Significant percentages of the GNP’s of most nation-states are directed toward mechanisms to project destructive force and yet so little is directed toward laying-up the simple supplies and mechanisms needed to help folks suffering from natural disasters. Providing food and shelter for the living, while helping to bury and grieve for their deceased loved ones isn’t, as they say, rocket science. Thank you very much if you are trying to help. For the rest of you, please follow their example.

  39. January 15, 2010 at 17:23

    While our hearts bleed for those suffering in Haiti, we should realise that everything is being done to send aid as soon as possible. One needs to consider the mammoth logistics involved. The United States, France, the European Union, the United Nations, the Red Cross; just to give some examples of important players; have been rushing supplies in a coordinated fashion to alleviate the suffering. World leaders are bending themselves backwards to get the message across that Haiti needs urgent relief supplies and that the humanitarian situation is so very dire. So it is important not to engage in a slanging match of name calling especially as there is a global outpouring of sympathy. The Haitians have to realise that the world community stands shoulder to shoulder with them in their plight and darkest hour.

  40. 52 Alan in Arizona
    January 15, 2010 at 17:38

    Please give, even a little something to the Red Cross or another reputable organization. They are the best to deal with this type of problem. Less politics and more help!

  41. January 15, 2010 at 17:41

    Hi their! This jonah from kenya.
    I would like to send my condolences to all people of Haiti who have lost their loved ones. These people deserve humanitarian support from goverments all round the world.The U.S has shown us the best example, other democrasies should do so.

  42. 54 dan
    January 15, 2010 at 17:47

    Fear to donate because a few dollars will be misdirected or saying that the haitians should be left to fend for themselves to me is a complete denial of reality.
    We are saving the Haitians because they are human beings, they are in dire need, there is no one else able to do it and it is what we do to help our fellow man, it is the very basis of civilization.
    Certainly at some point the Haitians will get enough help to get to a level to chart their own course and help themselves but denying them aid at this moment in time because you are afraid where your money will go or because you hate Obama (who doesn’t?) does NOTHING for the Haitians or who we are as civilized people and how we built our civilization.

    Yet in a further act of stupidity and demonstration of ignorance Hollywood actor Danny Glover has decided that the catastrophe in Haiti is because of Global Warming. I stubbed my toe, was that because of Global warming? My electric bill to heat my house this winter is 39% higher because of Global WARMING.
    These Hollywood idiots should go back to playacting and let the adults run the world.

    January 15, 2010 at 17:56

    At first all we heard was the word Haiti. The truth about that ring now is that it is no longer that small island nation. It has touched everyone now. There so many nationalities living and working there without their compatriots knowing that such was the case. For those who would doubt this, as more and more news surface, you get to hear that some of your countrymen are there. What does this teach me? It is wrong to draw hasty conclusions when breaking news surface.
    Everyone now is confirmed to have been there, Britons, Canadians (over 1200 yet to be rescued), US citizens, Chinese, Africans etc – its no longer a case of ‘us’ and ‘them’. We are all in it. I hope that all these nationalities support each other as everyone rushes back to their home country. The Haitians will be left in a more vulnereable conditions – consider them too.

  44. 56 Billy Wachakana in Kenya
    January 15, 2010 at 17:57

    I thank the US, UN, and the red cross for all the support they hav given to the Haitians. other countries whether developed or not should follow suit. this is a humanitarian situation and there is no need for useless politics. humans are just humans and should be able to help regardless of their racial backgrounds.

  45. 57 Malc Dow
    January 15, 2010 at 18:04

    It’s all so hypocritical.
    For decades, 10’s of decades, Haiti has been ignored, the people have suffered, nobody has given any care to that country. On the contrary, there seems to have been a systematic running down of the place.
    Now everyone is being asked to ‘help’!
    Well whatever the aid may be it will be too little and too late.

  46. 58 sophia from washington
    January 15, 2010 at 18:20

    My prayers go out to the Haitian people. We as a world witness acts of God such as the earthquake that has devastated Haiti. We will continue to do so. We rely on communications to alert us of such disasters. The U.S. has responded generously and I do not believe that it was politically motivated. I do know that it nearly impossible for Doctors to get into the airport in Haiti as well as supplies. I know that the situation will become even more desperate as time passes. I would hope that a military presence such as the National Guard could set up shelter and First Aid / Hospital Treatment Centers and establish a distribution center for food and water, tents,etc. Heavy equipment must be brought in along with scent dogs to search for the missing and buried. It is not uncommon to find people alive even several days after a quake! Miracles do happen! We as a world do feel the pain of our Haitian neighbors. We would not be human if we didn’t.

  47. 59 stephen/portland
    January 15, 2010 at 18:21

    I want to know where is the Dominican Republic in all of this!

    They have large Airport at Herrera Int that has a (4000ft) runway or an ILS runway at Jose F Gomez int (7000 ft) so why not use their country as the Base to supply aid?

    At least for the air drops.

  48. 60 Frank in the USA
    January 15, 2010 at 18:34

    @ Mark Gibbs and mikehowardswfl

    Neither of you gentlemen seem to understand. The third world has come to rely, expect and demand bailout and rescue from the rest of the world. As a result, you get a country like Haiti, where acceptance of shoddy construction, lax building codes, and corruption in enforcement, results in conditions that place the populace in mortal danger.

    The same force earthquake hit Califonia in 1989, and while there was much structural damage, it was nothing like what we’re seeing in Haiti where building after building has pancaked on top of their human inhabitants resulting in massive loss of life. It’s incredible and it was all preventable.

    The third world needs to realize that while the rest of us will come to help them in an emergency, they need to start fulfilling their responsibility to pull themselves out of the sewer and cease being third-world nations. They need to work harder to raise their standard of living and do their part to keep themselves safe. Haiti has been caught with it’s pants down. While natural catastrophes are not preventable, the bulk of what we are seeing in Haiti is a man-made catastrophe that could have, and should have been prevented.

    • 61 Mark Gibbs
      January 15, 2010 at 19:27

      What I understand is what you SAID, and it bears little resemblance to your subsequent attempt at self-justification… you spoke of their anger, lucky payouts… yes, you used ‘lucky’ in connection with this disaster. To make the changes you now speak of will take decades, imagine the time and work involved in upgrading all buildings, and the expense – spare me tales of how California managed, it’s part of the ‘greatest’ country on Earth, of course it fared better. So your post hardly seems appropriate in the midst of the current crisis, nor does lamenting what has become of the world!

  49. 62 Mehwish Aziz
    January 15, 2010 at 18:51

    as human being,i pray that allah bless them nd strong will power to bear these circumstance.

  50. 63 Tom in the U.S.A.
    January 15, 2010 at 18:52

    Here a link from the American Institute of Philanthropy that lists ways for individuals to get aid to Haiti fast. The organizations listed have be scrutinized and graded for efficiency and reliability.


  51. 64 Charley in Portland, Oregon
    January 15, 2010 at 19:14

    I suggest that relief efforts be expedited by using helicopters & parachute air-drops along with medics to provide aid & soldiers for orderly distribution.

    • 65 pendkar
      January 16, 2010 at 03:40

      Yes, that is what I would like to know, too. The TV footage is mostly of the cities. It shows collapsed concrete structures. From the little bit of exploration I did, it appears that Haiti’s rural areas may not such houses. Wood and mud structures may be. Much lighter structures than concrete. So, is the number of fatalities less in the rural areas?

  52. 66 Shannon in Ohio
    January 15, 2010 at 19:19

    I have a few questions:

    What about people in more rural areas? Have they been hit as hard as the people in Port au Prince?

    What sort of plans do aid agencies have in place to distribute supplies outside of large urban areas? City dwellers are walking out of Port au Prince, but aren’t people from the countryside headed into the city in hopes of finding food and medical care?

  53. January 15, 2010 at 19:21

    Get your hands in your pockets.If some of it goes astray that is not your fault,you will have done your bit in this hour of need.We can blog on corruption at a latter date,the time is not now!

  54. January 15, 2010 at 19:39

    @Frank In The USA

    Sure, but each country has it’s own context which needs to be considered when judging them.

    Haiti has had a particularly rough time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttqexOlqhWM

    • 69 Bert
      January 16, 2010 at 23:24

      Also important to take into account the agenda of news sources, such as the one you used, and instead of accepting what they say at face value, look at the broader perspective, when considering “context.”

      The broader perspective being, look beyond the colonial period of a couple of centuries ago as the foundation, the prime reason, for all that followed.

      Obviously, the main focus now has to be rescue. But to think that this massive rescue operation will change everything in the future of Haiti is unrealistic. Just as unrealistic as those who thought that the Beijing Olympics were somehow going to change China. Barring recolonization, change can only comes from within the culture.

  55. 70 JanB
    January 15, 2010 at 19:49

    The fact of the matter is that Haiti has little to no infrastructure to facilitate the distribution of aid. Even before the earthquake Haiti relied on Brazilian troops to police the streets. Making it hard to offload ships and guarantee the safety of truck convoys.

    Airdrops are of course out of the question because there are a lot of armed gangs on Haiti.

    The only thing that will work from now is sending armed convoys with supply trucks from Haitian and Dominican harbors as well as military helicopters which would have to come from American or French aircraft carriers and Dominican airfields.
    Helicopters have limited capacities and for now truck convoys will have to be limited too while foreign troops are arriving in since Haiti itself doesn’t have much of a military or police and the men in it are not to be trusted with valuable supplies.

    And yeah, partly this disaster is Haiti’s own fault. They knew they were living on a fault line and they get to endure hurricanes every year. Still they choose to quarrel among themselves with a coup or a civil war every couple of years instead of introducing building codes and declaring war on corruption and lawlesness.

    I assure you: within 10 years we’ll see crying Haitians on the news again, be it because of an earthquake, a hurricane or a civil war. It’s like they are proud to be the poorest country in the Western hemisphere…

  56. 71 JanB
    January 15, 2010 at 19:52

    “What about people in more rural areas? Have they been hit as hard as the people in Port au Prince?”

    Probably not, they live in shacks made out of wood, mud with roofs made out of corrugated iron plates, pretty safe during an earthquake. The only problem they might have is a lack of supplies from the city.

  57. 72 Tom
    January 15, 2010 at 20:06

    I feel real bad for the Haitians. What I do want to know is why we ( The United States) need to send 500 million to them. This is a catastrophy what has happened over there. But, we have hungry kids and schools in need of help and we are broke. We should send aid workers, supplies and medicine. i agree with that but an out right 500 million seems excessive when we are in such debt already. Who came to our aid after Katrina? who is helping our airlines after we spent millions to bail out railrods in europe.

    Tom from Oregon

  58. 73 James
    January 15, 2010 at 21:30

    Posted on my facebook account: HEADLINE IN LOCAL PAPER: “Obama pledges full support to Haitian president” I’d feel better about the President and all the rest of us, if we had been doing all that is humanly possible to help Haitians before the earthquake! That would have gotten us for more capital in the rest of the world! Might have even swayed one less person to become a terrorist against us!!!! Think about it!!

  59. 74 Frank in the USA
    January 15, 2010 at 21:57

    @Mark Gibbs

    Let me connect the dots for you: victims’ anger at failure of international aid to meet their expectations is the result of an expectation that one can live in poverty forever and rely on others to assist them whenever disaster strikes, which in Haiti’s case is apparently several times a year.

    I’m sorry you feel the concept of self-reliance is currently inappropriate, but really, it is not only appropriate, it is long overdue, as evidenced by the extent of the current catastrophe.

    Merely throwing money at people every time disaster strikes only results in them getting angry the next time it is not fast enough or large enough. Would you care for an example?

  60. 75 scmehta
    January 16, 2010 at 14:10

    After the rescue efforts and distribution of the required urgent aid; and from there and then on, all out/immediate steps must be taken to establish a temporary infrastructure for cleanliness, heigine & sanitation/health-care and potable water.

  61. 76 Linda
    January 16, 2010 at 20:33

    I am shocked & stunned by what i am still seeing on the news in Haiti

    OMG… this is too much ! just seen the speech from Obama / Bush & Clinton
    they look like 3 nodding dogs, Bush says he would like to thank Obama for the SWIFT RESPONCE on this matter … WHAT ???
    Swift i would say anything but .. i think Obama has pulled them in because he doesnt know what to do or maybe Clinton made him step up .. i really dont know .. but its all made me feel really sick .. and you can bet your life Obama will try to take all the glory at a later date when they have recieved everyones donations from all around the world & then say Oh America bailed u out … well sorry we all know different Obama .. all u did was talk !!!!! & in the mean time more people are dying

    There is only 1 HERO there & its Dr Gupta .. he has stayed there alone & been totally committed to saving lives regardless of his own safety .. Obama had to pull his buddies in to help him out on what to say in his speech, not proving to be much of a president is he

  62. 77 GTR5
    January 16, 2010 at 22:20

    Frank is right in his comments. Haiti has been free and independent for over 200 years and this is the best they can do in 200 years. All they care about is sponging off the US taxpayers, making babies and voodoo and they are to blame for their lack of progress for the past 200 years. Yes, they now need help in this disaster but there are 190 other countries that needs to step up and offer assistance. Knowing Haiti I am sure the thugs and crooks will make out just fine with all the donations. Then it will be back to their normal life for the Haitians.

  63. 78 Faisal Yaqoob
    January 17, 2010 at 06:59

    No one needs your old shoes and clothes, but these can be helpful in Haiti…………

  64. 79 decora
    January 17, 2010 at 08:35

    i wonder how many of you people would be saying the same thing if it were a terrorist attack instead of a natural disaster. example:

    “You will see very soon, some people will horde goods it they can. Some from fear, and some for greed. Believe it or not, goods can come in too fast. ”

    Imagine someone saying that about 9/11. No bucket brigades, no people passing out bottled water, everyone just waiting around until everything is coordinated. What a bunch of nonsense.

    Where has our money gone in terrorism prep? If it takes a week to get people water in Haiti… and New Orleans before…. what about if a bomb blew up Los Angeles or Miami? Would those people just get left too? Where has our trillions of dollars of terrorism preparedness gone? Why aren’t the governments better prepared?

  65. 80 Colin Sundaram
    January 17, 2010 at 08:45

    17. 01. 2010

    Dear Sheetal,

    I’m deeply saddened by the catastrophe and more than that I’m ashamed to hear that machete wielding Haitians are all over Haiti looting! Do we carry genes from vultures and scavengers of the wild? Will it be the same any where else too in situations like these? Did it happen in Sichuawan Province of China in 2008?

    In my truest opinion aid offered by other nations is too little. In a matter of few days, let alone few weeks or months Haiti will be forgotton by all. It should not happen. Haiti is already an impoverished country and with the impact of this cataclysm the poor human beings of Haiti will undergo all forms/types of suffering from death from hunger, prostitution among the young children of both sexes let alone women, drug abuse, lawlessness and what not!

    The U N should urge its members to donate generously towards Haiti reconstruction fund and workout a solid and strategic plan to help the down-trodden human beings to recover to restitch their riven lives by providing them funds for rebuilding their homes and finding them employment to sustain. A few hundred or thousand dollars given in their hands will not help them come out of this grave tragedy. Some of them will never be able to live normal life because of the emotional trauma inflicted on their minds due to loss of their kin. They need counselling for long periods to get back on track.

  66. 81 Clare
    January 17, 2010 at 09:37

    JP Morgan investment bankers earned $9.3bn in pay and bonuses.

    ‘Ordinary people’ sending what they can afford via the internet and texts to provide more aid for Haiti.

    Something wrong there.

  67. January 17, 2010 at 09:42

    may Allah save them and bless them

  68. January 17, 2010 at 13:11

    Frank, GTR5 and company obviously have no idea of the role that the USA and other first world countries have played in making Haiti so poor.

    And speaking as someone in and from a so called ‘3rd world country’, not every one in the world wants to go live in the USA or wants anything from the USA. You need to get over yourself and this idea you have that that the rest of the world all envy you and want to be like and with you.

  69. January 17, 2010 at 14:09

    @GTR5 – comments like that make me wonder where the Americans would be if they had to pay 22 billion US dollars (what the Haitians had to pay France in compensation) for every 27,000 square kilometres (size of Haiti) they took from the European colonial powers.

    I wonder where the Americans would be if they were forced to expose their farmers to subsidised grain from foreign countries, as Bill Clinton insisted on in exchange for supporting the elected president of Haiti’s return to power after a coup which some say was CIA orchestrated.

  70. 85 Arsalan
    January 17, 2010 at 20:12

    Haiti remains the least-developed country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest in the world.We all know that Haiti falling behind other low-income developing countries (particularly in the hemisphere) since the 1980s and to cap it all, this disaster is there…
    They need more help than we can ever imagine.Just by sending Love,Good wishes and Light to Haiti,you might be doing the least at this point in time.
    If you’re considering doing your part, that’s great.This is all they need. But my appeal to international community is that whatever you do, don’t donate anything but money. Under no circumstances should you mail care packages, toys, food or clothes. Don’t even think about sending “drugs”. The response to prior disasters shows that regardless of your intentions, you will only be making matters worse.
    That’s what happened in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami

  71. 86 Saira Kaneez
    January 17, 2010 at 21:48

    Catastrophes come uninformed and may come anywhere, victims could be anybody or any nation. It is our prime responsibility as a human to stand with the people of HAITI at this time of need. Apart from prayers we should also do some concrete actions as actions speak louder than words. Every individual/community should contribute for the rehabilitation by pooling up funds at ones/their own capacity. Remember! GREATNESS IS NOTHING BUT MANY SMALL LITTLES.

  72. 87 amos (NIGERIA)
    January 17, 2010 at 22:28

    Its time again for the world to stand up. According to Clinton, it is perverse for anyone to bring in Political undertone to the crisis in Haiti. In times of crisis like this, let America stand United, as ever and help coordinate this Relief effort of various countries and bring succor to the resilient people of Haiti.

  73. 88 salmana
    January 18, 2010 at 06:57

    we should pray for the victims of HATTI.

  74. 89 Mohsin Afzal
    January 18, 2010 at 07:15

    Why are the NGO personnel insiting upon accompanying their particular package of aid? Why isn’t the aid simply being parachuted in, direct to those who need it……….. now?

    January 18, 2010 at 13:54

    we can only prey to God for those poor people

  76. 91 JW
    January 18, 2010 at 14:53

    We have be watching and listening via the BBC with increasing disbelief at the prolonged agony of the victims of the earthquake as immediate aid, food, water and medical help is being flown in but apparently not distributed.

    What is going on?

    Is it the fault of the Americans who following their failure after Katrina and the lack of civil society support following the invasion of Iraq only increased desparation.

    They seem to think this is some 5 year plan and cant distribute anythin until there is a 5 lan highway with rest stops.

    Surely it cant be beyond the wit of planners and aid agencies to mobolise appropriate transport for the situation and GET

  77. 92 JW
    January 18, 2010 at 19:08

    Thanks for posting my first message but in fact it is incomplete.

    Could you delete it and instead post the second message I sent which is longer but makes more sense (and the spelling is better).

    Many thanks

  78. 93 JanB
    January 18, 2010 at 19:08

    “Why are the NGO personnel insiting upon accompanying their particular package of aid? Why isn’t the aid simply being parachuted in, direct to those who need it……….. now?”

    As explained before: there are armed gangs who would steal the supplies from the people who really need them.
    Even if no gangs were around mobs would storm the supplies. Which would only lead to people getting trampled, while eventually only the strong would get their share.

    • 94 harold philbin
      January 20, 2010 at 17:30

      Not quite right, a some of the supplies will go to thieves rogues and vagabonds no matter how the system works,

      But if the parachute drop is carefully chosen and the supplies are in small parcels scattered over a large area, most of it will be gathered by the majority who are the chosen target, some of it will be lost, but not as much as it will be when it is delivered in bulk to one single area, this could have, should have been done days ago.

      Cast minds back a few years and it can be seen that it has all been done before and even armed guards could not guarantee safe delivery.

  79. January 19, 2010 at 07:36

    while our hearts are bleeding for those who are suffering in haiti.. we should raise voice for them through prayers and aid..we can feel their troubles because in 2007 the same condion was in pakistan..may allah help them to face this big disaster

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