Friday’s telethon for disaster relief in Haiti raised $58 million dollars as of Saturday, according to organizers, who say that they haven’t counted all the donations yet. The total also doesn’t include money from iTunes sales of the concert ($2.99, by the way, and totally worth it), corporate donations, or large donations from private donors.
And just in time, the UN has called an emergency summit for tomorrow to figure out how to coordinate disaster relief, which has been a bit of a problem so far. The delay in getting aid to survivors is making some bad things happen.
The Haitian government has called off the search for survivors (the UN and international rescue teams are still looking). Various arms of the government are estimating between one and three hundred thousand deaths and more than six hundred thousand left homeless in the Port-au-Prince area.
The people of Haiti, most of them, don’t have a great deal to begin with, and now many of them have nothing. Only two-thirds of the refugee camps have received food so far. Doctors at the main public hospital are saying that up to two hundred thousand haitians will have at least one limb amputated. The bodies haven’t been cleared away yet.
And predictably, when that many people are hungry and frightened and powerless to take care of their families, things are starting to get violent. There have been riots and looting over the weekend, and tear gas and warning shots fired. Ray Kelly has just signed on for the NYPD to provide training to the haitian police.
But what they mostly need is to be less hungry and less frightened and less powerless to take care of their families, and that means material help, which is most likely to get to them from us. A list from USAID of places to donate is here, or maybe just don’t get that one short latte and download the video.
Which is, I think I said, totally worth it.