Haiti in desperate need

At the MEP website, we posted on this more than a month ago (see More Than Sorry: Helping Haiti Rebuild of September 16), but the United Nations is still pleading with organisations and individuals globally to urgently assist with donations that enable relief and recovery efforts in storm-battered, poverty-afflicted Haiti.

I’m actually a little surprised that the response has been inadequate. Yet, not surprised at the same time. It seems people have almost given up on Haiti, and have stopped believing that even small gestures and donations will make a tangible difference in the survival of the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. At its gravest, it seems to be an impulse that derives from some Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest: perhaps the world is beginning, more and more, to feel that Haitians are not “fit” to survive. And that in itself is a humanitarian tragedy.

UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Haiti Joël Boutroue has explained that with Haiti’s already unstable condition before being ravaged by four successive storms, compounded now by global food, fuel and financial crises, the UN simply does not have the capacity to continue providing water, sanitation, and emergency shelter without further contributions. Haiti’s water system was completely destroyed by the storms.

“We are concerned because response has been generally OK to this date, but we do not have sufficient resources to continue food distribution at the required level. If we don’t deliver tangible results now, I frankly don’t know how they will survive,” Boutroue said at a press briefing at UN headquarters in New York. “Haiti is [also] totally deforested. There is no industry worth mentioning and there is very low [agricultural] productivity due to soil erosion. If we don’t invest in the short and medium term, we’ll have additional hardship, deepening poverty and we will enter a vicious circle of instability, unrest, insecurity.”

In our previous post, we mentioned Wyclef Jean’s charity, Yele Haiti, as a means of making a contribution*. Mobile phone company Digicel also allows their Caribbean customers to make a donation to the hurricane relief effort via SMS/text.

But Caribbean Beat contacted the United Nations directly, as very little information was available on their various websites about how one could make a contribution. We received a response indicating that contributions could be made through the TeleFood compaign, which promotes subsistence farming—though it is not specifically a hurricane relief account:

Please, find here below all the relevant details (GL 1152, FAS Site 42).
Bank:
Citibank N.A.
Angle Rues Armand Holly et Debussy
B.P. 1688, P-Au-P (Haiti)
SWIFT Code:
CITIHTP1
Account Number:
5 504 846 018

That is as far as we got with donating to the UN. Have any of you, our readers, made more headway on donating as individuals specifically to the Haiti relief effort? Meanwhile, some other ways to donate:

*Update (2016): some organisations like Yele Haiti are no longer considered to be good places to donate. Others have come on stream which are. For more, see Attillah’s post here.

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