A week has passed since a massive 7.0 earthquake rocked the unprepared, economically adverse third-world country of Haiti, leaving it in total ruins. With the predicted death toll greater than 200,000 and over two million survivors squatting unoccupied land, fashioning shanty towns, and resorting to street slumber, it is hard to find a glimmer of hope amidst this unfathomable tragedy. But hope is out there and relief efforts have begun.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy released a statement Monday that the U.S. alone has contributed over $210 million to the Haiti relief efforts and optimistically expects a great deal more. Stacy Palmer, an editor for Chronicle of Philanthropy, estimates about half of these donations were made online.
In the past decade, the Internet has emerged as a blessing throughout the aftermath of disasters such as 9/11, the tsunami in Asia, and hurricane Katrina. It has connected people with the latest news, online donation tools, a means for person tracking, and generally promoted overall good.
If this past week is any indication, the Internet looks to be shining once more during the wake of the Haitian earthquake, and will likely continue for quite some time. Let's take a look at how the Internet contributed to the past week's recovery efforts and discover how you can become involved.
As mentioned above, about half of the $210 million donated by the U.S. has been via the Internet. This figure holds steady for the American Red Cross who has received over $100 million of donations, with over two-thirds from online contributors.
The Internet is also making it easier for smaller charities to receive major resources from online donors. These charities are the ones who will continue the Haitian rebuilding efforts further down the road, during the rebuilding process.
"'That's the fastest way of getting money in,'" Stacy Palmer said. "'And most people feel comfortable giving online at this point.'"
Social media efforts have played an important role during this past week's collection efforts. Status updates from Haitian onlookers captivated our attention and gave us a "see the world through their eyes" glimpse into the destruction.
Facebooking and Re-tweeting text message donation campaigns for Feed the Children, Yele Haiti, World Land Trust, and the American Red Cross caught fire, which contributed to over $21 million in text message donations alone.
Social media regulars also witnessed the promotion of altruistic tendencies among fellow peers. Inspirational words, donation links, and an overall sense of respect for those who have been, or know someone who has been affected by the tragedy was the norm.
Paying homage to their "Don't be evil" corporate lifestyle, Google has created a Crisis Response page to assist those who need help or want to help. This page offers recent news, post earthquake satellite imagery, popular links to charitable organizations accepting online and text message donations, and a centralized database to help those track loved ones involved with the disaster.
The centralized database contains over 30,000 records and has a search option for those looking for someone as well as an option to add information about someone.
Google is also contributing $1 million to the Haitian relief efforts.
How You Can Help
There are a vast amount of resources for those who want to donate, volunteer, or give their time to the Haitian relief efforts. To discover how you can best become involved, please explore the following links:
Top 10 Non-Profit Organizations - http://www.haitiearthquakemagazine.com/top10
Top 100 Non-Profit Organizations - http://www.haitiearthquakemagazine.com/top100
American Red Cross - http://www.redcross.org/en/
Clinton Bush Haiti Fund - https://re.clintonbushhaitifund.org
Save the Children - http://www.savethechildren.org/
UNICEF - http://www.unicef.org/