In Haiti, rescue workers are scrambling to save lives in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused widespread devastation in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. As aid agencies work within the critical 48-hour window to provide medical attention and to find survivors trapped in the rubble, the death toll estimates at this point are ranging widely. The Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN that deaths could number in the hundreds of thousands, and the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared a "major humanitarian emergency." According to the secretary general's statement, the U.N. headquarters in Haiti was destroyed in the quake, and many of its staff remain unaccounted for.
As today's sun rose on scenes of utter destruction in Port-au-Prince, the terrible reality of this humanitarian disaster became more clear. How can you help? Medical relief organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, International Medical Corps, Partners in Health, and Direct Relief International are among the many responding directly to the crisis. CNN and MSNBC have expanded lists of organizations providing relief on the ground. The U.S. State Department suggests that "for those interested in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill." Musician Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund is also taking donations for the earthquake relief operation. Finally, if you are interested in volunteering firsthand in Haiti, check out Idealist.org's article on disaster relief volunteering to learn more. We encourage you to add more suggestions to the comment section! Haiti needs our help.