Haiti earthquake: How to help


The devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the southwest of Haiti has so far resulted in the loss of close to 2,000 lives. Haitian officials have continued to search for survivors with a further 9,900 people having been injured as a result of the quake. Thousands of people have already been displaced, and the earthquakes are said to have caused landslides, prompting humanitarian organisations and mobilise to offer emergency support.

“We need the funding on the ground. It's essential so that we can respond to the need, in the midst of all the emergencies that we just described, so that we can really make an impact on the ground and get people out of suffering."

Margarett Lubin, Haiti country representative from CORE speaking to NPR

How to help Haiti: Organisations to support

The first thing to note is that many of the international organisations you are likely to be more familiar with, such as UNICEF, will have already moved to assist relief efforts in Haiti. However, as you may already be aware, people are concerned about potentially falling for efforts that fail to actively support those on the ground, an issue best illustrated by the sickening Red Cross fiasco following the 2010 earthquake.

This is why now more than ever the emphasis must be placed on organisations that will support Haitians following this disaster. 

1. Haiti Communitere

Based in Clercine, Haiti Communitere is a small organisation that primarily offers accommodation for kids who need to go to hospital and their families, and also act as a community resource centre for other small organizations. During this period, they are working to provide accommodation to the families of people who have been injured as a result of the earthquake. Read more about Haiti Communitere here.

2. Zanmi Lasante 

Zanmi Lasante operates as the sister organisation to Partners in health and was founded in the early 1980s to respond to rural community needs in Cange. Its presence has grown and it is now one of the largest non-governmental healthcare providers in the country. They have stated that their immediate response effort has included the emergency mobilization of hundreds of staff with a particular focus on the prevention of water-borne illnesses like cholera. Read more about Zanmi Lasante here.

3. Health Equity International

Another group to consider supporting is Health Equity International (formerly St Boniface Foundation). Situated in Fonds des Blancs, St Boniface Hospital was founded in 1983 but it is currently overseen by Health Equity International. They provide health services which support people across Haiti's Southern Peninsula. Following the earthquake, they have said that St Boniface Hospital has not sustained "significant damage" and that they are currently providing emergency care for survivors. Read more about Health Equity Internation here

It should be stressed that it is always better if you can give directly to those in need. If you know of any other relief efforts or charity groups that should be considered message OBV via Twitter. If you're looking to verify other organisations to support in the future, consult Charity Navigator or GiveWell.

Mayowa Ayodele