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Catastrophic Earthquake in Haiti: Some resources and information

By now, most readers know of the catastrophic earthquake (link to BBC News Service) that hit the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. Relief efforts are already on the way, and they do need help from folks in terms of donations. Here are some resources that may be of interest: Local and regional bloggers have been providing accounts as have local people using Twitter. You can get a sampling of that coverage via Global Voices, which offers a post on: If you choose to make a monetary donation, please do so to a reputable organization like the Red Cross, OXFAM, and MSF. These are just some examples. For more ideas, Forbes has an article on "How to Make Sure Your Donation Helps Haitian Earthquake Victims" that includes a list of charities you can contact. InterAction, a coalition of US-based international non-governmental organizations (NGOs),  also has a list of reputable charities as well as some guidelines on how to help. For instance, money is the preferred way to help. According to InterAction, "Cash allows relief professionals to procure exactly what is needed in a disaster situation and ensure that donations are culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate. Cash donations do not use up other scarce resources, such as transportation, staff time or warehouse space." In this age where texting is so easy, you can even make a donation by sending a text on your cellphone. Learn about it here (link from Christian Science Monitor). Unfortunately, times like these do invite scam artists (link to news story from MSNBC) to try to take advantage of your generosity, so make sure you are generous via a reputable and established organization. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) already has a fraud alert out with tips of what to look for if an appeal for help seems fraudulent. You can also get more advice on how to vet a charity appeal from the folks at the Better Business Bureau (BBB), including tools to look up particular charities. If you are not sure,  you can use the links above, or you can always ask your local librarian. We'll be happy to help you determine if an appeal for help is legitimate or not.
Published by root on 13 Jan

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