Today I took $100 and split it evenly between Doctors Without Borders, CARE, the Red Cross, and Partners in Health to go towards rescue efforts in Haiti. It's a tiny, infinitesimal drop in the bucket, but I needed to do something. These are among the best organizations already working in Haiti, and I'm confident they'll use all of their donations wisely to put them to good use.
In the meantime, news reports today are unclear about Haitian casualties though estimates are in the tens of thousands, but the Brazilian government discovered that at least eleven Brazilians in the UN forces were killed, along with doctor, public health phenomenon, and social activist Zilda Arns. International casualties are also being reported from the UN headquarters.
While looking at some of the "how to help" pages, I came across a really cool organization called Architecture for Humanity, which is an extremely worthy cause for not just Haiti but the entire developing world. They are going to help with reconstruction efforts in Port-au-Prince, but not for temporary housing but rather with long-term, sturdy, permanent dwellings and buildings. They're also working on a really interesting project in Brazil (any architects out there? They need Portuguese speakers).
The thing that concerns me about the recovery and rescue efforts in Haiti is that because of the media spotlight and political pressure, an enormous amount of money and donations are going to flow in during the first few weeks, and then eventually dwindle as time goes on. This kind of catastrophe is a long term issue, and people are going to need food, water, shelter, clothing, and medical care for a considerable amount of time before the country can even start to think about rebuilding. The sad thing is, many people already needed some or all of those things before the earthquake. In any event, I really hope the world doesn't forget about Haiti once the initial media bonanza dies down. But judging from the past, it probably will.