The afternoon of January 12 the massive earthquake struck south of Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. Media reports detail major devastation throughout the city and surrounding areas, including the destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, the presidential palace and the UN mission. Most information coming out of the country sets an expectation of a "serious loss of life" as a result of the quake and its aftershocks. Some early estimates put the death toll near 50,000. The Red Cross says up to three million people are affected.
Counterpart International has extensive experience in humanitarian response and is coordinating with partners to gather and distribute essential pharmaceuticals, hygiene kits and other basic needs to the victims of the Haitian earthquake. Within days, staff will be traveling to Haiti as part of an assessment team, so emerging and ongoing assistance needs can be evaluated and addressed.
"The devastation is enormous," says Mary Angelini, Vice President of Counterpart's Community and Humanitarian Assistance Programs (CHAP), "and the need for immediate assistance cannot be emphasized enough. In a disaster of this scale, medical and hygiene supplies are a critical component of relief efforts."
As the effects of this earthquake and its aftershocks continue Counterpart and many other social service organizations are working to deal with the destruction and human devastation. Since 1994, Counterpart has responded to the basic needs of the world poorest and most marginalized populations, delivering more than $1 billion worth of humanitarian assistance around the world. Counterpart has responded to similarly devastating natural disasters in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Somalia, Tajikistan and Samoa and this experience will be put to good use in Haiti.
Any donation, big or small, can help the people of Haiti. Donate now by visiting www.counterpart.org . Please give generously to help us further our relief efforts.
If you're concerned about a U.S. citizen living or traveling in Haiti and have been unable to contact them via phone, social networking sites, or through a loved one outside the disaster zone, call the U.S. State Department at 1-888-407-4747 for assistance.