This story, from Ed Pilkington and Tom Phillips of The Guardian, caught me eye:
When the 3,000 inmates of the central prison in Port-au-Prince unexpectedly gained their freedom, courtesy of the earthquake, everybody knew where they would be headed: Cité Soleil, the poorest area of this poorest city, in whose maze of streets they could vanish.
But the fugitives hadn’t counted on one thing: the determination of Cité Soleil’s people not to let them back. “We’ve got so many huge problems because of the earthquake, we have so little food, water and medicines, we can’t deal with another huge problem,” said Caries Rubens, 26, one of the area’s 300,000 people.
Several of the escapers had been gang leaders in the slum neighbourhood, ensnaring and terrorising the people with drugs and guns. Nobody wanted to see them regain their hold.
When news that the earthquake had granted the prisoners early parole reached Cité Soleil, a committee was set up, then vigilante security teams. Prisoners spotted re-entering the area were chased and run out of town. Those who were caught came to a more definitive end.
I’ve been getting questions to what one can do for Haiti. Here are some more answers…
Here’s an excellent site doing great work on the GROUND in Haiti:
Know, that if you donate to them, your money goes directly to those in need in Haiti.
Be sure to check-out THE LEDE from the New York Times, giving up-to-the-minute information on Haiti, including, blogs, links, and video.
Here’s a moving post from a friend of mine, Anafidelia Renaud Tavares, that lists several organizations doing substantive work in Haiti:
We have witnessed one of the largest natural disasters and likely the most devastating to affect Haiti in the last 200 years. Many of you are reacting to the news of the earthquake in Haiti in different ways. Many children of Haiti, like me, are calling friends and family to find out if they are ok. (So far the news from my family is heartening though we are waiting with baited breath for word from cousins who we have been unable to get in touch with.)
Others of you seeing the pictures of poverty, grief, destruction and devastation are wondering how you can help. In many times of crisis, the first impulse is to give to any organization that seems like it might help. While Haiti is known by many to be the poorest nation in this hemisphere- it is also the first independent black nation of the world, home to great intellectuals, artists, musicians and a rich spiritual/cultural tradition. There are many local organizations on the ground- formed by Haitians’ helping each other- that I would ask you to consider. Additionally, there are many international organizations that have a demonstrated and independently verified record of helping people in need, responding to disasters etc.
I would ask you to consider giving to the organizations below. These organizations are ones in which close friends or family members of mine have witnessed the quality and dedication of the humanitarian work performed.
You can also collect cash donations at your place of work in the days and coming weeks and send to the organizations below. The motto on the Haitian flag “L’Union fait la force” means in “ in unity is strength” so many small donations as little as $1 would be a help to the organizations below.
Finally, the first 72 hours of a disaster are critical. You can also help by calling your elected officials and ask them what they are doing to ensure a swift, sure and effective US government led humanitarian response. Contact the White House at 202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414. And contact your Senator or Representative by following this link http://www.contactingthecongress.org/. Tell them that the world and country is watching how the most powerful country in this world will respond to this crisis.
I thank you in advance for your help. Continue to keep your positive thoughts, prayers and actions focused on Haiti.
1. Saint Boniface Foundation in Haiti
St. Boniface Haiti Foundation
400 North Main St.
Randolph, MA 02368
Catholic clinic and organization that my sister volunteered with in Haiti. Do amazing work taking care of the medical and social needs of the whole family and village.
2. H.E.L.P Inc
Director Michel Brutus firstname.lastname@example.org
14 Impasse Heraux – Entrée Sylvio Cator
Port-au-Prince Haiti W.I.
011 509 246-5710(Home)
011 509 555-5410(Cellular)
011 509 510-8238(Hospital)
Louise A. Smith
Advisory Board General Secretary 31 Galty Avenue – Dorchester, MA 02124 617-287-8445
This clinic is near the epicenter of the disaster. I have not been able to confirm if the hospital is still standing. But the staff at this hospital are a dedicated group and will be at the heart of reaching out and helping.
One-time giving/Emergency relief
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
Me and my sister contribute to this organization on a regular basis. I saw them on the front line in Uganda helping constantly in many ways ( building wells, homes, clinics, vaccinating kids etc). They are in Haiti with a significant presence and have a proven track record in disaster relief. They do this work well, with low administrative overhead so you know the money will be going directly to people in need
4. Doctors without Borders
333 7th Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001-5004
Finally another well known organization that is always on the front lines of disaster relief. I have many close friends who volunteered with this organization and have nothing but wonderful things to say about their work. They do this work well and with low administrative overhead.
Anafidelia Renaud Tavares, MD, MPH