Update on Haitian Relief Efforts, How to Get Involved

Two weeks down and the death count has soared past 110,000. We don’t have to tell you that the Haitian 7.0 magnitude earthquake was one of the worst disasters in decades – you can see it for yourself every time you turn on the television, read the paper or surf the Web.

We have been keeping up with the latest news and rescue efforts, taking special note of those organizations that really stand out. Last week, we highlighted some of our favorite ways to get involved. This week, we’re taking a look at what’s left to do now that cleanup efforts start to pan out.

This makeshift camp is home to about 3,000 Haitians. Both medical and food supplies are of utmost importance as the country begins to rebuild. Photo: Flickr/IFRC

This makeshift camp is home to about 3,000 Haitians. Both medical and food supplies are of utmost importance as the country begins to rebuild. Photo: Flickr/IFRC

Soles4Souls – The shoe recycling organization Soles4Souls is partnering with several shoe and sporting goods companies and retailers to provide footwear to earthquake victims in Haiti. So far, the charity has committed to donating 250,000 pairs of shoes. In addition to footwear ranging from work boots to tennis shoes, the organization is also sending medical supplies and bottled water.

“This is going to be a long and painful rebuilding process, and if we don’t act in a sustainable, calculated manner we could end up doing more harm than good,” Soles4Souls founder and CEO Wayne Elsey told Waste & Recycling News.

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – The Huffington Post raised a good point last week when it asked, “what exactly happens to the tens of thousands of animals after a disaster?” WSPA and IFAW have teamed up with Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti to lead a gathering of animal welfare groups, giving vaccinations and food and water supplies to animals via mobile veterinary clinics.

Earth911 also contacted the U.S. EPA to find what it will be doing in the upcoming months for the rebuilding process. According to Press Officer Latisha Petteway, the organization is waiting for instructions from the U.S. government and its Region 2 office as it closely monitors the situation. So far, there have been requests for deployment.

“Our deepest concerns and prayers go out to the Haitian people and everyone with loved ones in Haiti […] The Region 2 Regional Emergency Operations Center is monitoring response and recovery work, and officials there are preparing Emergency Response capabilities in the event they are called to join the relief effort,” Petteway explained.

“In the days ahead, we will continue to discuss the resources and aid EPA can provide as further needs are assessed and EPA help is requested.”

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