Assorted Haiti items

Things in Haiti continue to sound hellish.

I'd heard about the really big aftershock on Wednesday (magnitude 5.9), but it turns out there've been lots more smaller aftershocks.

Google continues to update its info page. Donation links, news links, satellite imagery, videos, etc.

Although it might normally take 30 to 90 days for texted donations to reach organizations, there are ongoing attempts to streamline the process. In particular, "Verizon Wireless said late Friday [January 15th] that it planned to go ahead and send nearly $3 million customers have pledged to the American Red Cross, and that it would continue to advance funds as pledges come in."

Claire Dunham of the British Red Cross explains why, after a major disaster of this sort, people should donate money, not other items. "Unwanted donations create chaos, waste and confusion for an already stricken country. The risks are spiralling costs or actual threats to its people, environment and industry."

Cruise ships are still landing in Haiti, specifically in the walled resort of Labadee Beach. The article suggests that this is not quite as awful as it sounds; for example, the Royal Caribbean cruise company says (I'm quoting the article here) that "its ships are transporting not just cruise passengers but also foodstuffs for Haitians. The company has promised to use 100 percent of the proceeds from its cruise visits to Labadee to benefit victims of the quake." And, of course, the local economy at Labadee depends on tourism money. I still find the idea really unfortunate, but I can see that it's complicated.

Wired article: "Man Buried in Haiti Rubble Uses iPhone to Treat Wounds, Survive." More specifically, he used an iPhone app called Pocket First Aid and CPR, which gave him information and tips that helped him keep himself alive.

Over at Helping Haiti Heal, a coalition of fans (especially Harry Potter fans) are doing a live webcast streaming-video telethon, offering a chance at prizes in exchange for donations. They've brought in over $22,000 in donations for Partners in Health over the past few hours; there are currently about 1300 people watching.

I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the scope of the disaster.

I'm seeing estimates of over 100,000 people dead in Haiti, and hundreds of thousands more injured and/or homeless. Horrifying. And that's out of a total population of about ten million. About 1% of the country's population dead, about 10% of the population injured or homeless.

(Wikipedia says that about 230,000 people died worldwide in the 2004 tsunami. That, too, is horrific beyond my ability to imagine it.)

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