“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing, because he could only do a little.” (Edmund Burke)
It’s hard to know how to help when horrible things happen far away.
Hell, it’s hard to get decent information… in spite of the 24/7 cable news channels. (I just saw a rerun of one show from earlier in the day — with no admission by the network that it even was a rerun — spreading several completely false rumors that had been debunked online when it ran the first time. I wish there was one freakin’ news source that would stop searching for the “human interest” story — or worse, grind some hack political point — and just report the goddamn facts.)
Okay, I’m an idiot for even dreaming that TV news could ever rise above sniveling mediocrity. Shame on me for wasting time trying to learn anything from the boob-tube.
In fact, I instinctively went online to get more info when news of the earthquake hit… and it was easy to follow threads to get fairly excellent info straight from the sources on the ground in Haiti.
It’s still chaos, of course. A corrupt government, a third-world country mired in poverty, fragile infrastructure… it would be astonishing if any relief efforts DID work well in the first week.
So, yes, I’m sure you’ve heard about supplies sitting on the docks while people suffer blocks away… criminals with machetes roaming the streets after the prison crumbled… embezzlement of relief funds… medical teams pulled from hospitals due to confused UN orders…
… and worse.
Some of it may be true, some of it may be partly true… and you’ve got to operate on the assumption that misinformation, false rumors, urban myths and outright lies spread faster than real information.
The relief effort will be flawed up the yin-yang, imperfect as hell, and there will be unbelievable waste and unforgivable wrong decisions.
This reality doesn’t let ANYONE off the hook.
If you can help, you need to do so now.
This is not the time to be yakking about the inefficiencies of relief organizations, or the venality of large charities, or the “futility” of throwing money at scenes of devastation.
It is not futile.
It is, in fact, a damn good place to start, when you can’t do anything else (like actually showing up to dig through rubble).
We found a good online resource listing of relief organizations here:
Just pick one, and send what you can.
This is not the time to dally over a choice — just find one that you feel can get part of the job done (medical, basic resources, humanitarian, etc)…
… and send in some money.
Yes, the world’s governments are responding. Yes, there has been a great influx of cash already.
They need more.
Of all the things money can do in your life, this is one time when closing your eyes and throwing it at a problem is absolutely the right thing to do.
If you’re hard-up, send $10. If you can swing it, send $100. If you’re flush, send more.
You can argue to your heart’s content about how screwed up the “system” is…
Right now, there are some people you’ve never met who desperately need your help. Don’t do it to feel good.
Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
P.S. If you know of an organization that isn’t on this list that you feel deserves more support, leave the URL in the comments here.