HELP NEEDED: Haiti hit with massive quake.

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Haiti was hit yesterday by what could be considered the worst natural disaster for the region in the last 200 years.

An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.0, shocked the country just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, collapsing buildings and cutting water and electricity services in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. Aftershocks of 4.5 magnitude or higher continued through the night and early Wednesday, thwarting immediate aid efforts for an estimated 3 million affected by the quake. Thousands are expected dead or injured and many more will be displaced with their homes reduced to rubble.

Photo courtesy of @LisandroSuero.

charity: water’s two local partners, Partners In Health and Concern Worldwide, are reacting to the disaster swiftly and comprehensively.* We need your support. In the interest of immediate relief, we’re asking that donations be made straight to our partners.

To donate to Partners in Health’s efforts, click here.
To donate to Concern Worldwide’s efforts, click here.

Already one of the poorest and densely-populated countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has struggled to overcome the effects of a slew of rough storms in 2008 before this week’s disaster. More than 4 million people (42% of the population) already lack access to safe drinking water. Disasters undercut development efforts tremendously.

Here’s a note from our water projects director, Becky Straw:

I remember the quake in 1989. The magnitude 7.0 struck a few miles from my home in Northern California. The quake collapsed the Bay Bridge and left thousands homeless. So I cannot imagine a 7.0 earthquake hitting the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Scott and I traveled to Haiti twice last year, visiting the work of Partners In Health and Concern Worldwide. I have been in touch with both organizations this morning. They are already helping on the ground as they assess further damages and wait for additional emergency response teams en route. Partners in Health is reporting that the entire capitol city is in dire need of medical services, food, shelter and water. PIH operates one of the only pharmacies in the country; they are focusing on stocking medication and are treating an influx of patients. Both organizations worked during the 2008 storms and so they have already established emergency contingency plans for natural disaster situations.

charity: water is not a relief organization. But our partners in Haiti are. We have seen firsthand their organizational strength, supply chains and logistical capacity. We encourage you to donate directly to them to provide medical support, shelter, and clean water.

I told Partners In Health and Concern Worldwide that charity: water and our supporters are behind them. Thank you for your support during this crisis.

– Becky Straw, water projects director

*charity: water started working with PIH in 2007 and has since funded six freshwater projects with the organization to bring safe water to more than 25,000 people in rural Haiti (learn more here). Last year, we started partnering with Concern Worldwide in Haiti by funding eight spring protection systems, which will provide clean water for at least 6,000 people, once completed.

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