Earthquakes

Fourteen days ago, my husband and I were in the Dominican Republic, enjoying the soft sand between our toes, relishing the charming hospitality of the locals, and just, in general, enjoying life.

Yesterday, as news poured in about the devastation in Haiti ( just west of the DR), a shiver went down my spine. When the first images came in, my initial thoughts were rather selfish: this could be us. It could have happened when we were in the DR — what would we have done? Born and raised in an area where earthquakes aren’t quite the norm, and having experienced only a couple of “wake-up calls” in the Bay Area since we’ve moved here, do we really know what needs to be done in and after an earthquake? Not really.

I quickly “googled” and found that FEMA does a pretty good job of explaining what steps one needs to take to stay safe during an earthquake. It might also be a good idea to acquaint yourself with what to do after an earthquake.

As vulnerable as we are knowingly living in an area prone to earthquakes, we should consider ourselves lucky — we have the means to prepare for a calamity. Whether or not we survive an earthquake of this magnitude, but at least we can take steps for our and our families’ safety.

The Haitians never even got that chance.

If you’d like to help those affected by the earthquake in Haiti, please have a look at the following links:

  • American Red Cross: Text “HAITI” to “90999″ to make a $10 donation.
  • Action Against Hunger: has launched an emergency response to the earthquake that hit the city of Port au Prince on January 12, 2010.
  • ConcernUSA.org: Concern has been active in emergency relief, development and disaster prevention work in Haiti since 1994 following Hurricane Gordon where it implemented an emergency response. Since then the programme has evolved to include long-term development programming as well as emergency interventions.
  • Beyond Borders: They are working to coordinate a response with other organizations. If you have medical skills or the ability to translate from English or Spanish into Haitian Creole, they may be able to connect you with a group sending teams to Haiti. Please e-mail them at and put “medical / translation help” in the subject line.
  • Hope for Haiti: Hope for Haiti has held the vision that the people of Haiti are the ones who take control of their future and we are here to lend a needed hand along the difficult path.
  • Mercy Corps: You can make an immediate difference for Haiti’s families. Mercy Corps is relying on the creative fundraising of generous individuals and groups of all ages to raise money for our ongoing relief efforts for survivors of Haiti’s recent earthquake.
  • UNICEF: Children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF has created a donation form to help the children in Haiti.
  • World Concern: Families are left homeless after an earthquake leaves buildings in ruin. World Concern is providing emergency water, blankets and helping with the rescue.
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