Ok, I know we’re a show about nuts and toejam and stuff, but this Haiti thing is really, really bad. I was a guest on Montel Williams’ show yesterday talking about the situation there (Stuntbrain works for Montel, if you’re wondering where the connection is) and it really started wearing on my mind.
Haiti is a public health disaster zone at the best of times. Only 50% of kids there have even the most basic vaccines and clean drinking water? faggeddaboutit. Water-borne diseases like cholera and dysentery are among the most immediate disease concerns, infectious diseases like typhoid and yes, H1N1 will be a problem somewhat later. Dehydration and exposure are pressing problems; rebuilding their “infrastructure” such as it was, seems impossibly out of reach.
Thinking about little kids who have lost their parents and are wandering around with no safety net, no water, and exposure to all kinds of awful diseases got me to text 90999 and donate $10.00 to the American Red Cross. I then checked and found that the Red Cross had collected $FIVE MILLION DOLLARS already just through the text message service. In a world where $100 will build a “School in a box”, $5 mil is incredible.
I then went to Unicef’s website and donated some more money. I realized that my problems with the browser on my cell phone, my dumb ego issues, and my contract problems with SiriusXM were pretty meaningless compared to the devastation people are experiencing in Haiti. Please, if you haven’t already, donate. Just do it. This is real human suffering that we can do something about, at least in the short run. What can be done about Haiti’s chronic problems is another issue altogether…
Update: It’s now confirmed that more than $1 million has been raised through text message donations.
Update 2: $3 million has now been raised.
Update 3: The total is now more than $4 million as of Thursday afternoon.
Update 4: The new total is now $5 million, as confirmed by the Red Cross at 5:30 p.m. EST on Thursday.
Update 5: The Red Cross has raised over $25 million as of 1/23/10.
We’ve just confirmed that the Red Cross has already raised more than $800,000 for Haiti through their $10 text message donation initiative (text “Haiti” to 90999), which is backed by the United States State Department.
Susan Watson, director of marketing and visibility for the Red Cross, tells us that they’re getting reports every half hour with the latest donation numbers, and the current total — as of 4:30 p.m. EST — is greater than $800,000 for text message donations alone. Watson says, “The needs are so tremendous in Haiti, and we are honored that people continue to give to the American Red Cross. Raising this amount of money, $10 at time, is a true testament to the American spirit.”
The Red Cross’s involvement in the relief effort is to be commended. Not only did it immediately set up the simplest donation method possible, but its social media presence and outreach, when combined with the State Department’s involvement, has turned this into a viral funding initiative, topping Twitter() trends and inspiring action. The Red Cross is also contributing an initial $1 million from the International Response Fund.
If you want to help the cause you can text “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross. There’s also this collection of organizations that are accepting donations online.