As rescue workers struggle to reach survivors and provide care for those hurt or made homeless by Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Haiti, hundreds of millions of dollars have been committed by governments, corporations, individuals, and NGOs to support relief and recovery efforts, multiple news sources report.
The 7.0 magnitude quake all but leveled the country's impoverished capital, Port-au-Prince, impeding rescue workers' access to many areas and cutting off basic utilities and telecommunications in large swaths of the country. Dwindling supplies of food and fresh water and severely damaged medical facilities have further hampered relief efforts. According to the New York Times, as many as three million people — a third of Haiti's residents — may have been affected by the disaster, with early death toll estimates in the tens of thousands.
The response to the disaster by governments around the world has been swift, with the White House pledging an initial $100 million, the United Kingdom $10 million, and the European Union $4.4 million to relief efforts in the Caribbean nation. Meanwhile, a number of corporate commitments of cash and in-kind support have been announced, including $5 million from Caribbean telecommunications operator the Digicel Group; $1.25 million from Microsoft; $1 million each from the UPS Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundation, drug company Abbott Laboratories, the Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Google, and Lowe's; $600,000 from the Walmart Foundation; $500,000 from Web hosting and registration company Go Daddy; and $250,000 from Western Union, according to reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. The Bank of America, Kellogg, Western Union, and other companies also have said they will match donations made by their employees, while FedEx has committed to fly supplies and relief workers to Haiti.
In addition, the World Bank announced that it will commit $100 million in emergency funding to support recovery and reconstruction efforts in the country, while the American Red Cross increased its initial commitment for emergency relief efforts from $200,000 to $1 million. The Red Cross also said that, as of Thursday morning, it had raised more than $3 million through a mobile phone fundraising effort.
Several charities have launched emergency funds in response to the quake, among them Action Against Hunger; Oxfam; MADRE; MercyCorps; Habitat for Humanity; the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee; the Grameen, Tides, and Silicon Valley Community foundations; and AmeriCares. In addition, Hope for Haiti is sending supplies and medical professionals to the devastated country, while the Lambi Fund of Haiti has said it will be a "second responder" in helping the country rebuild.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted that helping the country rebuild from the quake would be a long-term effort. "We're going to do everything we can with our resources," said Clinton. "We have a full-court press going on here."
For more information, visit the ReliefWeb Web site.