January 15, 2010

How to help Haiti: Info from the White House

The email I'm copying below has probably gone viral by now, but if you haven't received it yet, it provides info on donating to Haiti earthquake relief. Cash is needed most. The email's ostensible origin is the White House, from a Jennifer Kaplan with an email address (which I've removed) with a "who.eop.gov" suffix. I did a little Googling before posting it here, and it seems legit: who.eop.gov is, in fact, the email domain for people who work at the White House in the Executive Office of the President, and I did find a Jennifer Kaplan with a background that fits. I've checked all the links, and they seem legit, too:

From: Kaplan, Jennifer Y.
To: Kaplan, Jennifer Y.
Sent: Thu Jan 14 08:53:04 2010
Subject: Haiti Information

Good Morning,

Below is a summary of informational tools and resources for the coming days as it relates to the situation in Haiti. Please send this to your networks.

In these first critical hours, we are focusing on saving lives andsupporting recovery, but we know that several of you are pooling resources and supplies in your own communities. For the most up to date information throughout the coming days pleasecontinue to monitor http://www.whitehouse.gov/HaitiEarthquake

A top priority is accounting for the thousands of American citizens who are currently in Haiti. Families of Americans living in Haiti who are trying to find the status of their loved ones are encouraged to contact the State Department at 1-888-407-4747. This line is experiencing a high volume ofcalls at this time, so we ask for your continued patience.

Cash donations are the most efficient and effective way to help the relief effort in Haiti right now. They allow humanitarian organizations to purchase(often within the affected region itself) the exact type and quantity ofitems needed by those affected by the crisis. Read about the advantages of monetary donations here.

You can immediately donate to the Red Cross to assist the relief effort.<http://american.redcross.org/supporthaiti> Contribute online to the Red Cross, or donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill by texting"HAITI" to "90999." You can also find more ways to help through the<http://www.cidi.org/incident/haiti-10a/> Center for International Disaster Information, or through USAID's <http://www.usaid.gov/> interactive website, which has a list of NGOs and instructions on how to help.

Right now, the airport is being used to facilitate search and rescueefforts. This is a complex and difficult environment, and all of our efforts have to be focused on prioritizing and moving the right resources into Haitithat can save lives in the next 48 hours. That is why we are encouraging private citizens to focus their efforts on supporting established aid organizations that are deploying resources to Haiti, and to hold off on travelling there themselves.

We ask that you keep track of offers of in kind services and supplies being offered in your communities in the coming days so that as needs on the ground are assessed we can quickly turn around the resources and get them to Haiti. Those looking to donate time, supplies or funds should contact the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) at 703-276-1914, or visit them online at http://www.cidi.org/incident/haiti-10a/

We will have continued outreach calls on this issue as we continue to learn more about the situation on the ground and resources needed in the coming days.


Office of the Press Secretary