Monday, 18 January 2010

Bloggers for Haiti

According to the BBC News front page, the death toll of the Haiti earthquake looks to be close to 200,000. People have lost everything: belongings, homes and families. The devastation is huge. And I can’t look.

I can’t look at the pictures or read the news reports. Because it makes me feel like a voyeur. Like I’m lapping up titbits of suffering and disaster, while sitting in my comfortable house, with my central heating and my fridge and cupboards full of food and my family, safe and sound. It feels wrong to follow the horrific stories coming in waves like the aftershocks.

I have always been the same. When the Asian Tsunammi hit, when Katrina descended, I couldn’t watch the news, I couldn’t read the papers, all I could do was add my coins to the collection buckets, send my cheques, phone the donation lines.

But, this time, I can do a teeny bit more. I can join with the blogging campaign to help the people of Haiti. English Mum has set up a Just Giving page so that we can send some Shelter Boxes to Haiti. Each box contains:

  • A ten-person tent with privacy partitions that allow its occupants to divide the space as they see fit
  • A range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall
  • Life-saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed, this presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.
  • A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters.  These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.
  • A wood burning or multi-fuel stove that can burn anything from diesel to old paint.  This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.
  • A children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens.  For children who have lost most, if not all, of their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.

Each box can be adapted to the individual needs of the disaster area, for example, following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged from one storey buildings, the overwhelming need was for shelter – so ShelterBox just sent tents, packing two in each box.  The box itself is lightweight and waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past – from water and food storage containers to a cot for a newly born baby.

So far (Monday morning), enough money has been raised to send four boxes. Let’s make that five, or even more!

You can also donate to the Haiti aid relief efforts in other ways, including:


  1. Wow, great effort so far. Hope you feel better.

  2. It's great to see so many posts today -- well done!

  3. Isn't it amazing what can happen when a few like minded people get together. 6 boxes to date. Just from us bloggers. English Mum done good!

  4. weldone for keeping this going...I donated straight away and I love theat all the bloggers have pulled together for this x