I lived near the epicenter of the Northridge quake in the San Fernando Valley in 1994 and will never forget the terror and chaos that ensued. It measured 6.7 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake was the worst in the region in more than 200 years and left the country in a shambles, without electricity or phone service, tangling efforts to provide relief to an estimated 3 million people who the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said had been affected by the quake.
The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said Haiti was now facing a “major humanitarian emergency” that would require a concerted international response.
President Obama promised that Haiti would have the “unwavering support” of the United States.
Mr. Obama said United States aid agencies were moving swiftly to get help to Haiti and that search-and-rescue teams were already en route. He described the reports of destruction as “truly heart-wrenching,” made more cruel given Haiti’s long-troubled circumstances.
Mr. Obama did not make a specific aid pledge, and administration officials said they were still trying to figure out what the island needed. But he urged Americans to dig into their pockets and to go to the White House’s Web site, www.whitehouse.gov, to find ways to donate money.
“This is a time when we are reminded of the common humanity that we all share,” Mr. Obama said, speaking in the White House diplomatic reception room with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at his side.
And on that, the president is absolutely correct.
Here are links on how to help:
Relief efforts list via The Anchoress.
Fund-raising efforts via Chuck Simmins.
And our military stands at the ready:
Defense Department officials are coordinating with their State Department counterparts to provide life-saving assistance in Haiti as quickly as possible after a devastating earthquake struck near the capital of Port-au-Prince yesterday afternoon.
U.S. Southern Command is coordinating with the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development to assess the situation after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake left perhaps thousands of people dead and many more trapped beneath collapsed buildings, officials reported.
Command officials said they will deploy a team of 30 people to Haiti today including military engineers, operational planners, and a command and control group and communication specialists, on two C-130 Hercules aircraft from the National Guard armory in Puerto Rico. The team will work with U.S. Embassy personnel as well as Haitian, United Nations and other officials to assess the situation to provide follow on support.
The Navy’s P-3 Orions made initial overflight assessments of damage on the ground, President Barack Obama announced this morning, and U.S. and rescue teams arriving in Haiti will use the information to plan their response.
DoD is looking at all ground, air and naval assets available to support the mission, if needed, pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is leading U.S. disaster relief efforts, and Southcom will serve a supporting role to its efforts, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Heidi Lenzini, a Southcom public affairs officer, explained.
From The Lede: Updates on the ongoing catastrophe and relief campaigns.