On Jan. 12, 2010, a massive earthquake struck Haiti, about 15 miles miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the country's capital and most populous region. The earthquake was the worst in the region in more than 200 years, and hundreds of thousands of people were feared dead. Reports say that more than 30 significant aftershocks of a 4.5 magnitude or higher rocked the country through the night and into the early morning.
Relief organizations, governments worldwide and corporations acted quickly, pledging support and donations, but efforts were slow-going, due to the intense devastation, which wiped out the nation's electricity and phone lines, and limited airport operations. President Obama promised that Haiti would have the "unwavering support" of the United States, and the White House Web site posted a transcript and video of the president's remarks, as well as information on how to help.
For extensive news coverage of the disaster, as well as information on locating missing persons involved, see the sites below.
With search-and-rescue operations still underway, relief efforts are turning toward the millions of survivors in desperate need of food, clean water, shelter and medical care. The aid and goodwill pouring in from across the globe has indeed been heartening, but more assistance is still needed and will be for some time to come. Aid experts say that because of logistical reasons, donations of money - both for immediate relief and for rebuilding efforts - are more urgently needed than gifts of clothes, blankets and food.
Before donating to any organization, check out the Network for Good's 10 tips in Giving Wisely, which above all recommend donors give to legitimate charities they know well. Charity Navigator ranks more than 3,400 charities according to their financial health. To research a specific charity before donating, check out the Better Business Bureau. Enter your zip code, click on the "For Charities and Donors" tab, then select "Check out a Business or Charity."
To help you get started, we've compiled a list of established charities actively involved in relief efforts for victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Click on the links below to be taken directly to their earthquake donation pages.