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Adagio's avatar

Does anyone else feel absolutely impotent in the face of the Haiti disaster? You want to help and so you donate money, yes that's simple, but after that, what more can an individual do?

Asked by Adagio (11193 points ) January 15th, 2010

What can individuals do in situations like this, when nothing seems like enough and yet there are real, living, breathing people out there living with the horror that has befallen them and who need the world to come to their aid, fast. Are there other ways to facilitate this happening?

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14 Answers

troubleinharlem's avatar

You can always pray.

SamIAm's avatar

I’m so with you on this… I don’t ever recall feeling so helpless in a disaster. I’ve donated money, and I am going to look into sending some clothing that way—I don’t have much to donate though. I wish I could just show up and help :(

lilikoi's avatar

I never donate money. I think money is too easily mishandled. I prefer to donate my time or goods. You can sign up for disaster training with the Red Cross. When a natural disaster happens, you will then be qualified to volunteer with them.

I think it is most efficient for people that are geographically near the location of a disaster to bear the brunt of the recovery effort. It is much more efficient to ship supplies and trained people from a few hundred miles away than from the other side of the world.

laureth's avatar

If you have a particular, needed skill (like doctoring), perhaps you could approach an organization that is sending people to help and volunteer your skill.

Otherwise, you could find ways to donate more money, such as holding a bake sale, collecting cans (if you like in a place where you get recycling money for them), or collecting loot for a rummage sale.

However, considering the bottleneck of people trying to get into Haiti to help the wounded or bring supplies, sometimes the best we can do is stay out of the way! :) Even legit, professional help is all but unable to get in right now, because they have a world full of airplanes coming in and, what, one working dirt airstrip?

gemiwing's avatar

Things are in motion now. Aid is getting there and is being set up. It has begun and will grow stronger in the coming days.

Perhaps think of things that these people will need once the World’s interest turns somewhere else. Clothing, pots and pans, diapers, basic tools to rebuild their homes, school supplies etc. Perhaps start a drive for those things and by the time they are gathered, hopefully the bottleneck will have been sorted out and what you send will easily reach people.

flo's avatar

I suppose you have asked the people taking pledges Red Cross etc.?, maybe there is a need for people who are good at giving comfort/moral , to the ones who have lost family and friends. Maybe there is a toll free number similar to the suicide prevention one, for this kind of occasions.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Donate what you can when asked, give blood, consider taking disaster preparedness classes at your Red Cross in order to be qualified as a responder when any disaster strikes.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

I agree with @PandoraBoxx. Put some volunteer work into improving the public health resources and disaster preparedness of your own community (think global, act local).

Adagio's avatar

Perhaps my feelings of impotence are exaggerated by the fact that I am severely physically incapacitated. I literally am unable to do anything requiring physical input. I can well imagine that even were I able to help in a physical/practical sense, I would still feel as if there must be more that I could do. Coming to terms with one’s humanity and its limitations, is it something one can ever outgrow? Would that even be a good idea, it may be accompanied by the absence of empathy? So many questions beating around in my head. Thank you to all who have made suggestions and offered ideas. I was surprised that only @Samantha_Rae has expressed similar feelings of helplessness. Maybe the feelings are so universal that they do not need mentioning?

laureth's avatar

Ah! I have a friend with MS (in a wheelchair) who convinced as many people as he could to do that cell phone text-message $10 donation because it was something he could do from his chair. :)

I think I know what you mean by feeling helpless. I mean, there’s nothing directly I could do to help; it’s not like it’s in my neighborhood where i could be out clawing people from the rubble or anything. On the other hand, I guess I could be doing any number of things (such as were mentioned), yet I am still sitting here at my computer playing with Fluther. I can’t feel helpless when I am Fluthering instead of baking, say. All I feel is lazy and incredibly lucky that it was somewhere not here.

That said, I wish that there were something I could do rather than just donate. Maybe it’s because there really isn’t, that I don’t kick myself harder for being lazy tonight.

flo's avatar

@Adagio maybe we can point out the fact that some of the media have a tendency to say “go to our website to see how where to donate” instead of just giving out the toll free number on the radio, slowly enough/frequently enough, posting the toll free number on the tv screen the whole time. They are excluding the many people who don’t have acces to the computer, and/or who can’t use the computer.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Here’s an interesting article about why you should not donate clothing in the wake of a natural disaster.

laureth's avatar

@PandoraBoxx – interesting article, thanks! It reminds me a bit of this one about clothing donations to Africa.

liminal's avatar

I’m right there with you sister.

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