Man-surrounded-by-rubbleIt’s been one of those awful days at work today. It’s crazy busy, but of course that’s not what I mean when I say it’s awful. Tragically, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti last night killing hundreds maybe thousands of people.

Apparently, the quake is the worst to hit the country in 200 years. Not only that, Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere and thousands of people are in desperate need of help.

From the moment I walked into the office you could feel the emergency buzz in the air as we geared up to launch the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

Overnight and all day the information has been trickling through. Red Cross staff in Haiti have reported that amid the crying and wailing, people are spending the night outside, frightened of further aftershocks. They are trying to comfort each other and in the streets you can hear the prayers of thanks of those who survived.

Communications in Haiti were disrupted by the quake and it’s hard to know how many people have been killed or injured, but it’s feared that up to three million people may be affected.

Injured womanWhat I know for sure is that Red Cross volunteers in Haiti are currently assisting the injured and supporting hospitals. Money raised from our appeal will support the relief effort.

Pete Garratt, our disaster relief manager, is managing our response and he’s been doing a number of interviews – so look out for him on the news.

This earthquake has added to Haiti’s long history of humanitarian crises. A combination of past armed conflict, political instability and continuing urban violence alongside widespread poverty, poor access to services such as healthcare and water, and exposure to hurricanes means that many Haitians have been left chronically vulnerable.

Right now, the capital, Port-au-Prince, is reported to be without electricity after power lines were cut, and rescuers have been forced to search for survivors using flashlights. The most urgent needs are hospital care, clean water and emergency shelter.

I know we’re all feeling the pinch of the recession and are having to cut back on little luxuries. I used to think I couldn’t cope without my daily latte – but you soon learn!

So please – if you can spare anything at all – donate to our appeal.

You can make a difference to someone in Haiti who is wondering how on earth they are going to cope.

View pictures of the quake on Flickr

Image 1 © Reuters/ Reuters TV/ courtesy www.alertnet.org

Image 2 © Matt Marek/American Red Cross