Haiti was rocked Tuesday night by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. According to a report, Haiti’s First Lady Elisabeth Debrosse Delatour said that “most of Port-au-Prince is destroyed.”
While almost all phone lines have gone down on the impoverished island, Haitians have been able to communicate to friends and relatives around the world with the use of new media. Not only has there been a flurry of tweets and photos of the devastation posted online over night, but charitable individuals and organizations have responded quickly with their efforts to help victims.
Victims of the earthquake immediately got on Twitter, uploaded photos and YouTube videos and text messaged to give eyewitness reports on the tragedy like this one:
RAMHaiti: It’s 8:44PM and we’re still getting aftershocks!!I can hear people gathered in the distance singing prayers…people in large numbers are singing prayers downtown
In the last few hours charitable organizations have been able to make initial assessments of victims’ needs and have asked for donations, mostly through the use of digital tools.
Red Cross: Help Haiti right now, text Haiti to 90999 to give just $10 to the Red Cross
Rap artist and activist Wyclef Jean was among the first to organize online when he sent out these tweets:
@wyclef Help Haiti by donating to Yele on www.yele.org follow @YeleHaiti
@wyclef Another way you can help Haiti after their 7.0 earthquake: Donate $5 by texting YELE to 501501 and by visiting www.YELE.org
News organizations that cater to Haitian communities in the United States have also taken the initiative to give their readers updated information about the earthquake’s aftermath, such as the Boston Haitian Reporter, which has been live-blogging since Tuesday night.
While a full assessment of the Haitian earthquake will be long term, this latest international incident shows the incredible value in digital activism for quick response and possibly saving lives.