The National Palace after the quake. From Netease
The island nation of Haiti suffered a devastating 7.0-magnitude quake in the middle of the day on Tuesday. Untold numbers of people remain trapped under the rubble and tens of thousands are feared dead. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the tragedy “Biblical,” adding that “There was so much hope about Haiti’s future, hope that had not been present for years. And along comes Mother Nature and just flattens it.” As everybody probably remembers, China’s had its own brush with Mother Nature’s wrath. Now, it’s gotten a chance to help.
According to Xinhua, “Chinese leadership has expressed sympathy with and deep condolence to the Haitian people for their loss in the strongest ever quake in about 200 years in the Caribbean islands country, with which China has no diplomatic relations.”
Despite the lack of diplomatic relations, related Chinese government departments and rescue groups have been told to help out and provide humanitarian aid in the paralyzed nation. Thus far, China has:
- Donated $1 million USD in emergency aid to Haiti through the China Red Cross Society. Which, incidentally, is the same amount Brangelina has contributed.
- Sent a 60-strong rescue team to the earthquake site. The team, which consists of search and rescue personnel with years of experience and three sniffer dogs, departed yesterday night.
- The Center for Consular Assistance and Protection under the Foreign Ministry will provide 24-hour consultation service. We’re not sure what that’s for, but it sounds helpful.
Also, eight soldiers of China’s 125-strong peacekeeping force in Haiti, which had been deployed there last June to help with ongoing peacekeeping efforts in the tumultuous nation, were said to be buried under debris. Ten more are still missing.
So far, like many Chinese netizens it seems, our queries about how we can donate anything to help Haiti have been left unanswered. If you want to donate, we say do it through international organizations for now, such as Doctors Without Borders, whose three hospitals in the area were hit badly, and the United Nations’ World Food Program – just make sure that the charity you end up donating to is legitimate. We’ll update this post when we figure out some local options.