Picture from Google’s LatLong blog, which has now overlaid images of destroyed Haiti on Google Earth (with a link to ways to donate)
With news of the devastation in Haiti dominating Chinese newspapers, we guess it was about time somebody in Shanghai came up with an initiative to help out somehow. Unfortunately, the only one we’ve heard of so far sounds pretty insensitive: Shanghai World Expo coordinators are considering a plan to exhibit “the changed landscape of Haitian capital Port-au-Prince before and after the earthquake” at the Expo’s Haitian Hall.
From Shanghai Daily:
“We plan to present the views of the quake-devastated capital before and after the earthquake in the Haitian Hall to call for more attention and supports from the international community for its reconstruction,” said He Lihua, an exhibition official.
“We have made initial agreement with Courtney Rattray, deputy representative of the Caribbean countries to the Expo, and we are soliciting opinions from the Haiti authorities,” He said.
Because if it’s in the Expo, then people will start paying attention to it. Because we bet Haiti would love nothing more than to be associated as “The Earthquake City” of the developing world at an event that’s meant to promote technology and better city living.
And because, 100 days from now, it’ll be useful to show all this death and destruction going on there since… well, we’re not sure why it’d be useful 100 days from now. Maybe Shanghai Expo officials are predicting that, news cycles being what they are, people might’ve forgotten about Haiti by May 1 and this will be a sobering reminder. In which case, that is both very prescient and depressing of them and we’re sorry for the initial WTF reaction. Anyway, He says they haven’t gotten a reply back yet from the Haitian government. Go figure.
Thankfully, it seems like other people around the nation have much more heartwarming acts to give to the beleagured island nation – especially, it seems, the people of Sichuan.
On Friday, Beichuan Middle School, which lost half of its 2,600 students in May 2008, offered their sympathies in the form of a big white banner and 11,810 RMB ($1,730) for the victims. 8,000 embroiderers from the province’s Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture also collected 10RMB from their daily wages for a total of 80,000RMB ($11,700) and the Sichuan Stone Association used its new years party to fund raise another 28,835RMB ($4,220) for Haitians. Since the Chinese Red Cross Society opened up public donations options in the area (on January 14), they’ve received 2 million RMB.
In one particularly fuzzy feelings story, a little girl in Wenchuan gave the ongoing fund raising efforts there all of her allowance, telling the fund raiser, “Uncle, I want to put this money in the box so it will help Haiti’s little kids go back to school sooner.”
Meanwhile, Jet Li has pledged $1 million USD for Haitian relief efforts through his One Foundation and added that Tencent, the makers of wildly popular IM service QQ, was planning on giving another $2 million USD through them as well.
And there’s also the Chinese government’s 30 million RMB “relief package,” which includes 13 million RMB of relief supplies, in addition to its original pledge of $1 million USD (through the Red Cross) and 60 rescuers (who’re in Haiti right now). It seems like, from the pictures, they’ve been focusing on sorting through the rubble of the United Nations building.
In other news, the bodies of the eight Chinese peacekeeping forces who were buried by the earthquake are now arriving home tomorrow. China is considering a possible evacuation of all its nationals there (including, they say, the some 30 Taiwanese people in the country).
If you’d like to donate, the Red Cross is now taking bank transfers to the Haiti effort. They’re the most legitimate (and one of the only nationally sponsored) organization to do it from within the country. If you’ve got the means to donate from outside the country, Charity Navigator has a great list of places that are sure not to be scams.