Cash, not canned goods, needed for Haiti

The Department of Homeland Security says at this point that monetary donations are preferred to commodity contributions to the Haiti earthquake response but cautions donors to be alert for scumbags preying on peoples’ compassion.

Anyone wishing to donate or provide assistance in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck near Port au Prince on Jan 12, is asked to contact the Center for International Disaster Information at www.cidi.org or call 703-276-1914.

To immediately help, you can also simply text “HAITI” to “90999” and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

Or you can go online to organizations like the Red Cross and Mercy Corps to make a contribution to the disaster relief efforts. For more information on how to donate, visit www.whitehouse.gov.

All offers of assistance to the earthquake situation in Haiti, whether technical assistance or commodity, MUST be registered with www.cidi.org/reg_offr.

For more information on how to register, visit www.usaid.gov, www.cidi.org or call 703-276-1914.

If inquiring about American employees in Haiti, contact the State Dept Bureau of Consular Affairs Overseas Citizen Services at 1-888-407-4747.

Internet users who receive appeals to donate money in the aftermath of Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti should apply a critical eye and do research prior to responding to those requests.

Past tragedies and natural disasters have prompted individuals with criminal intent to solicit contributions purportedly for a charitable organization and/or a good cause.

Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain protective guidelines. For further information, visit FBI’s web site, www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel10/earthquake011310.

Q & A’S:

Which federal agency is responsible for disaster assistance outside US Borders? The United States Agency for International Development also known as USAID, Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance is responsible for providing emergency assistance to areas impacted by disasters or emergencies outside the United States borders. For more information on relief efforts, call 703-276-1914 or visit www.usaid.gov.

How can my business or organization volunteer? Volunteer opportunities in disaster settings are usually limited to people with prior disaster experience and technical skills (such as health, engineering, etc).

To register your skills and experience for a possible volunteer opportunity, go to the www.cidi.org, the Center for International Disaster Information’s registration page.

For opportunities to volunteer overseas in non-disaster settings, visit www.serve.gov/ or read about Volunteers for Prosperity, www.volunteersforprosperity.gov, a volunteer program managed by USAID.

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