Gov. Baldacci and Maine lawmakers express support for Haiti

Cash Donations the Best Way to Assist Earthquake Recovery

Rep. Hannah Pingree talks to Gov. Baldacci with Rep. Seth Berry about disaster relief for Haiti
Rep. Hannah Pingree talks to Gov. Baldacci with Rep. Seth Berry about disaster relief for Haiti. Photo by Ramona du Houx
There has been an outpouring of support from the people of Maine to assist relief efforts in Haiti following the devastating earthquake. Since Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake that may have killed fifty thousand people, hundreds of people have contacted the Red Cross asking how to help. About a quarter have offered to travel to the country.

“The tragedy of – and still-unfolding events in – Haiti have caused us to take stock and reflect upon our blessings here at home, upon the fragility of life, and upon our global family,” said Governor Baldacci. “That’s why we are called here today to say that Maine stands as one with those struggling to survive in Haiti. The unimaginable loss of life and the continuing dire needs of those who survived the earthquake in Haiti have touched us all. As Mainers frequently do – even in this time of great economic distress here at home – we are eager to help.”

The Governor, Legislators and the Red Cross said that the best way to help Haitians is to make a monetary donation to a trusted relief agency. The U.S. State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead agency for the country’s response, advises that cash donations can be put to work immediately by relief agencies already on the ground.

Extensive infrastructure damage in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere has left Haiti unable to physically cope with untrained volunteers or unsolicited goods.

“The infrastructure cannot support more volunteers,” said Mike Mason, regional director of emergency services for the American Red Cross of Southern Maine.

“We got overwhelmed with people volunteering during Katrina. The people of Maine are terrific but too many untrained volunteers, in a place that lacks infrastructure, creates more problems than it solves,” said Governor Baldacci. “What we need right now is to find survivors in the rubble, bury those who did not live, get medical care and supplies to the hurt, food for the hungry, and shelter for the homeless. And once the emergency is over, to rebuild.”

At the press conference, people were also encouraged to donate blood to the Red Cross. Maine currently has a shortage of Type 0-negative and B-negative blood. There are donation centers in Bangor and Portland.

“In spite of the difficult times here at home, Mainers are once again rising to the occasion and doing what they can to help the people of Haiti get through this terrible tragedy,” said Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell. “These acts of charity will strengthen the relief effort as the international community works to rescue victims and eventually rebuild the country.”

If you donate please go to a repeatable agency, there are con-games on the internet, warned the federal government.
How to Help and for More Information:

· 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.

· Go to the Red Cross site: www.redcross.org

· An index of relief organizations working in Haiti , endorsed by USAID, is available at: http://www.interaction.org/crisis-list/earthquake-haiti

· Or at www.usaid.gov

· AidMatrix, a partner with the State of Maine in disaster donations, offers an online portal for donations to relief organizations working in Haiti. http://vad.aidmatrix.org/vadxml.cfm?driveid=4121

· Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti should call 1-888-407-4747

· The FBI’s statement about fundraising fraud: www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel10/earthquake011310.htm

· Suspected Internet or e-mail fraud can be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov

- See more at: http://maineinsights.com/perma/governor-and-maine-legislature-express-support-for-haiti#sthash.9p1QOTDg.dpuf