Supporting Relief Efforts in Haiti


Posted by Akhtar Badshah 
Senior Director, Global Community Affairs

The earthquake in Haiti is an absolute tragedy. 

I clearly remember the precise moment when the Tsunami struck Indonesia in 2004 and how that set in motion a chain of events that would hopefully allow us to be better prepared to respond to such tragedies in the future.

We have learned from the Tsunami, and from subsequent tragedies including Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the Sichuan earthquake in China.  Since 2004, Microsoft has been supporting NetHope, a membership organization of some of the world’s largest humanitarian relief organizations, which focuses on ensuring that these organizations are prepared to react quickly and effectively to work together during an emergency.  Technology is playing a key role in mobilizing support for the victims of the Haiti earthquake and also in coordinating relief efforts.  PC World reports that Twitter, Facebook and Skype are all being utilized to get the word out around the world and tell the story of the tragedy that is unfolding locally.

Microsoft is making an initial commitment of $1.25 million, which includes cash and in-kind contributions.  Other support efforts include:

 

1. By activating our Disaster Response team- a dedicated group that plans how our company, people and partners can be mobilized during issues such as this-  through outreach to lead government, inter-government and non-government agencies involved in leading local and global response efforts. We’re currently engaged with humanitarian relief organizations to assess how we can make a difference.  More information on Microsoft Disaster Response is on our Microsoft Corporate Citizenship website.

2. We have issued an appeal to our employees to support the relief organizations working in Haiti – we match our US based employees donations up to a maximum of $12,000 per employee.

3. We are working with impacted customers and partners to help get critical systems up and running.

4. We are helping drive awareness and donations for relief efforts through MSN and Bing.

5. The NetHope Emergency Working Group was activated last night to set up the basic telecommunications communications between the relief agencies operating in the affected areas.

6. The NetHope Haiti Emergency Center (a secure Sharepoint application used by all of the NetHope members) is active and serves as a focal point for all reports, events, contact lists and collaboration.

Microsoft is committed to supporting the immediate relief and rescue efforts in Haiti and we are working with our NGO partners to provide the necessary support. 

There are many opportunities to help, through donations of your time as a volunteer, and through financial contributions. We invite you to consider supporting any of the following relief organizations in supporting the work they are doing around Haiti:

American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/

Care: http://www.care.org/index.asp?&p=http

NetHope: http://www.nethope.org/

MercyCorps: http://www.mercycorps.org/

Save the Children: http://www.savethechildren.org/

Unicef: http://www.unicef.org

World Vision International: http://wvi.org/wvi/wviweb.nsf

Comments (30)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Why can't the military send KC-130's over to Haiti with relief supplies packed with blankets on the bottom with bottled water, C rations, and basic medical  supplies in bundles on top the blankets that can be parachuted to the ground? Fly a grid pattern and make large area drops. These people aren't asking for luxeries of life, they simply need the most basic of necessities. Even the chutes could be used for shelter.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I'm very proud of my company. Thanks Microsoft for help.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If Microsoft can use help from outside IT folks, let me know.  There is a group of us that is willing to help out.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So I must ask why Catholic Relief Services is not included in your list of relief organizations that individuals support in the Haitian relief effort.  Catholic Relief Services has an existing presence in Haiti.    MinistryWatch.com gives them a 5-star Financial Efficiency rating and an "A" grade in transparency.    News reports indicate that CRS has prepositioned emergency supplies both in Haiti and Miami, and that they started responding by dawn the morning after the quake.  CRS always offers aid and assistance without regard to the individual's faith.  This organization meets every one of my requirements to be included in your list.  Please consider adding them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft thank you so much for this generous contribution. I admire this company!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft should list Catholic Relief Services as one of the relief organizations on your Community Involvment page. CRS has had a presence in Haiti for 55 years and had staff in Port Au Prince when the earthquake occurred. They moving supplies that were prepositioned in Haiti and are buying supplies in the Dominican Republic today so that they can be trucked to Haiti. CRS announced yesterday that they have committed $5 million to Haiti relief. Please contribute at http://www.crs.org.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This shows that this company cares and god bless you Micorsoft!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the comments.  We are working with CRS through NetHope (which CRS is a member off).  We continue to encourage our US based employees to donate to any organziation of their choice that is doing relief work in Haiti and the company will match those donations up to the 12K limit.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I've had a few folks ask me (I work with NGOs around technology needs) how best to provide support around the disaster in Haiti. It is a cruel tragedy that continues to unfold. Already the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti does not have the infrastructure to withstand/absorb what is unfolding. In the first 24/48/72 hours, NGOs are primarily focused on rescue efforts and assessment of immediate needs. Patners, governments, intergovernmental agencies all begin to mobilize efforts. It can be an extremely difficult time for NGOs to manage the logistics around in-kind donations (blankets, water, etc.) and interested volunteers — important as those are — because many of those supplies and personnel are staged/prepared well before disaster strikes. Connectivity (telephone, Internet, etc.) is critical, and often (and certainly in Haiti) a real challenge. Though it may seem somewhat impersonal, one of the most important things NGOs (nonprofits) need is cash. Those contributions, even small ones, matter, because it allows NGOs the flexibility they require in responding quickly to changing needs and circumstances on the ground, getting their trained staff and volunteers deployed and helping most effectively. I know and understand the desire to get involved personally, to go and help. I see the images, read the stories, and want to do the same thing. But when disaster strikes, non-profits need trained volunteers and professionals. What do I recommend? Give generously, where and how much you are able — to reputable orgs leading efforts on the ground. Don't travel there yourself if you are not trained and deployed under the auspices of a relief agency. Get trained! Volunteer your time with nonprofits so that when disaster strikes they can call on you and use you. Too many of us are willing to help when it's on the front pages, but perhaps slacken in our conviction when the media spotlight shines elsewhere. You can have an important impact, and there are many who can benefit from your time and material contributions. Pray for those impacted in Haiti. The devastation continues to mount, unfortunately, and I fear it will get worse still.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I do not see The Salvation Army listed as one of the relief agencies . TSA is in 119 countries around the world, and has had a significant ministry in Haiti for 50 + years. They have mulitple facilities and programs in Haiti, serving thousands through Children's Homes, schools and community centers. They are on of the two largest Emergency Services agencies in the world.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I own a body removal company, and we would like to help with body removal. I do not know who to contact my number is 231-343-0350, if anyone knows who to contact?

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure why Microsoft neglected to mention one of the most critical and active efforts to help Haiti – Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti.  Wyclef Jean is on the ground in Haiti along with Yele representatives.  His non-profit was the first to issue a call for aid as his group has been in Haiti for years doing aid work.  Microsoft needs to correct this glaring oversight and add Yele Haiti to its list.  www.yele.org.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I, too, wonder why Catholic Relief Services and also Doctors Without Borders are not on the list.  And after the Katrina fiasco with the Red Cross, plus remembering their past actions and the large salaries they pay their officers, I will not donate to them again.    Please enlarge your list and include the organizations such as the two mentioned and also the Salvation Army.  All three of these groups do more work without large salaries and pensions for their people.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Please also consider donating to Doctors Without Borders.  The following is a link to their donation site where all money pledged is going to the Haiti relief effort to send things such as personel, medical supplies and portable hospitals to treat the injured.
       donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/SSLPage.aspx

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Mocrosoft, for your quick response efforts.  I'm impressed by the various contributions in many areas.    From the many comments, listed on this blog, it's clear that many folks care.  I'm not suggesting you add more charities as there are so many organizations jumping in.  CPS may be doing their part and some of these folks would like them listed here, but there are the many already listed.  If they feel that strong about one specific organization, I would think they can donate directly to them.  Regarding the statement about the NAACP, I don't think of them as a relief organization.  But even so, they are planning a relief plan.  Are you thinking they should have jumped in just because of race?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Catholic Relief Services should be listed here: http://www.crs.org

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why isn't Catholic Relief Services listed?  They actually have people on the ground in Haiti.  They have been there many years and will surely be there for many years to come.

  18. Anonymous says:

    For Haiti relief aid, please disrergard religious or political beliefs. I know first-hand that the most efficient channels for disaster relief are through the Catholic & Mormon Churches.  Example: They used the Red Crescent to deliver aid locally in Indonesia and they have the lowest overhead of any of the organizations.  The net contribution is 99+% compared to 40 to 60% in the other channels.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I see all your charities are non – religious, and I am not an employee but i live in a rural area with a large Mennonite pop.  They have been working in Haiti and raising money for Haitians for a long time before the quake.  Their infrastructure along w/ the Catholic Relief and other regligious organizations  are intact and on the ground.   I think that's important.  Just encourage people to give and I have no problems with the groups you listed, lets just keep it coming.  

  20. Anonymous says:

    i feel for those people in haiti its like katrina all over again only whorse. im thankful it didnt happen here in the states but it could no one knows what might happen. i would like to thank all the people who gave money to the redcross

  21. Anonymous says:

    http://www.act.pih.org is the website for Partners in Health.  They've been on the ground in Haiti for 20 years.  They are the group providing support and supplies for all the NGOs that are trying to help out there in this crisis.  PLEASE direct some monies their way.  Without them, nothing at all would have happened for the first few days after this earthquake.  Thanks

  22. Anonymous says:

    With the main port facilities collapsed in Port Au Prince only small craft can get supplies in…Dunkirk all over again…Small craft are the key …have the US navy place refueling ships between Miami and Haiti …then hundreds of small craft could move goods from Miami to Haiti and they could also be used for move supplies from ship to shore from aircraft carrier that cannot make port.  

  23. Anonymous says:

    Yes what the problem with using religous charities…it separation of church and state ….not separation of church and charity.

  24. Anonymous says:

    an international logistics network which can facilitate the management of relief materials is required.  Such a network will identify the location of needed relief supplies from the existing global supply chain which are in warehouses and in-transit.  The use of global positioning systems and real time communication methods will allow conveyances, blankets, food, water, etc. which are "on the move" for our day to day purchases to be redirected to disaster areas.  This will allow for faster response time, reduced "premium" charges, reduced shrinkage and high accountability.  Please refer to www. gcel.net.  While the focus on our site is economic development, enhanced logistics is the also the key for disaster impact readiness,  cargo security, and food safety.  

  25. Anonymous says:

    I admire your assistance to the many families that are affected by this disaster, and would like to mention that The Salvation Army in the USA has been serving Haiti since 1950 and has a feeding center in Port au Prince, a Maternity Home and Medical Dispensary in Fond de negres, a Primary Health and Nutrition Center in Port au Prince,and we operate several kindergartens and Primary Schools throughout Haiti. OUr services have been crippled as well and kindly ask that The Salvation Army be included in your relief effort. God bless you for all that you are doing!

  26. Anonymous says:

    im all for disaster relief to a certain point, but we need to take of our own here in america first. our last few president have put us into the poor house we as americans dont have the funds to keep sending monies to other countries when we cant even support our own here in america, what i am trying to say is that if something like that happened here in america do u think that another country would rise up to the occasion and send us money and food supplies i think not.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Yes Michael, my country (Canada) would send you anything and everything we possibly could – remember us, we were one of the first responders during Katrina.

  28. Anonymous says:

    yes michael other countries did help when we needed it. Need to think of others and not just ourselves.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Suppose Microsoft' partners companies could keep up with donating help to Haiti too!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!