The following guest post about the response after Tropical Storm Agatha was written by Laura Hernon of Link for Health, a blog that strives to improve the health potential of Guatemalans by connecting people with medical efforts throughout the country.
Over the past few days, people on both sides of the border have pondered two main questions:
- Why is there virtually no coverage of the disaster in the States?
- What, besides sending money, can we do to help?
Look, I have no idea what the answer to #1 is. Maybe the world has been so numbed to disasters that it is hard to get a blip on the public’s radar. Here is my humble opinion: If you love Guate, it is up to you to spread the word about the suffering. It really isn’t good enough to sit back and complain about the press. The internet is our friend, and it is up to us to get the word out.
On to #2: I know that it is not much fun to write a check, but that is job-number-one right now. The people on the ground — Guatemalans and Americans –- can get the initial relief work done right now. When you write a check to a reliable (preferably grass-roots) organization you do a couple of things: You get the money straight to where it is needed, and you put some much-needed funds into the Guate economy.
I KNOW that you want to get on a plane right now –- I do, too. What I hear from the NGOs on the ground is that should wait. That being said, there are some folks who had already planned a trip down there for purposes besides disaster relief. If this is you, please find out what is most needed (but not available for purchase in Guate), and bring it with you. I am sure that if you have a suitcase to spare we can put you in touch with someone who will make good use of it.
Another way you can help: RAISE AWARENESS –- oh yeah, I’ve already said that — pictures, videos, personal stories, eyewitness accounts. Post those somewhere on the Internet — your blog, YouTube account, etc. Nag your friends –- some of us are particularly gifted in that –- you know who you are.
Since the crisis began, Common Hope has been delivering emergency water and food to areas most damaged by mudslides and flooding. Within the first few days of the crisis, we delivered thousands of bags of drinking water and thousands of dollars worth of rice, beans, and medical supplies. We know that the need for emergency services and the need to rebuild family homes and livelihoods will continue for some time to come. To help by making an unrestricted donation to be used for the greatest need, please click here.
If you have other ideas, please comment as you wish — below or at Laura’s blog, Link for Health –- ideas are more than welcomed.