Northwest agencies mobilizing to help Haiti


by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

Posted on January 13, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 13 at 6:22 PM

SEATTLE - Relief agencies in the Northwest are responding to the earthquake in Haiti. Teams from World Concern and World Vision are on their way, with more headed out in the next couple of days. 

Right now you can't send your own supplies because there's no direct way to get it there. So the best way to help is money. And several relief organizations are making it easier than ever to donate.

Prayer powers the call center at World Vision, where they are relying on their faith and the kindness of strangers as they answer the call to help Haitians in the midst of their own personal hell.

The phones are ringing off the hook, as the donations start pouring in. World Vision is one of several relief agencies in Western Washington working overtime while its 370 workers in Haiti begin to assess the damage.

Communications are down, roads are blocked and casualties are mounting. Relief kits containing candles, blankets, the basics are already there. The need is great. But the support, especially from our region, may be even greater.

"I think people on the West Coast and this ring of fire have a special understanding of what this is. We know what is feels like when the ground shakes really hard, really long," says John Yeager with World Vision.

At Sea-Tac Airport on Wednesday, Merry Fitzpatrick is in for a hard, long mission in Haiti. This isn't the first time she's gone into the disaster zone. She's been doing this kind of work for 15 years. But for her, this time it's personal. There has been no word on the fate of World Concern's 112 staff or their families in Haiti.

"This isn't something that we're just going to and responding to, this is something that's happened to our staff," said Fitzpatrick.

The majority of this country had nothing before the quake hit. Now they're left with even less.

The Red Cross has also made it very easy to donate. You can make a $10 donation simply by texting "Haiti" to 90999. Already the text donations alone amount to more than $1 million for the Red Cross Haiti relief efforts.