I post this this morning as the headlines keep flooding in about the devastation in Haiti. Imagine our country being in this vulnerable situation. Our hospitals, our schools, our churches crumbled. Our family members missing. Our children buried at school under rubble. I ask you today to donate whatever you and your family can donate. Even $10 will supply 1,000 people with clean water for a day. Haiti needs our help. It needs our hearts and our hands. Please consider, in the end...we are all one.
Eyewitness account: "Everything is urgent" by Sophie Perez, CARE in Haiti country director Jan. 13, 2010
Sophie Perez, CARE's country director in Haiti, was in the CARE office in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake hit at about 5 p.m. local time Jan. 12, 2010. We reached her by phone at 6.30 a.m. local time Jan. 13.
"It was terrifying. The quake lasted for more than a minute. We were at the office when it happened, and the whole office was shaking really hard. People were screaming, crying, running. Everything was moving. I saw a building of nine floors completely collapse right in front of me. A bank collapsed. Even if a building isn't totally destroyed, you can't access the area because of the danger.
"Our staff who were with me in the office are safe, but most of their houses are collapsed. I've heard other aid workers from other agencies are still missing. Everyone is trying to find their families. It seems the whole city was affected – to the north, south, everywhere. It was difficult to get through the streets. Buildings have collapsed everywhere, and there is rubble blocking the roads. Many areas you can't go by car. You can only get through by foot, because there is so much debris.
"Last night, people were sleeping outside because they were afraid to go back inside their homes. Many of the houses are destroyed anyway. There were eight aftershocks last night. Thousands of people were sleeping in the streets.
"We're particularly worried about the children, because so many schools seem to have collapsed. In Haiti, children go to school in the afternoon. Children were still in school when the earthquake hit, so there are many children trapped. It's horrifying. The slums on the hills have also completely collapsed. We've heard of landslides, with entire communities being wiped out.
"I've been here for many years, and I've experienced a few small earthquakes. But I've never been through anything this strong. My house is okay, but I spent the night outside by the gate with my children. There were eight aftershocks during the night, and we woke up every time. My children are terrified. Everyone is terrified.
"It is just morning here now, and I can hear helicopters working on the search and rescue. The immediate need is to rescue people trapped in the rubble, then to get people food and water. Everything is urgent."