SPIE extends deepest condolences on behalf of the Society's members and friends to the people whose lives have been so terribly affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti. No words can appropriately express the anguish we feel over this tragic loss of life and our concern for the great difficulties facing those who have survived.
SPIE leadership have expressed their support for the many relief efforts underway as the world responds to the needs of the Haitian people. Among these:
- International Red Cross volunteers are on the ground in many affected areas. The American Red Cross has set up a program whereby cell phone users may text "HAITI" to 90999 to initiate a $10 donation which will be charged to the individual's cell phone bill. The organization also accepts donations by phone via 1 800 733 2767 or online at redcross.org.
- Facebook, Google, the Red Cross, and other organizations are producing missing-persons lists. One report noted that the Facebook group "Earthquake Haiti" already has more than 160,000 members.
- With telecommunications landlines down, Twitter is providing a crucial communications broadcast channel within and from outside the country. Groups such as one tagged "#relativesinhaiti" are seeing heavy traffic. Télécoms San Frontières has sent mobile telecommunications teams into areas where lines are down.
- The United Nations World Food Programme is gearing up to distribute ready-to-eat meals to 2 million people, and will work to establish kitchens in Port-au-Prince to provide prepared foods.