Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Fandom supports Haiti earthquake relief efforts

For those who don’t know me, I work in the field of natural hazards and disasters, so the recent earthquake in Haiti is something that sits very closely with me. I was sitting in Mammoth, California, on the last day of my holiday when the alert chimed in on my mobile, and I spent most of the plane ride back reading reports and field notices in preparation for returning to work. Disasters strike when you least expect them – they show no consideration for colour, class, creed, or race – they often occur without warning, and there is a scramble to coordinate and offer relief to those in need.

That’s what we’ve seen with this earthquake, and I wanted to highlight the actions of the Fandom in getting involved in an insurmountable task. I saw a link tweeted the other day, gave it a little click, and was blown away but what I found.

Prompted by anger at Pat Robinson's comments, mskathy issued a challenge to all her friends and followers on Twitter who love TwiFic to donate at least $5 to a charity of their choosing in return for a piece of writing. What started out as a personal offering rapidly expanded, and it continues to do so every day, with well over a hundred writers now offering pieces towards a special compilation – I could list them here but it’s growing so quickly it would be out of date by the time you got to the end of this post (and there’s still time to add yourself, so drop an email to twifans4haiti@gmail.com).

I got in touch and asked her what prompted her to put her response together, and she got back to me with the following:

“I want to be inspired by leaders -- political, religious, occupational, etc”

“I wanted to be able to do more, give more, feel less impotent in this situation. I want to set a good example for my own daughter, and show her the way I believe compassionate people behave. After ranting to my husband, with her small ears listening to each word I said, I knew I couldn't just leave it at that. If something makes me angry or frustrated, I usually have a hard time simply sitting by. I believe that becoming part of the solution to a problem is far better than wasting my time bitching about it.”

The smallest, simplest ideas are often the greatest. You’ve been donating in droves, with the total currently standing at $30,743.89 (as of posting), and it’s inspiring that her response to Pat Robinson’s negativity has turned his nonsense into such a positive. So, thanks Pat - thanks for inspiring someone to stand up and provide a focal point – the joke's on you. It makes me remember why I love this community, and why I chose to crawl out of the periphery and get involved.

The link to the post on mskathy’s blog can be found here, along with an up-to-date list of authors involved, and the current tracked total – so go have a look, and leave her a comment:

Sadly, this won’t be the last disaster we see, and without preparation and proper response plans, the problems that we’re seeing in Haiti with a lack of coordination in the relief effort will continue to be seen – but your donations are vital in ensuring that those involved will be able to respond when capable, so please take a moment to donate, whether it’s time in forwarding this article on to someone who might be interested, or through an actual donation.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about earthquake safety, and the things you can do to reduce the risks if you live in an area affected by them, please visit the USGS website here – they have a great education section, and an informative selection of links, activities, and articles. Otherwise, feel free to contact me - I'm catonspeed on Twitter, FF, and gmail.


  1. When I lived in Tampa, and hurricane Andrew hit, I took off with a couple of friends and headed down to Miami with coolers of food and two 40 gallon water containers filled with to the brim. Both their houses they grew up in were obliterated. What should have been a five hour trip turned into a 17 hour trip, we were at a standstill on the turnpike unable to get anywhere. When we got there, it was unbelievable. Unimaginable. I thought two tornadoes were bad, wrong.

    Nice post, Lucy. Very nice post.

  2. Two thumbs up for this post. :)