DALLAS ― One way North Texas is helping Haiti earthquake victims is by sending water filters because so many people will need clean water just to survive.
The American Red Cross is also urging North Texans to donate money. Volunteers at the organization's Dallas headquarters worked the phones Wednesday with many North Texans asking what they could do to help.
The distribution of them giving us any kind of in-kind donation presents such challenges that our very strong preference is if people want to help, they can help financially, said Gail McGovern, American Red Cross CEO.
McGovern was already in Dallas when the breaking news hit that Port-au-Prince is virtually decimated, leaving several million Haitians displaced.
American Red Cross disaster relief specialists are already on the ground, but the biggest request from the agency is to please give money.
Last night we upped that pledge to $1 million, and we transferred some funds right away, McGovern said.
Texas Baptist Men are loading 5,000 water filters to send to Haiti. Their challenges are getting clearance from Port-au-Prince to bring in an airplane and to get security in place to ensure proper distribution.
The infrastructure there has been virtually destroyed, said Dick Talley, Texas Baptist Men disaster director. We don't have the police and fire there we would normally work with, and so it s imperative we are working with local people who have a system in place that can protect the filters and the people doing the distribution.
They are providing filters that will be highly sought after, since they make dirty water clean and can save more lives.
You can live a month without food, but you can live three days without water, Talley said.
Texas Baptist Men don't know yet how many volunteers they will send.
The American Red Cross is trying to send mostly money. They say for each dollar you spend, 90 percent of it will go to Haiti.
If you want to help the people of Haiti, be careful which charity you choose.
The Better Business Bureau has warned fraudulent charities will likely emerge as they did after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. You can go to the BBB s Web site to research a charity.