Monday, January 18, 2010

Help Haiti

One morning, years ago, I was lying in bed in-between that time when you wake up and that time when you actually get up. As I lied there, I heard what sounded like a vehicle approaching. It got closer and closer and changed from a humming noise that a car would make to that of a truck. As it got louder, the windows began to rattle like an old, single-pane bay window would when a truck drives by (I used to live on a quite street in a small town). The sound went from that similar to a truck engine and rumbling to that of a train that seemed as if it was going to ride right through the room where I was sleeping.

I had always thought of an earthquake as moving the ground underneath oneself in a side-to-side motion. Instead, it took the bed I was lying in and threw it in the air over and over again until it was over, and just as quickly roared away. It lasted only a few seconds, but it felt much longer. Luckily, everyone was okay and there was little damage to buildings.

That earthquake registered a 4.2 and I can't imagine experiencing the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that has devastated Haiti. As a reminder, the earthquake that rocked Haiti was one thousand times stronger than the one I experienced.

There has been plenty of response from the architectural community. I had thought there wouldn't be much immediate need for our services until the debris was cleared. However, in speaking with Walter Street, President of the Chicago Chapter AIA, there are opportunities to get involved in very early preliminary planning process. He recommended clicking the banner on AIA National's website.

Other responses, to name a few, include those from Architecture for Humanity, Article 25, and Emergency Architects Australia, who says its Canadian arm of the charity has an extensive relationship with Haiti and is mobilizing its efforts.

Not an architect or can't contribute services or labor, you can donate funds to Architecture for Humanity's Haitian relief effort, 10% of the proceeds for the Chicago Chapter's fundraiser tomorrow are going toward that same fund. You may also donate to the Red Cross, as recommended by many, including the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

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