San Diego-based relief efforts under way Friday for the victims of Tuesday's devastating earthquake in Haiti included fund-raising and charitable donations -- and a memorial service for a former UCSD student who died in the quake.
In Carlsbad, volunteers with the recently merged World Emergency Relief and Rescue Task Force were sending letters to 6,000 of the organization's top donors asking for money for Haiti, said Mark Cooley, the vice president of direct mail. "We need to raise funds for medicines, medical supplies, food and water,'' Cooley said. WEF/RTF has partnerships with several agencies in Haiti that already sponsor schools and senior centers, and those people "can get to some places (others) can't,'' Cooley said.
The Thomas Jefferson School of Law is raising funds for a heavily damaged orphanage in the village of Bon Repos operated by 2009 graduate Vera Valdivia, a one-time San Diego elementary school principal who survived the earthquake. Several buildings of the orphanage, which cares for up to 60 children, collapsed and one child suffered burns, according to the law school. Donations can be made at tjsl.edu/donate-to-haitian-ophanage.
The San Diego-based Sempra Energy Foundation pledged $50,000 to the American Red Cross for relief efforts, the company announced.
The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which earlier this week left Virginia for its new home port of San Diego, was diverted to the disaster scene and reportedly arrived overnight in the harbor of the capital of Port-au-Prince. The Vinson has 19 helicopters and will serve as a floating heliport. The ship also has a huge water-making capability and two surgical suites. "People don't realize that if it's not covered by the media, (that doesn't mean) the problem is solved,'' Cooley said. "This is a very long-term relief effort.''
An estimated 50,000 people died in the quake, and thousands more have been injured or trapped in the debris.
The fatalities include former UC San Diego student Daniel Ryan Kloos, 24, who was volunteering at a children's hospital where his sister worked when the magnitude 7.0 quake struck on Tuesday, and five stories of the building collapsed on him. His sister, Erin, a former University of Washington swimmer, survived. Friends of Kloos held a vigil at the campus to honor his memory.
UCSD students set up a Haiti earthquake relief service in the middle of the University's Library Walk on Friday. Students stood with fund buckets and detailed poster boards of Tuesday's event in hope to raise donations for relief efforts. "The money raised today will be donated to the American Red Cross," said participant Wendy Ronses. "From there the money will be used to donate clothing, food, and water, since that's the thing they need most right now in Haiti. The students hoped to raise $3,000 by the end of the day.
The American Red Cross estimates the quake has killed 40,000 to 50,000 people.