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Haiti Earthquake Appeal: Orphan charity takes £300,000 in first day

Haiti Earthquake Appeal: Orphan charity takes £300,000 in first day

SOS Children UK is still appealing for funds after taking more than £300,000 in donations and commitments in its first day of Haiti Earthquake Appeal, as its trucks arrive in Port au Prince, SOS says it needs £4m.

Chief Executive Andrew Cates said "we are hugely grateful that most of the support has been in Emergency Relief sponsorships and other direct debits. Rebuilding lives needs to go on long after the TV cameras have left and experience after the Asian Tsunami and Kashmir earthquake gives us a good idea how many of these donors will continue supporting orphans in Haiti in the longer term. We are delighted that people are getting the message: quick cash helps to find bodies but the longer term commitments and sponsorships are need to give orphaned children any chance in life"

"SOS Children is in a unique position" he added "not only do we have experienced staff in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (the Emergency program is being run from the Dominican side of the island where there is infrastructure) because although our office and Social Centre in Port au Prince is badly damaged both our Primary and Secondary School in Port au Prince (which opened in 1984 with over 300 pupils in nine classrooms) and our Children's Village with 15 family homes are usable: probably the closest usable buildings to the centre of the disaster".

Different charities specialise in different roles in disasters, SOS Children is very much the specialist in dealing with unaccompanied children, keeping them safe, tracing families and typical absorbing hundreds into their own Children's Villages once other options are exhausted. SOS has said that they need around £4m (5m Euros) to fulfil its role. Experts who led SOS's work in the 2007 Peru Earthquake are leading the effort partly because many Haitian staff are preoccuppied with finding and helping their own families.

Today the first SOS Children trucks from the Dominican Republic will arrive in Port au Prince.