As one of the worst natural disasters recorded in human history and likely the most cataclysmic documented in the digital age, the victims left in the wake of the January 12th earthquake that reduced Haiti to rubble are receiving financial aid from around the world, much of which has been made possible via the power of smartphones like the iPhone and social networking platforms.
From The New York Times:
Old-fashioned television telethons can stretch on for hours. But the latest charity appeal is short enough for Twitter: "Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief." In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, many Americans are reaching for their cellphones to make a donation via text message. And plenty of them are then spreading the word to others on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
"There is an enormous outpouring for this effort," said Wendy Harman, social media manager at the Red Cross. "It's such an easy way to give and pass around through social sites on the Web." The mobile donations are part of a larger surge of money flowing to the relief effort. The Red Cross said it had collected nearly $35 million as of Thursday night, surpassing the amounts it received in the same time period after Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami.
The Red Cross expects that donations made through more established channels - writing a check or on the Web - will still far outweigh text-message giving. But the cellphone campaign may be reaching people who might not otherwise have made the effort to get involved.
To get involved or help in the fundraising efforts, please visit the Red Cross website for more information.