Humanitarian Health Action

Donating to survivors of the Haiti earthquake

Internally displaced Haitians line up for food during a UN distribution.

Since 12 January 2010, the World Health Organization has received an outpouring of phone calls and email messages from individuals wishing to show their support to the people of Haiti by donating money and supplies or by volunteering their time and efforts to the response. WHO would like to thank all those who have contacted the Organization to show their support and sympathy.

There are several ways in which you can support WHO’s work:

Cash donations from the public

Cash donations are by far the most effective way to support the response. Together with their health partners, WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which as also is the WHO Regional Office for the Americas, are appealing for more than US$ 34 million to bring much-needed health aid to the victims of the earthquake. These funds are urgently needed and will enable us to implement the following emergency activities:

  • restore early warning and surveillance networks to prevent communicable disease outbreaks
  • provide basic health care to earthquake survivors
  • Ensure that the people of Haiti have basic medicines, supplies and safe drinking water.

WHO will ensure these actions reach those who need them most: the injured, pregnant women, newborn children, people experiencing trauma or mental problems, and those suffering from chronic diseases such as tuberculosis.

Donations for WHO and PAHO can be made through the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), an independent philanthropic organization partner of the Pan American Health Organization.

Cash donations from companies

President Clinton, the UN’s Special Envoy for Haiti, has mobilized a number of corporations for the relief operations. Cash donations from the private sector should be addressed to the WHO Partnerships and UN Reform Cluster at

In-kind donations

While the people of Haiti are in great need of medicines and medical supplies, unsolicited in-kind contributions can sometimes do more harm than good. Experience tells us of airports and ports overwhelmed by the arrival of unsolicited goods, expired medicines, and drugs with labels in a language that is not spoken in the country. Moreover, destroying unusable medicines and supplies can be more expensive than the goods themselves. Cash donations on the contrary allow partners to buy medicines and supplies in the quantities needed based on assessments and to distribute them swiftly where they are needed.

WHO, together with more than 100 humanitarian organizations, has developed guidelines on drug donations:

Information on donations received and how they were used will be posted to the Health Action in Crises web site.