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Thank you. Your help is reaching people.

As of 11am today the public have donated £640,000 to our Haiti appeal, which is truly amazing (and got a round of applause at our emergency meeting in the London office this morning). A huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far.

We’re working hard to make your donations count but I’ve heard today about some of the problems our staff are still facing once they manage to get into the country (like Hannah, who’s been blogging, and Jon, who’s been sending phonecasts in by satellite phone).

All experienced aid agencies are careful not to create problems by taking a lot of aid out onto the streets, dropping it from helicopters or the backs of trucks. Although people need to see that help’s getting through, it’s important to make sure it gets to those who need it most, not just the strongest who can fight for it. Some residents giving interviews may not even realise that aid is already reaching them through hospitals or other official channels.

There are real dangers here, even for the children who survived the quake. Many have been separated from their families and are alone and at risk of abuse and trafficking – not to mention outbreaks of disease. Protecting them will mean a lot of hard work. But our teams haven’t, as yet, encountered first-hand the violence being reported in the news. Although damage to buildings has meant some prisoners have broken out, the majority of citizens here are law-abiding, and part of what our staff can do is talk to them about what aid is on its way, and explain what the delays are.

It’s true that Save the Children hasn’t faced conditions as tough as this during a response for some time, but we have experienced them – and, with 25 years’ experience of working in Haiti we’re well-placed to find the best ways to respond. Most insecurity and violence tends to be in the centre, for instance, and by looking at the bigger picture we can more easily help those outside the worst-affected epicentre – we’re already running camps for people who’ve had to leave their homes and go outside the earthquake-affected area.

So aid is reaching people, and hard work on a huge scale will bring more and more help in over the next days and weeks. Helping people recover here will take not just weeks or months, but years, so please do keep giving what you can.

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