Everyday on my way to work I pass the California Nurses Association building. Yesterday there were news cameras in front of it because, in partnership with National Nurses United, they are sending 700 nurses to Haiti to help with the urgent relief effort.
Unfortunately I can't for the life of me find the segment that aired on KTVU. But I think the 30 seconds of it spoke volumes about relief efforts such as these. To summarize, the spokesperson for National Nurses United said that they had already found housing (in a country where housing has been devastated) for 150 nurses, because they have learned to bypass government agencies and work directly with health care providers in the location they are going to. They learned that lesson after Katrina.
These are before and after images of the Presidential Palace in Haiti:
That is not what the White House looked like after Katrina.
If you would like to donate to the relief effort, Mother Jones has a good list of people already mobilized and helping the effort, as well as ways to get information about friends and relatives who are there.
If anyone can find the video let me know.