An injured child at a Hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Photograph: Ivanoh Demers/AP

An injured child at a Hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Photograph: Ivanoh Demers/AP

Although this website was founded to work to end torture, another of my concerns is disaster relief. Every time a terrible natural disaster strikes, such as the tsunami in Indonesia several years ago, the flood in New Orleans, or the current earthquake crisis in Haiti, I find my heart breaking as I view images of the terrible suffering in these places.

I can’t just stand by. I have to do something to help these poor people. I put up links on some of my high-traffic websites to donate funds for emergency relief in Haiti; but in addition to funding, there is a need for help on the ground.

I visited several websites today trying to find out if anyone in my area was putting together relief teams to go to Haiti. What I found is that disaster relief agencies don’t want untrained people walking in off the street. They need people with medical training; people experienced in fields such as construction, electrical engineering and civil engineering; and individuals with training in disaster relief skills such as search and rescue.

So, I have decided to pursue such training. I do not know where to find it. I will inquire with the local universities, and with international aid agencies.

The next time a terrible event like this occurs, I don’t want to be on the sidelines, wishing there was more I could do. I realize that helping directly in such situations might be traumatic. If enough people were already involved, I would not feel the need to participate directly. But the need is never met in these situations. Hundreds of thousands are sleeping in the street in Haiti. Days on, most have received no food or water. Bodies are everywhere – guaranteeing the spread of disease – and people are still trapped in the rubble. The need is not being met.

Who will meet the need, if not you and me?

Lastly, I urge Muslims and all compassionate people to respond and contribute to the humanitarian aid appeal by Islamic Relief, an Islamic relief organization. The vast majority of funds donated go directly to assistance, not for administrative costs.

Please donate generously in alleviating the suffering of people in Haiti.

You can donate through Islamic Relief USA’s website here:

Haiti Earthquake Emergency Donations

Checks can be mailed to:

Islamic Relief USA, P.O. Box 5640, Buena Park, CA 90622.

In the UK donate here:

Islamic Relief UK Haiti Donations