The massive earthquake which hit Haiti nearly two weeks ago has left up to 200,000 dead, tens of thousands of injured and sick, and 3 million people affected in other ways—out of Haiti’s population of 9 million people.

The American people along with the international community can help make sure that Haiti is not once again going to be forced into debt to deal with this disaster, or to accept conditions on aid that are not compatible with Haiti’s national sovereignty or the interests of the Haitian people. Rather, Haiti’s international debt should be cancelled entirely.

But the highest priority right now is to get as much direct help to the Haitian people as possible. A massive aid effort has been mounted. We encourage everyone to make an individual contribution, as well as getting your unions, community organizations, churches and other groups to pitch in. Every penny counts.

Money, equipment, medicine, supplies and skilled volunteers (doctors, nurses, search and rescue personnel etc) are all needed. There are many excellent charities that are providing urgent help on the ground in Haiti. We encourage you to give what you can to this important humanitarian effort. Here is a just a partial list of ways to help:

Organized labor has stepped to the plate, with a $500,000 donation from the United Auto Workers, and thousands of unionized nurses (from The National Nurse Union) volunteering to go to Haiti to help. Read about what labor is doing and get ideas on how to hook up with labor’s efforts.

You can make contributions by contacting the Haitian Embassy 271 Madison Avenue, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10016. Phone: 212.697.9767. Fax: 212.681.6991.

It is also easy to make a contribution through your cell phone without a credit card. $5 can be sent to via singer Wyclef Jean Yelé Haiti. Just text the word “YELE” to 501501. A $5 donation will be charged to your cell phone bill.

Donations are accepted through UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, which works for children’s rights, their survival, development and protection, guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Oxfam is an international aid group already working in Haiti.

Doctors Without Borders is an independent grasroots effort with mobile hospitals, equipment and personnel on the ground in Haiti.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has long experience working on emergency response.

For those who have family in Haiti, the number 1-888-407-4747 has been set-up by the U.S. government to help you reach your family in Haiti.

The crisis in Haiti will not be solved quickly. As emergency support winds down, we all must seek to keep the Haitian people in our thoughts and support them with our deeds. The Communist Party supports long-term efforts to help rebuild Haiti as an independent and thriving nation and to overcome the poverty and inequality that has plagued our Caribbean neighbor for generations.

For more on the history of Haiti, its people and their struggles, visit People’s World for the latest news and analysis.