Haiti was rocked by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12, 2010. Thousands of Haitian citizens perished and millions were affected. Many countries have pledged aid including Belize, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, France, Israel, Iceland, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom. Details of their pledges may be revealed after the damage has been assessed.
For those countries, large and small, that jumped into action immediately, let's take a look at their efforts in terms of each nation's size and population. Estimated calculations are based on initial pledges at time of writing and are expected to change. (For tips on what you can do to get ready for catastrophic events, check out our slideshow, 10 Ways To Prepare For Nature's Worst.)
- United States
Estimated Per-Capita Pledge: 32 cents
The United States has taken the lead roles in orchestrating earthquake relief efforts. In addition to humanitarian aid, President Barack Obama promised at least $100 million in funds, and sent search and rescue teams, Coast Guard assistance, airport control and airlifts to drop supplies and transport the injured. The U.S. may top the list in terms of the value of overall assistance provided by one country, however given its size and population of 308 million, it may not end up being the largest donor on a per capita basis.
Estimated Per-Capita Pledge: $1.67 (includes $50 million matching pledge)
The Government of Canada launched Canada's Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. Under this plan, for every dollar donated to the fund by individual citizens, the government will contribute one dollar to the fund, up to a total of $50 million. If individual Canadians donate $50 million, then the total amount of the fund will be $100 million. The government has stressed that the overall limit will be subject to review, actual needs in Haiti and the "ability of humanitarian and development assistance partner organizations to address those needs." Canada initially pledged $5 million in aid including helicopters, a disaster relief team and ships with supplies, equipment and personnel. However, Canada's per-capita donations are expected to rise significantly once the final tally from the Earthquake Relief Fund are in.
Estimated Per-Capita Pledge: $1.31
Guyana has pledged $1 million of earthquake aid. The amount may seem small relative to the assistance offered by other nations, but not when Guyana's size and population taken into account. Guyana is the third smallest independent South American nation and has a population of approximately 762,000.
Estimated Per-Capita Pledge: $3.72
Norway has pledged $17.5 million to Haiti. This Northern European nation has a population of fewer than five million, making its aid package one of the most robust on a per capita basis. In addition to the cash pledge, the Norwegian Red Cross set up a field hospital and sent emergency supplies.
- Trinidad and Tobago
Estimated Per-Capita Pledge: 75 cents
This Caribbean island nation holds two main islands, totaling less than 2,000 square miles. The islands have a combined population of about 1.34 million people. In the days following the earthquake, Trinidad and Tobago pledged $1 million for relief.
Estimated Per-Capita Pledge: 68 cents
This small West African country also pledged $1 million for earthquake aid. With a population of approximately 1.475 million people, in terms of aid promised, the nation is packing a relatively powerful per capita punch.
Estimated Per-Capita Pledge: 47 cents
Australia pledged an initial $10 million of assistance to Haiti to come in the form of humanitarian relief and reconstruction assistance. Geographically speaking, Australia is a large nation. However, its population of about 21.4 million is very small (about one-fourteenth) relative to the United States.
Members of the international community have taken individual steps to assist those left to live in post-earthquake Haiti. Pledges of cash and humanitarian assistance will continue to pour in as the state of the tiny nation is assessed. Due to their size and influence, it may be easy to focus on the contributions of the larger nations; however, several small countries are pitching in. Their support is valuable and much needed.