Information and news about Disaster Relief

It is almost impossible to watch a program on television without seeing an advertisement from one of America’s top pizza restaurants, Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. and is known for delivering more pizza, pasta and wings than any other restaurant in the world. The Pizza Hut name has come very far since its invention in Wichita, Kansas 55 years ago.

Pizza Hut is also a top partner of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest effort to fight hunger worldwide. Pizza Hut has been involved with WFP since 2007 and has donated over $10 million in the form of over 40 million meals to fight hunger in the United States. Pizza Hut also founded the Pizza Hut Harvest Program to independently donate meals to shelters in the United States.

Pizza Hut recently declared that a designated percentage of its World Hunger Relief donations will go to the Philippines. The recent typhoon in the Philippines has left 2.5 million survivors hungry and in need of food. Scott Bergren, President and CEO of Pizza Hut, emphasized the importance of aid to the survivors when he said “the purpose and intent of our partnership with the World Food Programme is to provide relief through food to those most in need, and nowhere is that need more urgent now than in the Philippines.” Bergren also took a moment to thank the WFP for allowing Pizza Hut and Yum! Brands to help so many people.

Other major companies such as Royal Caribbean Cruises, FedEx and Google have also donated to those in the Philippines in light of the recent tragedy.

Lienna Feleke-Eshete

Sources: CNN MoneyMarket Watch
Photo: Entrepreneur

It always seems like the Caribbean nation of Haiti just can’t catch a break. Throughout its history, Haiti has suffered from extreme poverty, corrupt governments, and not to mention catastrophic natural disasters, such as the 2011 earthquake which cost more than 200,000 Haitians their lives.

As if that were not enough, more devastation struck the island nation when a cholera outbreak occurred in October 2010. It has fueled a continuing epidemic, resulting in the deaths of over 8,300 people and the serious illness of 650,000 people, or one out of every 16 Haitians.

The United Nations (UN) is being blamed for causing the outbreak due to the unsanitary conditions at the UN peacekeeping bases. UN peacekeepers were sent to Haiti after their work in Nepal, where cholera is pervasive. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease was  most likely transmitted then to Haiti for the first time in 200 years.

Despite the negativity that seems to surround Haiti at all times, there may be a glimmer of hope. Human rights lawyers have filed a lawsuit against the UN seeking to sue the organization in the form of a compensation claim. The lawyers and Haitian families demand that the UN pays billions of dollars in damages to survivors and the families of those killed by the cholera epidemic.

The claims have been set by a Boston-based activist group of lawyers consisting of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and its Haitian partner firm Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) located in Florida.

The UN has responded by claiming their legal immunity from compensation claims and has therefore rejected the lawsuit and claims made by Haitians affected by the epidemic. However, according to a recent article by The Guardian, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay released a statement saying that she stands “…by the call that victims of those who suffered as a result of that cholera be provided with compensation.”

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently launched a $2.2 billion initiative to combat cholera in Haiti over the next 10 years. Additionally, on October 10, the Security Council voted unanimously to extend the MINUSTAH’s stay in the country one more year, with the peacekeepers formally leaving in October 2014 after 10 years of work in Haiti.

– Elisha-Kim Desmangles
Feature Writer

Sources: MINUSTAH, UN News Centre, The Guardian: UN Sued Haiti Cholera Epidemic, The Guardian
Photo: The Wall Street Journal

Most well-known for his performances on the big screen, Brad Pitt is showing the world that he has much more to offer than just cinematic entertainment value. Pitt has been involved in a number of projects and activist campaigns to help those in need around the world.

Below is a list of five remarkable and inspiring things that Brad Pitt has done for the world:

1. In 2004, Pitt joined the One Campaign as a spokesman alongside Bono to help advocate for an additional 1 percent of the U.S. budget to go towards supplying Africa with basic needs such as clean water, education, medicine, and food. Pitt has made frequent trips to Africa using his celebrity status to successfully draw media attention and support for the campaign.

2. Pitt traveled to Haiti in 2006 to visit a school supported by the Haitian foundation, Yéle Haiti Foundation. There, he assisted the charity by aiding projects focused on bettering health, community development, environment and education in Haiti through media, sports, and music.

3. In 2007, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Pitt started a project in New Orleans to help build environmental friendly housing in the Ninth Ward. He and Angelina Jolie bought a mansion in the French Quarter of New Orleans to ensure that the project would be a part of their daily life. Pitt also teamed up with Global Green USA as a sponsor of a competition to design and build energy-efficient housing in the Ninth Ward that was both environmental friendly and affordable.

4. In addition to physically joining the ranks of advocacy campaigns and organizations, Pitt and Jolie continually show their support for global issues by donating to various foundations. In 2006 alone, the couple is reported to have donated more than $8 million to charity.

5. Last on the list of inspiring things, but certainly not the least, is Pitt’s history of adopting children with Jolie. The couple currently has six children, three of whom were adopted from different countries. The celebrity couple has certainly shown the world that adoption is a powerful way to make a big difference in a child’s life.

– Chante Owens

Sources: Today News, Look to the Stars,
Photo: U2 Station

Operation USA
Operation USA is an international relief agency that focuses on working with grass-roots groups to help alleviate the effects of natural and man-made disasters worldwide. The Los Angeles-based group was a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work on the “International Campaign to Ban Landmines.”

These are ten important facts about it:

  1. Since it was founded in 1979, the Operation has delivered over $350 million for relief and development projects.
  2. Operation USA was the first Western aid agency to become active in Phnom Penh after Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime lost power.
  3. Through its innovative use of 747 cargo jets, it revolutionized aid delivery to Ethiopia during the 1984 famine.
  4. Operation USA was the first American non-governmental organization licensed to work in Cambodia and Vietnam after the Vietnam War ended.
  5. In June 2013, Operation USA, through its partnership with Honeywell Hometown Solutions, opened the Honeywell Ibasho House in Ofunato, Japan. Ibasho roughly translates as “a place where one feels at home.” The house will serve as a gathering place for the local community devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
  6. Operation USA is completely privately funded.
  7. In 2008, the Operation began working with L’Athletique d’Haiti, a Haitian NGO focused on after-school sports programs for children living in the slums of Part-au-Prince. After the 2010 earthquake, the program’s soccer fields were turned into make-shift camps, housing around 500 families. It continues to work with the evolving needs of the people of Port-au-Prince through food aid and expanded organized sport opportunities for children.
  8. During its 33 years, it has worked in 99 different countries.
  9. Through multiple partner organizations, Operations USA is supporting education, livelihood, and health programs in Sri Lanka as the country’s population tries to rebuild from its recent civil war.
  10. 10. Operation USA has a stated focus on education, believing it to be the most cost-effective aid. Accordingly, the group has education projects in China, New Orleans, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

Bonus Fact: Julie Andrews is a founding Board Member, and Rosario Dawson also currently serves on the Board of Directors.

– Lauren Brown

Sources: ICBL, Operation USA
Photo: Food For The Poor