Friday, January 15, 2010

Gripping Videos, Calls for Help, Dominate YouTube in Wake of Haitian Tragedy

In the three days since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, we've continued to see hundreds of thousands of people using YouTube to share information and donate money to help those suffering in one of the worst tragedies in recent memory. Since Tuesday, the American Red Cross has been featured on our homepage, collecting donations through videos like this one, which encourages people to give via a Google Checkout link next to the video. The International Red Cross just posted an update to YouTube (embedded below), detailing the situation on the ground. Their message? Goods are on the way, but more money is needed. Oxfam, Concern Worldwide and UNICEF have uploaded similar pleas.

Others have come to YouTube with personal appeals. First Lady Michelle Obama, Jimmy Buffett and Lenny Kravitz are just a few of the figures who are rallying support on YouTube. And people on the ground continue to put a very personal face on the tragedy, filming their experiences with shaky hand-held cameras.

Journalists are also uploading videos that bear witness to the devastation. Reporters like Dave Price at CBS and Rich Matthews of the AP are uploading individual vlogs from the streets of Port-au-Prince, and clips like this one from the AP give a bird's eye view of the damage (warning: this is difficult to watch):

On the ground, videos like this one give us just a glimpse into what life is like right now for Haitian citizens -- through the eyes of a person struggling to make sense of the destruction:

We're keeping CitizenTube updated with the latest clips and are contributing videos to Google's Earthquake Relief landing page as well. Though it could never match the resolve of Haitian citizens struggling to survive in the streets of Port-au-Prince and elsewhere, the outpouring of support on YouTube and elsewhere is encouraging in this time of great crisis.

Cross posted on the YouTube blog


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