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South Coast Relief Agencies Gearing Up To Help Victims Of Massive Haiti Earthquake

Thomas Lay
Shelterbox USA
Shelterbox USA relief efforts In Haiti in 2010.

Local aid groups Direct Relief and Shelterbox USA are preparing shipments ranging from medicine to tents.

Haiti is reeling in the wake of Saturday’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake which left thousands dead, and tens of thousands homeless.

Two Santa Barbara County based international relief groups are ramping up for major efforts to send aid to the already struggling country.

Direct Relief is helping with medicine and medical supplies, and Shelterbox USA is getting ready to ship tents and other essentials for temporary households.

Dan Hovey is Direct Relief’s associate director of emergency response. He's spent time in Haiti helping with Direct Relief’s past response efforts. He says the one good thing is that they already had some supplies in the country when the quake hit.

Santa Barbara based Shelterbox, which supplies emergency tents and household supplies like solar lamps and water purifiers, also has extensive experience in Haiti.

It's been a rough decade for the country, which has been hit by other earthquakes, hurricanes and more recently the assassination of the nation's president.

Shelterbox USA President Kerri Murray says what makes the situation even more difficult is Tropical Depression Grace, which dumped heavy rain as it passed by Haiti this week.

Complicating efforts to rally global support for Haiti is the situation in Afghanistan. Haiti was only in headlines around the world for a day when the fall of Afghanistan’s government happened. Hovey says it’s harder to get people, organizations and countries to help when they aren’t hearing about a crisis.

You can find out more about the relief efforts by the two agencies at Direct Relief and Shelterbox USA .

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.