Watching a tragedy from afar can leave you feeling helpless. But the facilities of the 'instant media' era are not just voyeuristic - they can make a vital difference - securing information, soliciting donations and assisting prompt and better targeted responses from NGOs and international bodies.
A massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile at 03.34 local time on Saturday 27 February. The extent of the damage is still difficult to determine, but buildings have collapsed and more than 300 people are already reported dead.
Haiti's capital "looks like a war zone", and one million people are without shelter following the devastating earthquake that shook the Caribbean nation, the ACT Alliance global network of churches and related agencies has warned.
After a really difficult 72 hours, emergency assistance is beginning to get through to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, said the UK Disasters Emergency Committee. Aid distribution has begun but logistics are still very difficult, says the UN.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has said that Anglican agencies worldwide will give concerted support to urgent relief efforts in Haiti following the huge earthquake there, and has urged people to pray and give in response.
Governmental and NGO aid coordinators are being frustrated in their efforts to assist victims of the huge Haiti earthquake by the country's lack of workable infrastructure - but say that redoubling the effort and contributions is the only response.
The Christian Aid office in Haiti has collapsed and three people have had to be rescued from the rubble, following the country's devastating earthquake. Communications to the country remain very difficult as the relief effort gets underway.
Christian Aid has launched a £1m emergency appeal (www.christianaid.org.uk/haiti-appeal) for victims of the Haiti earthquake. Thousands of people are already feared dead and many more are believed to be critically injured.