On the 12th of January, 2010 a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit near Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. By the 24th of January at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated 3 million people were affected by the quake and death tolls range from 230,000 to 316,000. Approximately 300,000 people were injured, and 1.5 million people initially were displaced due to the 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed or were severely damaged.
During that month the Harry Potter Alliance joined forces with members of other fandoms from various popular boosk, movies, and tv series (including Heroes, Lost, True Blood, The Wire and Firefly) and launched an ambitious campaign called Helping Haiti Heal. With the additonal help of the Wizard Rock Community, Maureen Johnson, John and Hank Green, and others, the HPA auctioned over 100 special prizes, including a full signed set of the Harry Potter books and a thank you card donated by J.K. Rowling herself. In just two weeks the HPA raised over $123,000 for Partners in Health in Haiti. The initial goal of sending a single cargo plane loaded with medical supplies was expanded to five planes in total: Harry, Hermione, Ron, DFTBA and Dumbledore.
On February 5th J.K. Rowline passed a message to the HPA Community via Melissa Anelli that reads:
On March 5th the first of the planes, a Boeing 727 cargo plane dubbed "Harry" left Miami and arrived in Port-au-Prince a few hours later.
"To everyone who has helped raise such an incredible amount for the earthquake survivors in Haiti: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
Like many others, I made a personal donation to the DEC shortly after the earthquake happened; but never did I expect such an amazing response from all of you. You cannot imagine how awed, moved and humbled I am to know that the planes named Harry, Ron and Hermione are going to be flying off to help. I did not need this to remind me how extraordinary Harry's fans are, but you keep giving me proofs. THANK YOU! - Jo
Over the next few months the other four planes would gradually follow. And finally, just after the departure of the fifth and final plane a note (below) arrived by owl from J.K. Rowling.