Relief agencies speeding up in Haiti

Christian humanitarian organizations from across the aid spectrum are gathering funds and organizing supplies for earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti.

Our family attends a United Methodist church was collecting donations for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). I’m certain your church or ministry are taking similar collections and having similar discussions in congregations – comment to the blog to share your thoughts and experiences.

In interviewing Global Aid Network CEO Duane Zook last week, he cautioned about the need for persistent support and attention. That will be harder to maintain, but shouldn’t be used as an excuse, as Haiti will undoubtedly soon share news time and attention with health care legislation, the Super Bowl and the Oscars, to name a few.

That being said, a New York Times article this morning pointed to glimmers of hope with the story of a 7-year-old girl who survived amid the rubble of a fallen supermarket.

While things may be improving slightly, suggesting there is a light at the end of the tunnel is getting too far ahead of the game.

ChildFund, like many organizations had a standing presence in Haiti to address the country’s cyclical poverty and frequent hurricane strikes.

“We know that even before this disaster children in Haiti were deprived of basic necessities, education and safety,” says Dula James, ChildFund’s vice president of the Americas Region, who was a director for one of the leading international humanitarian organizations in Haiti before joining ChildFund.

“Our priorities in the wake of disasters are to minimize the chaos and setbacks to children’s development that emergencies bring and to support them in significant ways, so that in the aftermath of disaster, when the worst is over, infants are healthy and secure, children are educated and confident, and youth are skilled and involved. “

Lutheran World Relief pointed to the need for water.

“At this point, water is a critical need on the ground. People have been without access to water for days in warm temperatures. Delivering clean water will help save lives in Haiti,” says LWR president John Nunes.

Catholic Relief Services is preparing meal packets for Haitians at existing facilities in the neighboring Dominican Republic. It was fortunate to be able address some initial water needs.

Infrastructure problems which have been widely reported remain perhaps the largest hurdle. Even ambulances are in short supply, reported World Vision staff.
“The basics are the hardest,” said Dave Toycen, president of World Vision Canada. “There was a mile-long line for gasoline. It’s a logistical maze out here.”

Compassion International has worked in Haiti for 42 years and has 230 child development centers in the country.

“The damage is truly catastrophic,” said Compassion International President and CEO Wess Stafford. “We are going to do all we can to provide immediate relief and to continue, without interruption, our long-term work with the children of Haiti to permanently break the terrible cycle of poverty in this, one of the poorest nations on the planet.”

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  1. V.Sowers said:

    Thanks so much for your coverage of Haiti. I wanted to make one clarification with regard to this post. Although our VP Dula James spent two years in Haiti with another NGO, and thus has great insights into the country, ChildFund does not currently have operations on the ground in Haiti. We are partnering with CBM (Christian Blind Mission) to send funds to aid Haiti’s most vulnerable children–those with disabilities. For more information: http://www.childfund.org/help-Haiti

    January 22, 2010
    Reply

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