Severe flooding in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

June 1, 2004

Over 1,000 people have been confirmed dead in the two countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Over 1,000 people have been confirmed dead in the two countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic since reports began emerging of the disaster on the Caribbean Island, Hispanola on Monday, May 24, 2004.

It’s horrific, heavy rains spawned torrents of mudslides and debris that swept away homes and buried residents, while many hundreds remain missing according to officials.

The worst-hit towns are Fond Verrette and Mapou in Haiti, and Jimani in the Dominican Republic. These towns were submerged in up to 10 feet of water, and are reported to have the highest number of deaths and missing persons.

Relief workers are trying to get food, bottled water and chlorine tablets to people as well as plastic sheeting for shelter as rain continues to fall. Relief workers are worried people will try to seek shelter in areas that are still dangerous.

In addition, the number of bodies that have not yet been found is creating concerns. Authorities fear that water may be contaminated if the bodies are not found soon and buried.

Mud and landslides have washed out roads, preventing most rescuers from getting in. With the current political and economic crisis in Haiti, the flooding can be described as a disaster within an emergency within a tragedy!

Church World Service Disaster Liaison Don Tatlock, who has been in Haiti since May 15 assisting partners there with the ongoing Haitian humanitarian crisis, has helped coordinate a CWS response with local Haitian and Dominican partners that includes the reallocation of a food shipment to flood survivors in Haiti.

The United Church of Christ is responding through the following channels:

1. Our UCC/Disciples Missionaries in Haiti - Daniel and Sandra Gordet, have been conducting an assessment with our partner CONASPEH - the Council of National Spiritual Churches in Haiti and will be meeting to formulate a request for assistance. We will support this request from One Great Hour of Sharing Funds.

2. The UCC as a member of Church World Service (CWS) is supporting our partners in the Dominican Republic and Haiti to access the needs of their people and prepare appropriate responses. We expect to receive an actual financial appeal from CWS soon and will respond initially with OGHS funds and are inviting UCC congregations to make special gifts for this response.

How you can help

1. Pray for people who live in communities affected by severe storms.

2. To help those affected by disasters you may send gifts made out to your UCC Conference and marked in the memo portion "International Disaster Fund" to the Conference Office with a note asking them to send the gifts of the Office for Global Sharing of Resources, Wider Church Ministries, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

OR

3. Send gifts, made out to Wider Church Ministries and marked in the memo portion "International Disaster Fund" to the Office for Global Sharing of Resources; Wider Church Ministries; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.

OR

4. Make a secure on-line donation.

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