Haiti Update - One Month Later
After one month in Haiti, United Church of Christ donations reach 150,000+ people
Since the earthquake hit parts of Haiti January 12, the UCC supported ACT Alliance has assisted more than 150,000 people. The majority of people are assisted with ongoing support such as water, sanitation, shelter or regular food supplies/meals. Others have received relief items such as cash, family kits or hygiene sets. Others have benefited from medical assistance and supplies to health clinics.
The ACT Alliance, working with numerous local organisations, is assisting some of the most vulnerable among the victims of the earthquake in Port-au-Prince (including Bel Air and Cite Soleil), Gressier and in Jacmel and Bainet in the south.
The network of churches saved lives
Churches and other civil society networks in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic are working with members of the ACT Alliance on both sides of the border. While difficult to quantify at this time, their efforts, particularly in places not reached by international humanitarian actors, are crucial for the survival and relative well-being for tens of thousands of earthquake survivors in the cities and not least in rural parts of Haiti, where more than 450,000 people have sought refuge. In these areas local community networks and self help groups are often the sole providers of assistance. Working with them made ACT able to care for and support the survivors from the moment the earth quake hit Haiti.
200 people, one toilet
Despite weeks of efforts by local and international humanitarian actors, the needs in the earthquake affected parts of Haiti continue to be enormous. Conditions for most of the estimated 1.2 million people living in improvised camps and shelters remain unbearably crammed and poor. The United National has identified large gaps in provision of shelter and sanitation. Only 280,000 people have received some shelter material. That’s less than 25% of the target. Only 120,000 have received transitory shelter, much less than the 620,000 people who need it. Equally, only 3,000 latrines have been provided to people in temporary settlements, a far cry from the 18,000 toilets needed. Often 200 people have to share one toilet.
Those who fled
Very little is known about the conditions of the large group of people who have fled to the rural areas - only a general sense that food prices are increasing dramatically and that the hosting communities have great difficulties assisting the newcomers out of their own meagre resources. To make matters worse, nobody knows how long they have to live like this as rehabilitation of their homes and neighbourhoods appear to be a very long way off.
Within the next month, UCC supported ACT members will continue to increase the number of people benefitting from their activities with a continued focus on shelter, water, sanitation, psycho-social activities as well as food and non-food distributions.
The following ACT Alliance members are working in Haiti; Lutheran World Federation,
Norwegian Church Aid, Christian Aid, Church World Service, Diakonie Katastrofehilfe,
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and Church of Sweden. Watch a video of ACT in Haiti.
United Church of Christ Partner updates
The Rev. Felix Ortiz, Global Ministries Area Executive for Latin America & Caribbean, paid a pastoral visit to GM partner, CONASPEH, shortly after the earthquake. He is returning this weekend along with Daniel Gourdet, former GM Missionary with CONAPEH and a native of Haiti, to again visit CONASPEH and House of Hope, gather assessment information of damage and destruction to property and programs and work with CONASPEH and House of Hope leadership as they continue to develop plans for the immediate, near and long-term future. Patrick & Francois Villier, leaders of CONASPEH and Polycarpe Joseph, Director of House of Hope, have chosen to live in the out-of-doors in solidarity with the Haitian people. The Villiers and Joseph have organized community kitchens which are daily providing hot meals to 60 and 600 people, respectively.
IMA World Health has shipped Medicine Boxes with medications and supplies to treat common illnesses for 1,000 people up to 2 months. Also provided have been Safe Motherhood Kits containing basic surgical supplies for childbirth.
CWS Refugee Resettlement affiliates in Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Newark, New York City and Boston are providing assistance to injured Haitian’s who have been medically evacuated to hospitals in these cities. UCC volunteers are needed to assist in hosting and extend extravagant hospitality.
UCC members and friends have donated over $1 million dollars in support of the Haiti Earthquake Relief fund, with more gifts arriving each day. Thanks to this generous outpouring of love and compassion, the United Church of Christ is now able to financially accompany our Haitian sisters and brothers on the long road to recovery.