Sunday, February 21, 2010
A young survivor of the devastating January 12 earthquake carries water to his family's makeshift shelter in a camp for the homeless in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo by Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance.
WINNIPEG – Humanitarian relief efforts are well underway in Haiti thanks to mounting donations made by Lutherans from around the world.
Since the January 12, magnitude-seven earthquake hammered the small Caribbean nation, killing more than 200,000 people, Lutheran- and Christian-aid agencies have taken the lead on relief efforts.
The Lutheran World Federation’s (LWF) Department for World Services (DWS) reported recently it has supplied thousands of people with food, clean drinking water and essential supplies in cities like Leogane and Gressier, located outside Port-au-Prince.
The Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, a global alliance of churches working with DWS Haiti, reported it, too, has delivered similar supplies and helped out more than 150,000 Haitians.
Sylvia Raulo, director of the DWS Caribbean/Haiti program, said success now depends on how much faith people have in the future and if they are “able to demonstrate a will to rebuild, and perseverance to overcome the very difficult months and years to come.”
Haitian Lutheran church bodies, supported by North American partners such as Canada’s Haiti Lutheran Mission Society, are working to not only provide immediate relief, but are assessing damage to church buildings which often serve as community centres.
Behind relief efforts is a massive international fundraising machine.
Canada Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), which is working with LWF, reported last week it has raised $950,000 for Haitian relief efforts and expects to surpass $1 million.
Yet to come in is another $89,000 in matching funds from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC).
CLWR has submitted a $1.9-million project proposal to the Canada International Development Agency (CIDA). The project will provide non-food items, materials that will help Haitians build temporary, and transitional shelters and provide drinking water and sanitation services.
Meantime, members of the Takuapa Sahatay Lutheran Church, in Thailand, donated about 3,500 baht, or about C$110, to relief efforts. Many church members lost family in the December 26, 2004 tsunami.
The Igelsia Luterana Sínodo de Nicaragua made a similar donation.
Even the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sierra Leone rerouted a container, sent by the US-based Lutheran World Relief (LWR), to Haiti.
As impressive as the donations have been, Haiti requires even more assistance.
About 1.2-million people are currently homeless or living in makeshift accommodations, according to the United Nations, and many don’t even have cotton sheets they can use as tents.
The LWF plans to increase its relief efforts.
Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, a DWS program coordinator, said the next phase of relief efforts will focus on education facilities, water and sanitation, temporary and permanent shelter, psychosocial care, agricultural tools and seeds.
He said relief agencies are encouraging farmers to sow seeds right away in anticipation of a harvest this year.
To make a donation to CLWR visit www.www.clwr.org/donate., call 1-800-661-2597 or 204-694-5602, or send a cheque payable to CLWR to CLWR, 302-393 Portage Ave., Winnipeg, Man., R3B-3H6.
Indicate the donation is for the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.