If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve inevitably heard about the difficulties of getting aid, supplies, and medical care to those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.
While it is true that the delivery of aid has been hampered by many factors, including infrastructure-related challenges, Week of Compassion can assure you that aid is reaching many of those who need it.
Martin Coria, Church World Service Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, now based in the Dominican Republic and working closely with Servicio Social de Igelesias Dominicana (SSID), noted that with pre-positioned CWS kits and blankets, SSID was able to provide relief to the victims of Haiti's massive earthquake in the first twenty-four hours of the disaster. On Wednesday, January 13, SSID sent a flight with supplies to Port-au-Prince, and their staff was able to see the needs firsthand and quickly provide the most crucial supplies and assistance.
Since then, CWS has established a storage and distribution center in the Dominican Border Town of Jimani, and has begun to provide assistance for Haitians who may try to enter the neighboring Dominican Republic.
Thanks to you, we have helped make possible the following CWS aid and supplies:
• An air-freight arrived on Jan 22 in Santo Domingo. The shipment contained 500 CWS blankets; 1,125 baby kits, 10,595 hygiene kits; 720 tubes of toothpaste; and 25 flashlights with batteries.
• A second shipment, by ocean ship, is to arrive in Santo Domingo on Feb. 2. It contains 500 light-weight CWS blankets; 13,325 hygiene kits; and 375 baby kits.
• Another shipment is also expected to arrive in Santo Domingo on Feb. 2 with 2,950 blankets; 3,150 baby kits; and 7,215 hygiene kits.
• An air shipment of 60 cartons of IMA World Health medicine boxes is expected to arrive in Santo Domingo today, January 26. Each box contains enough essential medicines and medical supplies to treat the routine ailments of about 1,000 adults and children.
Coria also reports that:
• The Episcopal Church of Jimaní has given its building to be used as long as needed for doctors, rescue teams, visitors and volunteers. There are 30 mattresses and secure space to store supplies. This will serve as the hub for CWS and partner operations. A storage/supply center for 100 containers has been established.
• A first aid clinic and emergency room has been located in the Christian School of Parisien, in Haiti, some 8 kilometers from the Haitian/DR border - about two hours from Port-au-Prince. There is space and capacity for no more than 30 patients at a time, and it is secure.
• Food and supply distribution sites have been established across the border through Haitian churches and managed through different Haitian non-profit organizations and community leader associations. The hub of a five-center distribution network is located in Pétionville.
Disciple Don Tatlock, CWS Latin America and Caribbean program manager, continues work with distributing supplies to those in Port-au-Prince, noting the strength of CWS's already-existing relationships in helping to determine priorities for CWS distributions.
Likewise, through Church World Service’s participation in the larger ACT Alliance international ecumenical partnership, Week of Compassion donations have gone to the construction of temporary water systems, providing water purification materials, tents and food packages.
For more information and details, you can check the resources on Week of Compassion’s Haiti site, which include podcasts from Don Tatlock and Donna Derr, CWS director of emergency response, as well as links to CWS and ACT.
We continue to lift up the people of Haiti, all those on the ground working for the recovery effort, and all those who have offered their resources to aid with the relief effort. Week of Compassion is committed to Haiti for the long term. Once the news cameras are gone and the celebrity telethons are long forgotten, we will still be at work in Haiti. Thank you for making that possible.