LWF appeals for funds for Haiti earthquake
As death toll rises, thousands of survivors brace for tropical storm heading towards the Caribbean island nation
(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is working together with other humanitarian aid agencies to respond to the urgent needs of thousands of Haitians affected by a powerful earthquake that struck the Caribbean island nation on 14 August. Officials in Haiti have confirmed that over 1,200 people have been killed and thousands of others injured in the quake which hit the south-west of the island close to its third largest city of Les Cayes.
At least 12,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, as well as schools, churches, hospitals and other public buildings. Roads and bridges have also been damaged or blocked by landslides, while powerful aftershocks continue to be reported, further hampering the rescue operations. Aid agencies are warning that the country could face further devastation from a tropical storm that is expected to make landfall shortly in Haiti.
LWF is responding to the emergency through its Joint Office in Haiti, partnering with the German Protestant churches’ agency Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA). Over the past decade, LWF has been supporting impoverished communities affected by a previous earthquake, which claimed over 200,000 lives in 2010, and by Hurricane Matthew, which hit the same area as this recent earthquake and left almost a million and a half people in need of emergency assistance in 2016.
Please pray for the people of Haiti, but also donate to the rescue effort if you possibly can.
Director of the joint LWF/DKH/NCA office in Haiti, Prospery Raymond, co-chairs the ACT Forum Haiti which is coordinating the churches’ response to the current crisis, working closely with local grassroots communities. He said the Survivor and Community Led Responses approach aims to ensure “that the work of ACT members is appropriate and effective, and respects the needs, expertise and leadership of those affected by this disaster.”
Initial interventions by ACT Forum Haiti members are focused on distributing shelter and clean water, as well as psychosocial support for survivors. There is an urgent need for tents and other temporary shelters, as well as for basic necessities including food, clothes, hygiene and first aid kits. Emergency teams heading to the worst affected areas are also in need of vehicles, fuel, mobile phones and SIM cards, since communication lines have been destroyed in areas closest to the epicenter of the earthquake.
Raymond continued: “We are really concerned for the safety of more than 20,000 families who have lost their homes in the earthquake. Most worrying of all is the hurricane which is heading towards Haiti now: schools and churches have also been destroyed, so where are those families going to stay?” LWF and its partners are trying to support them but urgently need funding for this emergency operation. “Please pray for the people of Haiti,” he added, “but also donate to the rescue effort if you possibly can.”
Haiti is in a region prone to natural disasters. Situated in a hurricane corridor and on a continental rift, the country suffers frequent tropical storms, earthquakes and drought on top of political instability and weak government structures. The LWF has been present in Haiti since 1995, partnering with the the government, local authorities and civil society to help people rebuild houses and livelihoods. In the rural areas, almost 90 percent of the population lives below the poverty level and basic social services are practically non-existent.