After one month in Haiti: CWS-supported ACT Alliance helps 150,000 people
Since the earthquake hit parts of Haiti January 12, the 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 benefitted from medical assistance and supplies to health clinics.
By Nils Carstensen/ACT
Port-au-Prince--Since the earthquake hit parts of Haiti January 12, the CWS-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 benefitted from medical assistance and supplies to health clinics.
Church network is saving 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 of tens of thousands of earthquake survivors in the cities, as well 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, CWS and other ACT members have been able to care and support the survivors from the moment the earthquake 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. UN OCHA 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 meager resources. To make matters worse, nobody knows how long they will have to live like this, as rehabilitation of their homes and neighborhoods appears to be a very long way off.
Church World Service is member of the ACT Alliance, an international coalition of churches and related organizations responding to emergencies, collaborating in development work, and providing a shared voice for advocacy.
How to help
Contributions may be made at www.churchworldservice.org/haiti or by phoning 800-297-1516 or by mailing to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (please indicate Haiti Earthquake).
Recognized as one of America's Most Efficient Charities, Church World Service has earned an "A" rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy and was named one of the Top 100 Highly Rated Charities by GiveSpot.com.
More on CWS Haiti earthquake response