Initial CWS Emergency Appeal: Haiti Earthquake

The global humanitarian community, including Church World Service, has begun responding to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

The global humanitarian community, including Church World Service, has begun responding to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday (Jan. 12).

Photo of Martin Coria, CWS Latin America/Caribbean Regional Coordinator
Hear CWS’ Martin Coria, Latin America / Caribbean Regional Coordinator, describe how CWS’ local partners fared in Haiti & the Dominican Republic, and the strategy to help rebuild.
Download audio (mp3, 1:54)

Photo courtesy Tallu Schuyler

Much of the capital was reduced to rubble, and at this early stage estimates of casualties and damage are not known, though thousands are believed to have perished.  The Haitian president, René Préval, described the death toll as unimaginable.

The International Red Cross has estimated that more than 3 million people have been affected.  In calling for a major international effort to assist Haitians, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called the situation “a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required.”

CWS Response

CWS is issuing this initial appeal with additional revisions planned in coming days.

CWS, a member of the ACT Alliance, is in contact with long-time partners in Haiti, including other ACT Alliance members, Christian Aid and the Lutheran World Federation, and local partners Service Chretien d’Haiti, SKDE and the Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice.

EFPJ’s House of Hope is a day school CWS supports in Port-au-Prince.  Preliminary information indicates the orphanage is damaged, and some staff are trying to determine the well-being of other staff and children.  Christian Aid colleagues report their office is damaged and are still trying to reach unaccounted-for staff.  CWS has also made contact with long-time partner Lutheran World Federation in Haiti.

CWS partners in the Dominican Republic have been contacted and accounted for.  CWS contacted Cuban missionaries from long-time partner, the Cuban Council of Churches, which works with people with disabilities in Haiti.  CCC staff are currently in the border city of Dajabon trying to account for a dozen of volunteers they work with in Port-Au-Prince.

CWS is sending funds to local partners in Haiti as it continues to assess the situation, and is ready to provide CWS Kits and CWS Blankets to those in need.  Church World Service anticipates that in conjunction with our partners (some of whom have been directly affected by the earthquake) we will be providing temporary shelter, food and health assistance.  CWS will also be supporting communities in the long struggle to rebuild from this disaster - the worst earthquake to strike Haiti in 200 years.

In speaking to CWS staff today, CWS Latin America and Caribbean Coordinator Martin Coria said communications with CWS partners in Haiti remains difficult.  But he praised “the resilience and spirit of the Haitian people”, whom he said have endured poverty and repeated humanitarian and political crises for many years.

How to help

Contributions to support this emergency appeal may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515.  Please designate: Haiti Earthquake, Appeal Number #6762.  You can also click here to donate online now.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding, please visit or call the CWS Hotline, (800) 297-1516.

CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151
Program Director:

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676,
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526,


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