In Haiti, CWS expedites medical supplies, turns attention to children and people with disabilities
Following this morning's 5.9 aftershock (lowered from 6.1) in quake-decimated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Church World Service staff on the ground continue to expedite emergency aid to those in need, while also turning attention to vulnerable children and people with disabilities. Emergency hygiene and baby care kits and blankets now are being distributed.
A quake survivor gives her daughter a bath amid the rubble in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Belair. Water remains in short supply. CWS and its partners are helping to provide basics.
Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT
Local Haitian agency's offices destroyed, years' work 'feels like a victim of the disaster'
EDITORS, PRODUCERS: CWS's Don Tatlock in Port-au-Prince available for interview, Martin Coria in Dominican Republic, and CWS CEO John L. McCullough from New York
High def video b-roll will be available in coming days, by request
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI--Following this morning's 5.9 aftershock (lowered from 6.1) in quake-decimated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Church World Service staff on the ground continue to expedite emergency aid to those in need, while also turning attention to vulnerable children and people with disabilities. Emergency hygiene and baby care kits and blankets now are being distributed.
With ocean shipping schedules backed up, the agency quickly diverted part of a 40-foot container shipment of emergency kits scheduled to leave tonight, with the remainder to be expedited by fastest means available.
"We've also scheduled an air shipment on Thursday (January 21) of medicine boxes given the ongoing desperate medical needs of survivors," says CWS Disaster Response Program Director Donna Derr. "As soon as they arrive in Port-au-Prince, we'll provide some of those to our long-time local partner the Christian Center for Integrated Development (SKDE), who manages a small clinic there."
Each IMA (Interchurch Medical Assistance) medicine box contains enough essential medicines and medical supplies to treat the routine ailments of about 1,000 adults and children. Medical responders and the few clinics now operating are crying out for more supplies, where even aspirin is scarce and shipments of medicines and supplies are in stasis at the airport or waiting on ships.
Trauma care team arriving
From Port-au-Prince, CWS's Don Tatlock reports that three trauma counselors and psycho-social care specialists have arrived to provide services for individuals, especially children and aid workers who also are suffering in the wake of the death, injuries, loss and tragedy, of a disaster as great as the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. CWS's local partners are carrying their own losses and the setbacks to their work on the island around in their hearts even as they help others.
"Today, we accompanied Ernst Abraham to the Service Chretien d'Haiti offices, which were destroyed. It was very emotionally wrenching as he talked about the programs they had worked so hard to build, such as projects to serve those with disabilities, and how the momentum of those initiatives and all that had been accomplished over the last years felt like a victim of this disaster as well."
Church World Service, which has issued a national appeal for cash donations and contributions of CWS hygiene and baby care kits, first began work in Haiti in 1954, when it assisted Haitian churches in the founding of Service Chretien d'Haiti, and then provided relief supplies for survivors of Hurricane Hazel. The agency most recently has been working with local Haitian partners to provide development and agriculture assistance and response to disasters like the brutal hurricanes of recent years.
The CWS team, working in Port-au-Prince and from a coordination center in the Dominican Republic, has sent pre-positioned supplies from the D.R. and plans to obtain food from markets in Haiti, if possible, but all other items will definitely need to come in from outside, said CWS's Martin Coria. A collection center for water, food and clothes--to be distributed by churches in Haiti--has been set up on the Dominican Republic border, says Coria, who directs the agency's work in Latin America and the Caribbean.
CWS serving needs of Haitian migrants, monitoring issues
Church World Service is "closely monitoring developments in the displacement of Haitians from Port-au -Prince and the social and legal challenges to Haitian immigrants living in the United States," said Erol Kekic, director of the agency's immigration and refugee program.
The CWS Miami Office and 17 Board of Immigration Appeals-recognized CWS affiliate offices across the United States are prepared to provide immigration legal services and assistance with applications for Temporary Protected Status, which has just been extended to Haitians. The well-established Cuban/Haitian Program based in the CWS Miami Office is ready to respond to the needs of any new arrivals from Haiti, even as it continues to serve the Haitian-American community through its Refugee Youth and Family Program in Miami and its Haitian Family Services Program in Palm Beach.
Since its founding in 1946, CWS has helped refugees resettle to the United States and is a long-time advocate for and provider of social and legal assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants. The agency also supports programs elsewhere in the world for populations displaced by conflict and disaster.
For further information on the CWS response in Haiti, visit: www.churchworldservice.org.
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.
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