HOTLINE - week of July 12, 2010

Haiti--Six months after the quake, CWS sees some successes amid broad challenges, recovery efforts continue full throttle; Severe flooding devastates communities in Brazil.

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Young woman in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Haiti—A young participant in the CWS program for persons with disabilities in Port-au-Prince.
Photo:  Catianne Tijerina/ACT.


Six months after the devastating Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake, Church World Service and others acknowledge that the road to recovery will be long and difficult.

"We are all frustrated by the apparent lack of speedy recovery for Haiti," says Aaron Tate, Haiti earthquake response coordinator for CWS, on this six-month anniversary of the quake on July 12.

"Despite the multiple challenges of implementing programs in the post-earthquake environment, CWS has accomplished much, and continues to work to address unmet needs," Tate adds.

In Port-au-Prince, Tate says, children are back in classes now, in a safe and standing building that CWS helped purchase; the community center is run by the Ecumenical Foundation for Peace and Justice, a CWS partner.  The new structure houses educational and vocational training programs, as well as programs that provide meals and health and psychosocial services.

From the immediate hours after the quake and in ongoing efforts, CWS has directly assisted at least 41,750 individuals so far.  Assistance has included the distribution of CWS Hygiene, School and Baby Kits, tents, wheelchairs, medical kits and other supplies, as well as modest recovery grants.

Drawing on its longtime commitment to empower local partners, CWS is also supporting recovery work by both Haitian and Dominican organizations.  CWS is also working as a member of the global ACT Alliance, which has provided assistance to 341,000 Haitians.

Early on in the response CWS began planning for longer-term rehabilitation projects, including supporting the expansion of existing, successful rural agricultural coops made up of over 3,000 families, so they can provide food security for earthquake victims outside of Port-au-Prince.  The agency also is helping vulnerable children through emergency food and psychosocial support.

Future plans for CWS work in Haiti include supporting long-term and permanent housing for the displaced and vulnerable; participating in plans to move families from temporary camps to permanent solutions; providing tools and working capital to nearly 500 individuals to re-establish their micro-businesses; strengthening services for vulnerable children; and crafting long-term strategies for sustainable development in Haiti.

One of the most visible successes for CWS has been its work with long-time partner Service Chretien d'Haiti, to assist and empower people with disabilities.  Six-hundred people are currently participating and another 600 will participate later in the year.

Participants receive a modest monthly stipend of $75 for six months to help them get through the current difficult times. Many are using their grant to help restart businesses lost in the quake.  Others are using it to buy food.  Still others are using it to pay for their children--or for themselves--to go to school, to get education and improve their future.

Among those participating in the program is Marlene Derley, an amputee who lost her right arm after a building collapsed during the earthquake.  Derley is using her CWS grant to restart her small restaurant business at home--a much-needed boost since she and her family are depending on the restaurant income.  Derley’s husband, a former factory worker, is at home to help her and raise the couple's 9-year-old daughter.

"We depend on the money from the restaurant," she says, explaining that the grant is helping restock supplies, all of which were destroyed in the quake.

Your support for continuing recovery efforts is urgently needed.


Heavy tropical rains in northeastern Brazil have caused severe damage to more than 100 communities in the states of Pernambuco and Alagoas.  At least 72 persons have died and some 157,000 people are displaced in the flooding.  Most affected is the town of Santana do Mundaú, in Alagoas state.  The city has been destroyed and will need to be rebuilt in another area, away from a riverbank, authorities say.

CWS is supporting ACT Alliance efforts.  ACT member and CWS partner KOINONIA is among those responding.  Working with its local partner, the Organization of Rural Workers (STTR), KOINONIA is focusing efforts on assisting affected rural families.  STTR and KOINONIA are planning immediate relief including food, tents, clothes, blankets and potable water until the normal water supply is restored; as well as support to re-establish farm production with equipment, seeds and tools.  There also may be a need to provide support for rebuilding homes.

Your support for Church World Service work around the world and in the U.S. is urgently needed.


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