Updates On the Earthquake in Haiti

Information will be posted here as we receive it. Please check back often for the most recent updates.

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Compassion and Aid Received in Haiti

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 10:22AM
From Week of Compassions

If you’ve been watching the news, you’ve inevitably heard about the difficulties of getting aid, supplies, and medical care to those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.

While it is true that the delivery of aid has been hampered by many factors, including infrastructure-related challenges, Week of Compassion can assure you that aid is reaching many of those who need it.

Martin Coria, Church World Service Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, now based in the Dominican Republic and working closely with Servicio Social de Igelesias Dominicana (SSID), noted that with pre-positioned CWS kits and blankets, SSID was able to provide relief to the victims of Haiti's massive earthquake in the first twenty-four hours of the disaster. On Wednesday, January 13, SSID sent a flight with supplies to Port-au-Prince, and their staff was able to see the needs firsthand and quickly provide the most crucial supplies and assistance.

Since then, CWS has established a storage and distribution center in the Dominican Border Town of Jimani, and has begun to provide assistance for Haitians who may try to enter the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Thanks to you, we have helped make possible the following CWS aid and supplies:

  • An air-freight arrived on Jan 22 in Santo Domingo. The shipment contained 500 CWS blankets; 1,125 baby kits, 10,595 hygiene kits; 720 tubes of toothpaste; and 25 flashlights with batteries. 
  • A second shipment, by ocean ship, is to arrive in Santo Domingo on Feb. 2. It contains 500 light-weight CWS blankets; 13,325 hygiene kits; and 375 baby kits.
  • Another shipment is also expected to arrive in Santo Domingo on Feb. 2 with 2,950 blankets; 3,150 baby kits; and 7,215 hygiene kits.
  • An air shipment of 60 cartons of IMA World Health medicine boxes is expected to arrive in Santo Domingo today, January 26. Each box contains enough essential medicines and medical supplies to treat the routine ailments of about 1,000 adults and children.

Coria also reports that:

  • The Episcopal Church of Jimaní has given its building to be used as long as needed for doctors, rescue teams, visitors and volunteers. There are 30 mattresses and secure space to store supplies. This will serve as the hub for CWS and partner operations. A storage/supply center for 100 containers has been established.
  • A first aid clinic and emergency room has been located in the Christian School of Parisien, in Haiti, some 8 kilometers from the Haitian/DR border - about two hours from Port-au-Prince. There is space and capacity for no more than 30 patients at a time, and it is secure.
  • Food and supply distribution sites have been established across the border through Haitian churches and managed through different Haitian non-profit organizations and community leader associations. The hub of a five-center distribution network is located in Pétionville.

Disciple Don Tatlock, CWS Latin America and Caribbean program manager, continues work with distributing supplies to those in Port-au-Prince, noting the strength of CWS's already-existing relationships in helping to determine priorities for CWS distributions.

Likewise, through Church World Service’s participation in the larger ACT Alliance international ecumenical partnership, Week of Compassion donations have gone to the construction of temporary water systems, providing water purification materials, tents and food packages.

For more information and details, you can check the resources on Week of Compassion’s Haiti site, which include podcasts from Don Tatlock and Donna Derr, CWS director of emergency response, as well as links to CWS and ACT.

We continue to lift up the people of Haiti, all those on the ground working for the recovery effort, and all those who have offered their resources to aid with the relief effort. Week of Compassion is committed to Haiti for the long term. Once the news cameras are gone and the celebrity telethons are long forgotten, we will still be at work in Haiti. Thank you for making that possible.

TeleWorship News Feed For Haiti

Past Updates

Haitian Refugee Resettlement, Orphan Adoption, and Temporary Protection for Haitians in the United States

Friday, January 22, 2010 at 04:15PM
From Week of Compassions

As news outlets report on the earthquake in Haiti, three of the issues consuming the headlines are refugee resettlement, adoption of Haitian orphans, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States. Jennifer Riggs, Director of Refugee and Immigration Ministries, a ministry funded by Week of Compassion and administered by Disciples Home Missions, offers the following important information:
The U.S. government is constantly reassessing the situation and changing its plans about how to deal with the crisis as related to Haitians in the United States and Haitians who may try to come to the United States. The following is the current situaion on these issues.
No Haitians are being considered by the U.S. government for resettlement into the United States. In fact, efforts are underway to prevent Haitians from getting in boats and attempting to come to the United States on their own. If any Haitians do make it to the United States, they will most likely be placed in the Krome detention center in Miami or in tent cities nearby and will not be allowed to be resettled. Guantanamo Bay is being prepared to receive those who are picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard on their way to Florida.
There is no program for the care of or adoption of Haitian orphans into the United States. A few orphans have been allowed into the country because they lived in American-run orphanages and/or were already in the process of being adopted by Americans. These were children who were orphans before the earthquake. In all disaster situations, children are never sent to another country until there is certainty that their parents and other relatives are not alive. It is possible that in the future there may be a program for the adoption of Haitian orphans, but that would be months away. If such a program was developed, the preferred location for the placement of those orphans would be within Haitian communities in the United States.
Haitians living in the United States may now apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). They have only six months (from 1/21/10) to apply for TPS and have to have been in the Unites States as of 1/12/10. Refugee and Immigration Ministries (RIM) is consulting attorneys and beginning to prepare information to help Disciples Haitians determine whether or not applying for TPS would be a good decision in their individual situations. Church World Service is working to determine which of its refugee resettlement offices could provide legal assistance for Haitians in filling out the proper forms. In the next few weeks, RIM will make available a guide to help Haitians think through their options, understand the requirements of TPS, and know where and how to apply for TPS.
The crisis in Haiti is complex, touching on each aspect of the work and witness of Week of Compassion gifts—Relief, Development, and Refugee issues are all at the heart of the long-range response to which we are committed. We will continue to update you on all aspects of our ministry as the relief, refugee and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Thank you so much for your work and generosity. It is truly an honor to partner with each and every one of you.

Haiti: One Week Later:

From Week of Compassions

It is during times such as these that we learn what it truly means to live in faith, hope, and love.

Week of Compassion's partner agencies on the ground in Haiti and across the border in the Dominican Republic are responding to the crisis. Your generous gifts are making a significant difference in the relief efforts. There are challenges, but there have also been fantastic accomplishments in the immediate aid efforts in Haiti. We will keep you updated in a variety of ways, including our Haiti Relief Efforts page -- please check it often for updates, resources, photos and stories. We want to know what your church is doing to help us respond to the tragedy, so please send us your updates, too.

Partner Efforts:

  • Don Tatlock, a Church World Service responder and member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), reports that much of the initial response has involved searching and identifying survivors. Sanitation and security issues have pushed many people from Port-au-Prince into rural areas, as well as toward the border with the Dominican Republic. Such migration is making it difficult, at times, to verify the survival of some local partners and colleagues.
  • Travel logistics continue to be very complicated, as the road running from the Dominican border to Port-au-Prince, already difficult to travel, is even more overwhelmed than usual. In order to ease the flow of aid, the United Nations is currently working to organize air transport for Aid Groups in order to transfer supplies and Aid personnel between the border and Port-au-Prince, as well as transporting supplies from Port-au-Prince to outlying areas affected by the quake, many of whom have received no aid.
  • Our partners at Action by Churches Together (ACT International) have a rapid response team on the ground. Social Services of the Dominican Churches (SSID) is providing staff support, office space, and logistical support to ecumenical responders. The response will not only include relief in Port-au-Prince and rural areas affected by the earthquake, but as displaced persons may soon migrate toward the Dominican border, the response may well include providing services to meet their needs. More details are available here.
  • Additionally, Haitians in America currently facing deportation have received Temporary Protected Status for 18 Months, as well as the potential for Haitian refugee resettlement. Florida and New York, two states with significant Haitian populations, are gearing up for both repatriation and the extension of stay for those under Temporary Protected Status. The ACT appeal will include funds for repatriation aid and assistance.
  • Church World Service has thus far concentrated its efforts on helping distribute its disaster response kits, so Disciples Churches should keep those donations coming! CWS is also helping to support local partners that meet the needs of children by providing baby and hygiene kits and other support. For more details, please follow this link.

Pray-Pay-Stay: Responding as a Congregation, Region, or Individual:

We have received so many notes from across the country, detailing the ways you have all given and responded.

The needs have not changed drastically. The need for CWS baby and hygiene kits is ongoing, as is the need for donations of blankets to Church World Service for emergency response, as detailed here.

We also continue to field questions about the need for on the ground volunteers. The needs on the ground require very specific skill-sets, and there is absolutely no system of support for individuals or church volunteer groups at this time.

The US Department of Health and Human Services is requesting the aid of some medical professionals through the medical reserve corps. There is a credentialing process, and again, the needs and requested qualifications, including fluency in French or Creole, are quite specific. However, HHS also encourages interested medical professionals to seek credentials, as this buoys their roster in the event of other needs for disaster response. Those with requisite skills can seek credentials here.

Except for this specific instance, it is not time for volunteering in Haiti. Once our partners alert us to opportunities, we will pass that information along.

For the time being, we ask you to be creative, resourceful, and discerning. Please check out the great things being done by Disciples Churches, worship resources, and other opportunities available on our Haiti page. If nothing else, remember that we have many Haitian Disciple Churches here in the United States. Pray for them. Send a card of support their way. If they are in your community, organize with your church a time of fellowship and support with our fellow Disciples.

In the midst of this terrible disaster, we have seen great things from you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep up the amazing work, and let us know how we can be supportive.

Brandon Gilvin

A Direct First-Hand Account From One Of Our Missionaries In Haiti

The blog posting from Kim Bentrott, a Global Ministries missionary in Haiti and partnered with a Haitian organization called CONASPEH provides the latest details. She and her husband Patrick and son Solomon are currently living and working in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

You can follow their blog at http://www.kimandpatrick.blogspot.com/.

From the General Ministry 

January 14, 2010

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am writing this message on behalf of our General Minister and President, Sharon Watkins. Even though Sharon is on sabbatical, she has been keeping a close eye on the situation in Haiti.

Sharon and I request your prayers for the people of Haiti, for our Global Mission Partners, and our missionaries who need not only our prayers, but also our resources. I also request your prayers for Dr. Glen Stewart, Regional Minister of the Christian Church in Tennessee, who is in Haiti with a delegation from the Tennessee region.

At the time of writing, they are safe and have arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. My understanding is that the U.S. State Department and the Tennessee Congressional Delegation are working to arrange their return. At the same time a delegation from the Oklahoma and the Great River Regions are on the other side of the island in the Dominican Republic. While they felt the earthquake, they did not have any damage.

In addition to these groups, I would urge you to pray for the Haitian communities within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We have about 100 Haitian churches. These are anxious days and moments for many of them who have family and friends on the island. Charlie Wallace from New Church Ministries has traveled to be present with our Haitian churches in Florida.

As you can imagine, communication to and from the island is very limited. Week of Compassion, Global Ministries and others have been using all of their available resources and technology to connect with our missionaries and partners.

Yesterday afternoon, Rev. Amy Gopp, Minister of Compassion, participated in a phone call with Church World Service. This conference call provided additional information regarding the resources, needs and opportunities for service.

If you or your congregation are compelled to offer financial resources in support of our relief efforts and our partners, I invite you to give at www.weekofcompassion.org or send a check to Week of Compassion, 130 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, Ind., 46204; noted for Haiti or earthquake relief. Week of Compassion has already sent an initial grant to Global Ministries / Overseas Ministries in support of our missionaries and partners, as well as Church World Service.

Week of Compassion and Global Ministries are trying to keep their websites as up to date as possible and I encourage you to check them frequently.

Your partner in prayer,

Rev. Todd Adams
Associate General Minister and Vice President

WoC Haiti Response 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 09:09PM
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logo-woc.jpgWeek of Compassion continues to respond to the horrific devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti. I’ve had the privilege of watching so many of you from all over the country (and a couple from outside the U.S.) come together and respond to the great need caused by the earthquake in Haiti. Thank you, thank you, thank you—so much. Here is the latest report detailing our ecumenical response to the crisis:

  • Church World Service (CWS) is currently planning a two-pronged response. The first includes a bilateral response with two of our partner organizations on the ground in Haiti. Second, CWS will be coordinating a response with Christian Aid as part of the response of Action By Churches Together (ACT) International. Currently, a team of communicators, including the CC(DOC)’s Don Tatlock, Church World Service liaison for Central America and the Caribbean, is on its way to assess the situation, supply Week of Compassion and other partners with information, and help develop the most appropriate response.
  • Our historic partner from the Dominican Republic, Servicios Sociales de Iglesias Dominicanas (SSID), will be transporting material supplies such as tarps, as well as CWS blankets, hygiene kits, and baby supply kits. This delivery will empty the shelves of the CWS warehouse. Congregations and individuals are highly encouraged to help out by putting together kits to replenish the supply. It’s easy, quickly done, and can be a great project for church groups of just about any age. Instructions and a list of contents are available at this site. This is an urgent need.
  • Lutheran World Relief, which currently chairs the ACT Forum in Haiti, is coordinating the overall ACT response, and is working with Norwegian Church Aid, which is currently assessing  the situation on the ground, to provide water sanitation and water delivery in Haiti.
  • By giving to Week of Compassion, you have already become part of this response. Your willingness to step up and provide much needed resources to the people of Haiti is inspiring, and I’m incredibly heartened by your generosity.

Some other things to note:

  • This Sunday would be a great opportunity for your churches to take up a special offering for the Week of Compassion response to Haiti. If you choose to do so, please make sure that church members make their checks out to the local church indicating that it is for Week of Compassion. This will allow your church to combine all of the gifts and send one check to Week of Compassion, expediting the delivery of these gifts to our partners on the ground.
  • Gifts can always be donated online at our website.
  • We’ve received word that the delegation from the Christian Church in Tennessee that was visiting Haiti is safe. There is very little communication from them otherwise, though we have heard that their guesthouse was destroyed by the earthquake. Please pray for their safety and well-being. The delegation from the Great River Region is also fine; they are currently in the Dominican Republic. Global Mission Intern Erin McKinney, who works with our partner Caminante in the DR, is with the group and is also safe. 
  • The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has more than 40 Haitian Churches in the United States and Canada. As is the case for many people living in Diaspora, news like this from home can be devastating and can affect close family members. Please keep our churches and all Haitian Americans in your prayers. We have been in touch with our Haitian churches and their pastors already today.

There are still many unknowns—in terms of the safety of many of those affected, in terms of the response, and the long-range affect this will have in Haiti. The United States government will be taking a key role in the recovery, with corporations such as UPS and FedEx chipping in aid delivery services. There is much to do among these unknowns. Thank you for courageously responding. Thank you for compassionately responding. We will keep you updated as more information emerges. We’re grateful, as always, to be able to partner with all of you in this important ministry.


3 Million People Affected in Haiti

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
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logo-woc.jpgA 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the island nation of Haiti yesterday afternoon. By all approximations, as many as 3 million people have been impacted by this devastating quake. Week of Compassion is responding.

Through Global Ministries, we will be responding to our partner organizations in Port-au-Prince, CONASPEH and the House of Hope. At this time, communication is still very difficult, but we are receiving reports via text messages and social networking sites. There has not been any contact made, yet, with Patrick Villier of CONASPEH. We are holding him, his family and all the churches who are a part of CONASPEH in our hearts and prayers. 

We have also been in touch with our ecumenical partners through Church World Service, many of whom are also our Global Ministries partners. This morning, via Skype, I was able to touch base with Martin Coria, Regional Coordinator for CWS Latin America and Caribbean. Martin shared with me that the staff of SKDE, another of our partner organizations there, is fine. Some were slightly injured, but otherwise everyone is in relatively good physical condition. Church World Service is coordinating a conference call this afternoon for all its member communions so we can best coordinate our relief efforts. An initial appeal has already been issued. 

ACT International has already had its first conference call this morning, and will be issuing an appeal today or tomorrow. As you know, ACT is the largest alliance of Christian humanitarian agencies in the world. 

WoC is responding through all of these channels to provide the most immediate, efficient and effective response to this horrible disaster as humanly possible. 

To donate to Haiti Earthquake Relief, please click here. Thank you to so many of you who have already responded. We are so blessed to be able to come together as a community of faith to respond to the overwhelming needs of our sisters and brothers in Haiti. They are in our hearts and prayers. This is an absolutely desperate situation. 

Week of Compassion is sharing resources and changing lives. Thank you for sharing your resources and helping to change lives.

Amy Gopp
Week of Compassion