Aid begins arriving in Haiti

As many as 175,000 people in Haiti are without food, water and electricity.


As many as 175,000 people in Haiti are without food, water and electricity in the wake of flooding caused last week by Hurricane Jeanne according to the UN World Food Programme.

The death toll in Haiti from flooding climbed to more than 1,000 on Thursday amid predictions the final total could be double that number, and faith-based groups were among those offering emergency response.

At least 500 people died in Gonaives alone, according to the United Nations.

Gonaives was the hardest hit area in Haiti, and the city also was wracked by revolts earlier this year.

Church World Service is sending 8,750 CWS "Gift of the Heart" Health Kits and 75 Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA) Medical Boxes to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and Service Chretien d’Haiti, CWS partners in Haiti. The IMA Medicine Box is a collection of medicines and medical supplies designed to treat the common illnesses of approximately 1,000 adults and children for up to 3 months.

The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) sent a financial grant to purchase 15 days of food for 1,000 people living in and around Gonaives. Eben-ezer Mission, a CRWRC partner based in Gonaives, will coordinate and distribute the food relief effort.

Though the effects have been devastating, Jeanne was downgraded from a

category one hurricane to a "tropical storm" by the time it reached

Gonaives. "This is an example of how man-made issues impact on the

gravity of a disaster," says Bruce Campbell-Janz, international relief

coordinator for CRWRC. "Deforestation is so severe in Haiti that if you get a lot of rain you get mass flash flooding."

Action by Churches Together (ACT), a global alliance of churches and related agencies that responds to emergencies and disasters, and its members are also working to offer relief to flood survivors. ACT members in Haiti include Christian Aid, Diakonie Emergency Aid (DEA), Fédération Protestante d'Haiti, Lutheran World Federation,and Service Chrétien d'Haiti.

In addition to coordinating its humanitarian response through ACT, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has issued an urgent call for advocacy of temporary protected status for Haitian immigrants who may be threatened with immediate return to Haiti. Designating Haiti for this status would allow Haitians already in the United States to remain here until recovery from the recent storms has improved stability there.

Floodwaters also destroyed crops in the Artibonite region - Haiti's breadbasket.

Four months ago, Haiti's southern border was devastated by flooding, when more than 1,700 people died in Haiti.

Jeanne also killed seven people in Puerto Rico and another 18 in the Dominican Republic.

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