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CWS Update on Haiti

Emergency Appeal Update

21 January 2010

Dear friends,

We hope you will continue to keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.  The following is an update of recent information about the situation in Haiti. It may help you keep your parishioners informed and let them know that CWS partners are already providing much needed help.  There will be further updates on the Haiti page of the CWS website. Please click here.

·       For people trying to tell the story of Haiti, both before and after the earthquake, one of the biggest problems is in trying to communicate the epic scale of lack and deprivation that is the reality of daily life for the people of Haiti.  Past and present CWS staff members who have visited partner groups in Haiti say it is the most harrowing place they have been. Former CWS staff member, Elizabeth Mackie, said that: “Of all the places in the world that I visited for CWS Haiti was the one that left me in a state of despair.”  Present CWS programmes team member, Nick Clarke, said that: “It is just such a hard, hard place. I have seen poverty all around the world but there was just something about Haiti and its people that brought me to the point of tears.”     

·       Award-winning photographer Paul Jeffrey is in Haiti on behalf of ACT Alliance. He has had his first walk among dead and wounded, aid workers and soldiers and sent this moving report.  “Not having had a real opportunity to grieve their dead, and still panicked by rumbling aftershocks, women and men across the city are nonetheless busy setting up temporary shelters in parks and open spaces, clearing away debris, struggling to restart their small businesses and market sales, and caring for their children and the children of those who didn't survive.  They are even - accompanied by thousands of relief workers from around the globe - continuing to pull people alive from the rubble. They are used to struggle, and so life goes on.”

·       Despite the widely reported difficulties getting supplies into Haiti CWS ACT Alliance partners have already started relief efforts, especially those working in Haiti prior to the earthquake.  Others are trying to access areas outside of Port-au-Prince. The devastation in outlying areas has been even greater, with over 90% of buildings destroyed in some areas. Water, food and sanitation have been priorities.  

·       In the first four days alone, more than $35,000 has been donated to the CWS appeal, mainly from individual supporters. We are hoping that churches may be able to have special collections over the next few weeks so we can add to this total. The need is extreme and support will be needed for months to come.

Thank you for your support with this appeal and especially to those who have given already. 

Pauline McKay
National Director
Christian World Service