The Church of the Brethren disaster relief work in Haiti has received another grant of $150,000 from the church’s Emergency Disaster Fund. The work in Haiti responds to the earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince in January, and is a cooperative effort of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren).
Brethren response to Haiti earthquake, as of April 30:
21,000 hot meals provided to schoolchildren in Port-au-Prince
Monthly dry food distribution to 165 families or approximately 825 people–equivalent to 49,500 meals a month–with most food purchased in Haiti and some locally grown
Funding provided for Dominican Brethren to bring food to family in Haiti
Partnering with Vine Ministries (an organization with ties to the Church of the Brethren) to help an additional 112 families receive food aid
21 leaders and teachers in Eglise des Freres Haitiens employed to support the response, 20 Haitian construction workers employed to build temporary housing, 4 Haitians employed to monitor and evaluate the response
Temporary wood and tin shelters built in the three Brethren communities of Marin, Delmas, and Tonm Gato, housing 120 people, in a construction effort that also includes three multipurpose rooms for worship, meetings, children’s activities, storage, and shelter for neighbors
Medical clinic provided by American and Haitian medical professionals that treated more than 1,300 Haitians, with trauma counselors working alongside the medical team and in the surrounding community
6,225 pounds of seed distributed to 250 farmers for spring planting
100 water filters and 1,000 CWS Hygiene Kits waiting in customs in Haiti to be distributed, with shipments en route carrying 94 standard tarpaulins and 220 extra large tarpaulins, 306 Family Household Kits, and 62,500 pounds of canned chicken donated by Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts
Brethren Disaster Ministries staff requested the additional allocation to continue feeding and shelter programs that currently are underway, and to fund the expansion of response into a number of new intermediate and long-term efforts. Previous allocations to this project total $150,000.
The new work will include home construction, providing potable water and sanitation facilities, agricultural projects, training for pastors in trauma recovery and resilience, medical programing in partnership with IMA World Health, purchase of a four-door truck for use in home construction, and construction of a warehouse and a guest house. The warehouse and guest house facility initially will be for use by American volunteers and staff, but in time is expected to become the headquarters of the Haitian church.
Also included in the grant is funding for a six-month evaluation of the response, to be carried out in July.
“The impact of the Jan. 12 earthquake, magnitude 7.0, is evident throughout Haiti,” said the grant request. “Crumbled buildings litter Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Leogone, Jacmel, and many towns in between. Families throughout Haiti are housing and supporting those displaced, without adequate food or living space. Temporary housing, from tents to makeshift sheet shelters, offers little protection as rains begin. The United Nations reports that 1.2 million people or 81 percent of the 1.5 million displaced have received some type of shelter materials (tent or tarp). The challenge is that nearly 300,000 have not.”
The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff also noted signs of general progress in areas affected by the earthquake, including improved food distribution and better availability of drinking water. The Brethren in Haiti, especially the Delmas congregation, have “banded together to create their own community of support,” the staff noted. “An encouraging sign is that even as they rely on Brethren food and shelter, they are moving toward more independence and reducing the amount of direct aid required to survive.”
However, most of the relief efforts in Haiti have focused on those living in large encampments. “Haitians living in smaller groups or on the street near their demolished homes have received less aid. Most members of the Haitian Church of the Brethren indicate that Brethren relief is all they have received,” the grant request said.
To date the Brethren response has provided a number of temporary shelters designed for two-year habitation, feeding programs, material aid shipments, seeds for spring planting, and has employed Haitians at all levels of response activities. “A core philosophy of the response is to involve Haitian leadership in planning, decision making, and implementation of the response,” the Brethren Disaster Ministries staff wrote. “During the last three months Haitian Church of the Brethren leaders have grown into capable leaders of the response and are helping longterm planning.”
A separate grant is planned to continue Brethren support for the wider ecumenical disaster response by organizations such as Church World Service (CWS) and ACT Alliance, that addresses the significant breadth of need in Haiti. A third set of grants supports Haitian refugees in New York City being served through the Haitian First Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn.
For more about the work in Haiti visit www.brethren.org/HaitiEarthquake .