South Florida Supports Disaster Relief Effort to Haiti

 

haitiHaiti has been struck by yet another natural disaster, only six years after being rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that leveled Port-au-Prince and Jacmel. The same Hurricane Matthew that barely missed the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area and came somewhat closer to North Florida, slammed into the southern peninsula of Haiti as a Category 4 storm, bringing almost complete devastation to many cities and towns, destroying many of the crops in the western plains of Haiti’s bread basket, and killing over 1,000 people. Local pastors and church leaders are stunned by the catastrophic damage of its impact. Streets have become rivers. High winds have destroyed homes and businesses. Downed trees, electrical poles and signage are everywhere; and livestock and agricultural projects have literally disappeared.

What are South Florida churches and faith-based parachurch ministries doing for the relief effort of our brothers and sisters in Christ in this beautiful country, only a 90 minute flight from Miami or Fort Lauderdale? We contacted several local churches and relief organizations to find out how you can help. We cannot all go to Haiti, but we can pray and give of our time and financial resources. For those of us who are familiar with the CC Haiti Initiative in Jacmel, it is important to note that Jacmel is located almost due south of Port-au-Prince, and both cities were spared the hurricane force wind and rain that devastated the Western Peninsula. The storm passed as far west of Jacmel as it passed to the east of Fort Lauderdale, to put it into perspective. But the devastation is almost complete in Les Cayes, where I spent a year, and Jeremie, on the north side of the western tip and close to the center of the hurricane’s path.

 

Cross International

In response to this disaster, Cross International is mobilizing churches in the US to help its Haiti ministry partners with shipments of food, medicines and other commodities.  Their goal is to respond to the hardest hit areas as quickly and effectively as possible, and since they have many ministry partners in Haiti, Cross International is perfectly poised to reach those in most need with the greatest speed. South Florida churches partnering financially with Cross International will bring IMMEDIATE RELIEF to Haiti through connecting churches in the US to churches in Haiti. Donations to Cross International will equip Haitian pastors and ministry partners to quickly and cost-effectively relieve suffering where Hurricane Matthew has done the most damage.

Cross International’s Haiti Church Partners are in preparation and pray mode as damage begins to be surveyed in the early days of Hurricane Matthew’s monstrous collision with Haiti’s south coast. As Hurricane Matthew’s powerful bands ripped into Haiti’s south coastal areas, church leaders prayed for the best, but wisely were preparing for the worst. But boarded-up windows and sandbagged buildings were not able to keep 25-foot storm surge and 130 mph winds at bay. Shoreline churches and villages were hit hard! Poor families living in makeshift shacks have suffered the most.

Large or small, every gift to Cross International’s disaster relief fund will have a profound impact. Cross will empower Christian leaders to distribute food, repair houses and deliver medical resources wherever needed. Year round, this team of pastors cares for spiritual needs in their communities. During this time of crisis, they are the most connected option for quickly and cost effectively reaching those affected by Hurricane Matthew. Visit www.crossinternational.city/hurricanematthew/

 

MAP International

MAP International, a Christian health and relief organization, is responding to the devastation in Haiti. The organization is delivering urgently needed medicines and emergency supplies to those caught in the destruction of Hurricane Matthew.

MAP International has sent a container to Haiti including an Interagency Emergency Health Kit that has essential medicines and medical supplies. One kit can treat common diseases for up to 10,000 people for 90 days and is designed to provide healthcare coverage when health systems are disrupted. The organization is also preparing shipments with antibiotics, oral rehydration salts, first-aid kits and other disaster supplies to be rushed to Haiti in the coming days. Pre-positioned provisions include 25 medical mission packs, containing 300 treatments each of prescription medicines, to alleviate the immediate impact of injuries and disease.

“The MAP International team has been carefully monitoring Hurricane Matthew, and when we saw that it was going to reach Haiti, we quickly worked with our partners on the ground to provide immediate assistance,” said Kipp Branch, senior partnership development officer for MAP International. “We will continue to provide life-saving medicine and relief supplies to those who are impacted by the devastation in Haiti and elsewhere.”

MAP International is working with several partner agencies in Haiti to provide critically needed medicines, water filters and other emergency supplies. The organization has responded to natural disasters worldwide for more than 60 years with vital medicines and relief supplies. Those interested in partnering with MAP International can visit Map.org/hurricane-matthew to donate; each dollar provides $60 worth of medical supplies.

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Samaritan’s Purse

As Haitians continue to reel from Hurricane Matthew’s rampage through their island nation, they are now bracing for yet another catastrophe — cholera. The powerful storm severed water pipelines and contaminated drinking water, leaving the country’s residents extremely vulnerable to the waterborne infection, which can be fatal within hours if left untreated. Samaritan’s Purse has set up a Cholera Treatment Center in a remote area of western Haiti that so far has been the hardest hit by the disease. They have deployed a team of doctors and nurses, who are working to save lives and reduce suffering. They also sent a Disaster Assistance Response Team to serve alongside the Samaritan’s Purse staff based in Haiti to distribute aid to those most affected by the deadly storm.

Their DC-8 cargo plane made five flights to Haiti in the days after the hurricane, carrying a total of 100 tons of tarps, hygiene kits, water filters, and blankets. It also has transported medical supplies for the Cholera Treatment Center, including IV fluids, antibiotics, oral rehydration solution and educational materials on how to reduce the spread of cholera. As their staff works around the clock to provide urgently needed relief to the people of Haiti, they have also deployed U.S. Disaster Relief staff and equipment — including three of their Disaster Relief Units (DRU) — to hard-hit locations in the Carolinas where the storm dumped up to 18 inches of rain. The DRUs will serve as command centers for staff and volunteer teams as they clean out flood-damaged homes, tarp roofs, and remove trees downed by the hurricane’s winds. Further information is available at www.SamaritansPurse.org.

 

Prayer and Support

Your prayers for this impoverished nation and its resilient people are critically needed, along with financial support in this time of great need.

 

Bob Woods has worked as an engineer at AECOM Technical Services and HBC Engineering, and is a published Christian author. He served as a full-time missionary in Les Cayes, Haiti for a year. He and his wife Marie, a Haitian national from Les Cayes, have served at CCFL. He can be reached at bobbyjowoods@aol.com.

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