Covenant World Relief Aiding Haiti Earthquake Victims

CHICAGO, IL (January 13, 2010) – Covenant World Relief (CWR) funds already are at work in Haiti providing assistance following Tuesday’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated large areas within the country and claimed thousands of lives.

The earthquake destroyed most of the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haitian authorities told CNN News this morning. The Red Cross estimates some three million people – one-third of Haiti’s population – were affected by the quake. “Rescue crews were racing Wednesday morning to fully assess the damage in the teeming hillside city, where toppled buildings killed and injured an untold number of people and trapped others in the rubble,” the CNN report states.

The CWR emergency funds, which are being used to provide emergency relief kits, come from a “first responder” disaster fund established by the Covenant with World Relief International, which is distributing the kits.

“The immediate task is to get emergency kits together and dispersed,” says Husby. “The kits will include food, water, and blankets.”

Click here to make an online donation to the Covenant Haiti Relief Fund.

World Relief International is doing its best to gather information about the severity of the situation, that effort complicated by the destruction of much of the country’s communications infrastructure, says CWR Director David Husby. Not all of World Relief International’s staff in Haiti has been accounted for. A disaster response team will be traveling Thursday to either Port-au-Prince, if the airport is open, or to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to better assess the needs.

The damaging effects of the earthquake are even more significant due to poor construction of buildings in Haiti, which is considered to be the poorest country in the western Hemisphere.

Haiti’s worst quake in two centuries hit south of the capital Port-au-Prince, leaving thousands of people feared dead and large portions of the population left homeless. Major government buildings also were demolished or heavily damaged.

Tammi Biggs, a short-term Covenant missionary who serves as Area Director for the Caribbean with Covenant Merge Ministries, lives in the neighboring Dominican Republic. In a Twitter update, she reports she is safe, although her area has felt several aftershocks.

Sandy Doyle, who directs the Haiti mission work of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Lafayette in Lafayette, Indiana, says she has not heard directly from people in the village of LaMare, a village that the Indiana church supports. However, a missionary with another organization, speaking to CNN via Skype, said people in the Central Plateau, where LaMare is located, are safe.

And yet another Covenanter from Faith Covenant Church in Winnipeg, MB, emailed family and friends from Haiti to report that she, too, is safe. “Just writing you a quick note to let you know that I am okay,” writes Janelle Peterson, who is working in Dominican Republic with the Ebenezer Clinic, which has a partnership with the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada.

“We felt the quake here and have felt several aftershocks since,” she says. “As far as I know there is no real damage in this area. We are just now starting to learn the full extent of the damage and the effects of the quake in Port-au-Prince. Communication is down, so people are having a hard time finding out if family and friends are okay in Port-au-Prince. Please pray for everyone here as we start figure out what our next steps are here and for those beginning relief efforts.” Peterson also is posting updates to her blog.

For additional information, visit the CWR Facebook page, the Merge Ministries Twitter account, or the World Relief Twitter page. Information is also available on the U.S. State Department’s website.

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