CWR Director Outlines Response to Haiti

DENVER, CO (January 29, 2010) – “It has been a real team effort,” said Covenant World Relief (CWR) Director David Husby in describing the work involved in responding to the Haiti earthquake and in particular in setting up the new Haiti Relief Fund, which President Gary Walter reported has reached the $500,000 mark.

Husby addressed a number of people gathered during the just-concluded Midwinter Pastors Conference, briefing them on developments to date and sharing the guiding principles that govern how CWR responds in during times of crisis.

He listed several principles, including:

•    Mission of God – “He (God) has been in Haiti from the beginning,” Husby said. “God loves Haiti and the Haitian people. This project will never be the project of just one group.”
•    Respect and dignity – “These are huge numbers – 200,000 individuals killed. It is overwhelming. These people are not just statistics – each one is created in the image of God. It can become too easy to think of this as a project and not as individuals.”
•    Collaboration and partnership – “We have just three people on the CWR staff. We must rely on partnerships around the world, building the excellent work of Jim Sundholm.”
•    Good Samaritan response – “We must be careful not to think of this crisis in terms of hurting only people like us, e.g. how many Americans were killed or how many Christians. We must keep all in view. In our response, we must respond to Haitians and not just a particular interest group.
•    Support the experts – “This is not a place for the well-intentioned by untrained.”
•    Long-term approach – This immediate period of relief will come to an end at some point. We must think of what then.”

Husby described the three basic stages of response: relief for immediate needs to survive, including food, water and medicine; rehabilitation, trying to restore a sense of normalcy to life; and transformation development, which can last for years.

The strategy in Haiti first involves working with partners already in the area – World Relief International being the closest partner historically. CWR provides a standing $250,000 grant from which World Relief International can immediate draw funds to respond quickly. “We depend on consistent donors to sustain this special fund,” Husby notes.

CWR also works with Medical Teams International, as well as Paul Carlson Partnership in Congo.

Second, CWR connect churches and individuals with partners when possible, especially World Relief International and Medical Teams International.

Third, CWR sends funds, not supplies, so those in the ground can purchase exactly what they need, also avoiding expensive shipping costs.

Fourth, CWR conducts fact-finding trips when appropriate, connecting with partners in developing joint strategies.

Fifth, CWR is developing a long-term strategy for Haiti, much as it has done with the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina disasters.

Finally, CWR is working closely with Covenant World Mission to strengthen that partnership.

Husby asked everyone to continue to pray to continue to give, to follow updates on the Covenant website, Facebook and blogs, to advocate in local churches, to contact Merge Ministries if interested in sending skilled teams, and complete the online volunteer form if disaster relief experts would like to donate their time.

To donate the the Haiti Relief Fund online, click here.

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