Chaos in the midst of catastrophe
At least 50,000 people have been killed and up to three million men, women and children have been affected by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti on Tuesday, 12 January.
The situation in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area is desperate, with mass casualties and devastation, and the race is on to reach and help those affected.
Downed communications, blocked roads and continuing aftershocks slowed relief efforts overnight, with staff unable to leave the agency’s Port-au-Prince office for several hours due to fallen debris in the roadways caused by the earthquake.
“An earthquake of this magnitude anywhere in the world is of major concern, but it is especially devastating in Haiti, where 85 per cent of the population struggles to survive on little more than a pound a day. Haitians are acutely vulnerable because of poor infrastructure and extreme poverty,” says Mark Bulpitt, World Vision UK’s head of emergencies.
Hope in the midst of despair
“It felt as if a truck had hit a wall,” said World Vision staffer Magalie Boyer, of the initial tremor. “There is extensive damage in the city. People are having to spend the night in the streets. They are not comfortable staying in their houses.
“World Vision Haiti is distributing first aid kits to survivors, along with basic materials such as soap, blankets, clothes and bottles of water as an initial response.”
World Vision’s 800 locally-based staff members have also been distributing emergency survival kits including food, water, tarpaulins and tents. Staff have also been delivering medical supplies to local hospitals and providing emergency health services to the injured.
How your church can help
Your church’s prayers and support are vital right now in helping us to support the people in Haiti and those mobilising to help them. When asked by media what people could do to help, Magge Boyer replied from Port-au-Prince: “Pray, please pray, pray, pray.”
Please keep the following prayer points in mind when you pray individually or together as a congregation or small group:
- The ability of national governments and major aid agencies to respond swiftly
- The safe arrival of airlifted aid from around the world
- Strength, wisdom and resources for aid workers working tirelessly
- Medical personnel on the ground, helping to fight the spread of disease
- Local churches, reaching out to their grieving, devastated communities
- Children, particularly those injured and orphaned by this disaster
- A generous response to World Vision’s appeal to help save lives and rebuild communities
Please also consider what you give can financially. Perhaps, you could share this Sunday’s offering or a special appeal through your small groups.
• £14 can provide hygiene kits for two families
• £42 can provide temporary shelter for a family
• £80 can provide meals for twenty families
We have put together a short PowerPoint presentation and prayer focus for you to use in your church services this weekend or at a home group over the coming days.
Now, more than ever, your help is needed to support families and the most vulnerable children in Haiti. We know that you are already committed to support World Vision through a variety of partnership projects and child sponsorship around the world, but we wanted to keep you updated about what we are doing, and offer you the opportunity to respond specifically at this time of emergency.
With every blessing
Head of Engagement (Churches and Young People)
World Vision UK
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Here is also attached a power point presentation that could be used in church to guide prayer for Haiti.