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Haiti January 15 Updates

Update from Mark Gauthier,
Director of Mobilizing Churches

Currently, we (Southern Baptist Disaster Relief) do not have anyone on the ground in Haiti. We anticipate it may be as late as the middle of next week before our first assessment teams can enter. The IMB has no missionaries in Haiti, and travel from the Dominican Republic to Haiti has been restricted. FEMA has asked that groups (including ministries like ours) DO NOT self deploy, as this will only add to the difficulty. Please continue to check the SBCV Help for Haiti webpage for the latest update!

January 15 general update

The images of damage and human tragedy have crossed our TV and computer screens most of this week. For many, our hearts and desires have been on the ground in Haiti, wanting to be the heart and hands the people so desperately need. Imagine an island nation of over nine million people with at least two million suffering a direct, total loss of property and most likely at least one family member’s death. Now add the following facts to the situation:

  1. No emergency services—no firemen, no EMTs
  2. Less than 10,000 police officers
  3. No Haitian emergency management agency
  4. Total lack of heavy equipment to move debris to aid in the search of victims and bodies
  5. A destroyed deep water port—Presently, there is not a single deep water port that can accept ocean-going ships. Containerized cargo will not be accepted for months.
  6. Small international airport—the most expensive way to ship scarce medical supplies.  Water does not ship well by air.
  7. No hospital beds—There are no known operational medical facilities in Port-au-Prince.
  8. Lack of medical providers and supplies
  9. Lack of fresh, clean water

…and the list continues

How can we as Southern Baptist churches take a lead in the response?

  1. The best thing we can do right now is pray. Truthfully speaking, only God can provide for the Haitians. The total commitment of resources by our government and other counties will fall short of the need. God will have to make a way for the needs of the Haitians to be met.
  2. The next opportunity is to give. Give financially to the entity you believe will provide the most direct help to the people of Haiti. You may designate your offerings above your tithes to “Disaster Relief.”
  3. You can prepare for response. It will be several weeks before non-government, volunteer organizations are welcomed in Haiti. Make plans to attend a Disaster Relief training event in your area. Secure a passport or make sure you have a current one. Get in shape physically. The temperature and humidity are rough, and working with block and concrete is back-breaking work.
  4. Go!!! Make plans to go over the next couple of years to assist the Haitians in their recovery effort.