On Saturday 14 August, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti at Les Cayes, 75 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince. On Tuesday 16 August, Tropical Storm Grace hit Haiti, triggering flooding and mudslides complicating rescue efforts.
Oxelia, a resident of Corail, was at home when the earthquake hit. “We screamed and ran outside into the street. We
were all too afraid to go back into the house because you could still feel aftershocks,” she says. She, like many others. slept outside for a number of days, the memories of the earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, still very fresh in her mind. “But now it has been days, and I see that my neighbors’ houses have a lot of cracks, but
mine is fine’ Oxelia’s Habitat home, like 98% of those Habitat has assessed so far, stood strong. Sadly many
of her neighbours homes suffered severe damage or were completely destroyed. Oxelia’s was one of 1,200 homes which Habitat partnered with families in Haiti’s South West Peninsula to build after Hurricane Matthew, proving that investing in better rebuilds makes a huge difference.
But in the present, the earthquake has claimed more than 2,200 lives, injured almost 12,000 people and destroyed 130,000 homes. At least 344 people are still missing. Families are seeking safety wherever they can with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Entire communities have been made homeless.
Bishops’ Appeal is supporting Christian Aid Ireland and Habitat for Humanity NI who have worked alongside communities in Haiti since the 1980’s and are on the ground to assess and provide supports, and to set up much needed emergency responses, including repairs and rebuilds. The immediate responses include supporting rescue services and providing food, clean water, medical assistance and access to makeshift shelters for those who have lost their homes. The long term responses will be the provision of trauma counselling and the building of more durable, earthquake resistant homes.
Examples of how your donation can help:
£22 could ensure families have essential Hygiene Kits
£75 could help us deliver a Shelter Kit including tarps, tools and household items
£1,311 can pay for housing repairs, after detailed assessment
£3,000 is the cost of transitional shelters, which are designed to be more permanent
Certainly after the earthquake in 2010, when there were scandals in the aftermath regarding how funds were being utilised (or not) to build homes, Christian Aid and Habitat for Humanity achieved their goals of home building by knowing the legal complexities of land ownership and land rights and navigating these before building began. Many Church of Ireland communities contributed generously to these builds and they have stood the test of time. But there is more work to be done.
We pray for all those who have lost loved ones in this earthquake. We pray for all those who are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, trying to keep their children safe, living in a state of shock and wondering if they can keep going. There is so much relentless pain it can be easier to look away. But instead we ask God to help us look and see what he sees, and reach out to be His hands and His feet to those who find themselves desolate.
To give, go to http://www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org/give/