Cross Supporters Send Emergency Relief to Disaster Victims
On August 14th, 2021, a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti’s Tiburon Peninsula with devastating consequences. To date, over 2,200 people have been confirmed dead and more than 137,500 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Altogether over 800,000 people have been affected. “It looked like a war zone,” Zach Oles, Cross International’s Vice President of International Programs stated. “Buildings were reduced to rubble. People were suffering—especially children. They were sleeping in fields. It was devastating.”
While the quake was stronger than the one that inflicted catastrophic damage on the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in 2010, this time the earthquake’s power was focused in a rural area. While this thankfully limited the death toll as compared with the disaster a decade ago, the affected region’s limited infrastructure and resources are making the recovery process exceptionally challenging.
Disaster Response in Haiti
The devastation and loss across the island nation is great, however, thanks to the kindness and generosity of Cross supporters like you, our in-country disaster response team has been working to provide essential emergency relief to earthquake victims across southern Haiti. The team’s reports have been heartbreaking, but even in the midst of such tragedy, the Haitian people remain resilient and strong. “It’s important to understand that we’ve been in these communities for 20 years,” Zach Oles said. “Cross is deeply rooted in Haiti and we are committed to steadfast support for our partners and our friends and family in Haiti.”
Faithful friends like you are showing disaster victims in Haiti that they are not alone and not forgotten. Cross International’s generous supporters have sent emergency food supplies, medicine, and other disaster relief to meet the most urgent needs in the days and weeks after the earthquake.
Haiti Ministry Partners
Cross International’s ministry partners in Haiti have also suffered great loss. In the South Department all but three of the 14 Cross International sponsored schools for restavek children (restavek is modern day child slavery that still persists in Haiti) were damaged or destroyed by the quake. ” Zac Oles commented that, “School starts on Monday, (October 4) and we want to make sure that kids get back to school and make sure that the school feeding program is in place on the first day.” To accomplish this, Cross worked to construct temporary structures to provide shelter while the children attend class.”
With poor infrastructure, impassible roads, gas shortages, and gang-controlled access points, the challenges of getting relief to those in need are daunting, but even so our ministry partners remain committed to helping disaster victims and sharing the love of God during this difficult time.
Two Phase Disaster Recovery Plan
With many pressing needs in the wake of this devastating earthquake, Cross International’s relief plan will include two phases. The first is concentrating on providing the essential, life-sustaining relief required in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. “We’ve got to get people out of the rain, get them off the ground, and get the kids back to school.” Zach Oles said. The first phase, which will cover the first 90 days after the earthquake, has so far included the following:
WITHIN THE FIRST 30 DAYS, WE HAVE DISTRIBUTED:
- Disaster relief supplies for more than 13,000 people in 15 communities. Supplies include tarps, foam mattresses, blankets, pillows linens, work gloves, face masks, tote bags, plastic dishes, personal care items, cleaning products and children’s sandals.
- Medical supplies for a medical clinic in Camp-Perrin and for mobile clinics in Lougou and Raymond, and L’Aisle and Musotte. Supplies include antibiotics, wound care kits, IVs and pain relievers.
- 5,500+ food kits, serving more than 15,000 people in 15 communities. These kits contain locally purchased food products, including pasta, oil and fish.
- More than 260,000 meals of pre-packaged fortified rice, specially formulated to address malnourishment. These meals will primarily be used in the hot lunch program for the 14 restavek schools.
- 2,000 aqua tabs to help chlorinate contaminated water. One tab treats 5 gallons of water.
- Construction material for the building of 11 temporary school shelters. All temporary shelters are scheduled to be completed in time for school to start on October 4.
The second phase will focus on long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts. Some of Cross International’s priorities in this phase will include:
- Rebuilding the 11 schools that were damaged or destroyed to be hurricane and earthquake resistant.
- Reconstructing 156 homes for students enrolled with Cross International’s partner, MEBSH
- Establishing community water systems in 14 MEBSH communities
Even as the world’s attention quickly moved on from the devastation and loss in Haiti, Cross International’s dedicated supporters continue showing God’s love in powerful and tangible ways to Haitians facing so much tragedy. “We are gospel-driven, kingdom building, and all about bringing glory to God,” Zach Oles affirmed. “We are mandated to love our brothers and sisters and to stand with those in need. That is the foundation of who Cross International is and why we’re focused on working in rural communities who have nowhere else to turn.”
Cross International is committed to the long-term relief and recovery process that disaster victims need in these critical times and it’s only through the support of friends like you that important work like this is made possible. God bless you for your heart to bless those in need.