Assistance to Earthquake Survivors Continues

January 28, 2010

Over two weeks since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, the scope of the death and destruction is staggering. The most recent estimates indicate that roughly 200,000 deaths and 194,000 injuries have occurred. At least one million people have been left homeless and in need of temporary shelter. 

While the number of deaths and injuries has grown substantially since the quake, so has the number of people the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti and Episcopal Relief & Development are helping: over 25,000 survivors in 23 camps.

“It is because of the incredible network already in place in the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti that such a large response to this crisis is possible,” said Katie Mears, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Program Manager for USA Disaster Preparedness and Response, who has been working on the ground in affected areas.

With support from Episcopal Relief & Development, the Diocese of Haiti is reaching more and more people each day. Prior to the earthquake, there was an ongoing training program run by the Diocese in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development. The Diocesan Development Officer and 28 development agents for Haiti, who participated in this training, are currently working to conduct needs assessments and set priorities for ongoing relief and recovery efforts.

“It is very fortunate that our existing partnership with the Diocese of Haiti included the development of a network of agents familiar with local communities and also with disaster-response techniques,” said Matt St. John, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Program Officer for Latin American and the Caribbean. “The presence of these development agents has been crucial to the effective delivery of aid.”

In addition to distributing critical food and medical supplies to communities throughout Haiti, the agents recently convened at the tent camp of St. Pierre College in Port-au-Prince to receive training on the use of emergency water purification systems. Following this training, the agents will deliver the purifiers to rural communities and work with community leaders to ensure they are properly educated about the purifiers’ maintenance.

“This is one example of how we are leveraging the established network to provide critical supplies to as many people as possible,” said Mears.

Episcopal Relief & Development is continuing to work in partnership with the Episcopal Dioceses of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, IMA World Health and Worldwide Village to reach those most in need.

“Episcopal Relief & Development’s capacity to respond is strengthened by the incredible team of community health workers, clergy, development agents and lay leaders that are integral members of the communities throughout the country,” continued Mears. “We are providing the tools they need to facilitate a long-term response to this disaster.”

For the most up-to-date information and access to resources, visit the Haiti Crisis page. Included on this page are video statements from Bishop Duracin and Bishop Holguin. Additional resources such as downloadable bulletin inserts and photos are also available.

To assist those suffering in the wake of this disaster, please consider making a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Haiti Earthquake Response Fund at or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. Please write “Haiti Earthquake Response Fund” in the memo of all checks.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Together with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners, Episcopal Relief & Development strengthens communities today to meet tomorrow’s challenges. We rebuild after disasters and empower people by offering lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.