[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Food, water and shelter is being provided for approximately 520 families staying on church properties in Haiti’s southern peninsula following last week’s devastating Hurricane Matthew. Reports cite the death toll as being somewhere between 500 to more than a 1,000. Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD), the relief agency of the US-based Episcopal Church, is providing direct support to the families in addition to assisting in wider relief efforts.
ERD is providing direct assistance for food, water and shelter to church partners and displaced families sheltering in Petit Trou de Nippes, Paillant-Jeanette, Miragoane, Torbeck, Beraud, Jeremie and Bainet.
ERD’s staff have received information on specific vulnerable families through the network of Episcopal priests and is on the ground providing support in each community. Approximately 520 families are currently receiving assistance through these efforts.
“The Haiti response is developing rapidly as transport and communications are restored to impacted areas,” Abagail Nelson, ERD’s senior vice president of programs, said. “The hurricane caused extensive flooding and mudslides, power outages and water shortages – compounding concerns about the possible spread of cholera.
“The Church is reaching out to the vulnerable in its midst.”
In addition, ERD is providing support for the US-dioceses on the south-eastern coast of America which were also affected by the Hurricane.
“Dioceses are engaging in creative and insightful disaster response outreach activities to populations that might not otherwise be able to easily access assistance,” Katie Mears, director of ERD’s US disaster programme, said. “Florida is a great example of this, in their support of an existing, thriving worship community whose membership is primarily people experiencing homelessness, and East Carolina’s bolstering of a long-running ministry that assists migrant farmworkers, is exactly the kind of thing that shows excellent stewardship of resources.
“I’m extremely proud of how the dioceses throughout the impacted region are caring for their neighbours and meeting needs in this initial phase of the emergency response. They have done impressive work reaching out during these first 10 days, and are developing relationships that will continue to be useful through the entire disaster recovery process.”
The ERD has established the Hurricane Matthew Response Fund to help it, and its local partners, respond to the critical needs following the hurricane.