This year we have decided to support the relief work of Tearfund in Haiti as our Christmas Day offering.

The 12th January disaster killed at least 200,000 people, left a million homeless and affected 3 million others. Here is a description of some of Tearfund’s work in Haiti.

Tearfund workers were in Haiti by 14th January helping to assess the damage and provide assistance through the partner agencies. One of these, the King’s Hospital run by World Relief, was one of the few places offering treatment in the capital Port-au-Prince after escaping the tremors with just a few cracks to the walls. Broken bones from falling masonry were among the main injuries doctors and nurses dealt with. Medical treatment and basic essentials were provided to people who are in desperate need after losing loved ones, homes and livelihoods.

After the initial emergency aid operation – which included supplying food, hygiene and shelter materials – Tearfund’s efforts were concentrating on bringing normality back to people’s lives.

Cash-for-work activities have been organised in remote upland areas near Leogane, with 800 jobless people involved in improving several roads. More than 5,000 cash grants have been made up to help get some of the most vulnerable survivors back on their feet, while in the process helping stimulate the local economy.

Tearfund has also been active in the political arena by its voice to calls for Haiti’s international debt to be dropped in an effort to help its earthquake reconstruction efforts.

In upland and lowland areas near the badly damaged coastal town of Leogane workers have distributed several seed varieties in an effort to help the agricultural sector get back on its feet.

Five hundred farmers received 10 kilogrammes of red bean seeds in Petit Boucan and Gressier. Another 500 farmers will receive 2.5 metric tones of maize in Gressier as well as an additional 2.5 tonnes for a further 500 growers in parts of Cittronier, Gros Morne and Cormier. Replacing tools lost as a result of the earthquake is also being carried out by Tearfund with 500 hoes, 500 machetes and 250 pickaxes being given out. Two thousand people have received food, water and shelter from the Evangelical Alliance at its compound in the Delmas areas of Port-au-Prince. Twelve schools have been helped to reopen by being provided with 45 latrine cubicles, offering safe sanitation for 2,250 pupils and similar projects are starting.

Work is also underway to provide hygiene and health education, clear rubble, and improve water supplies.

Tearfund is initially working to a three year plan but will continue to work in Haiti for a long time.

The latest difficulty for the people of Haiti was Hurricane Tomas. The hurricane skirted the country on Friday 5 November, killing at least eight people and flooding coastal towns. Tearfund had distributed 50 tents and 500 shelter repair kits to people whose temporary shelters were damaged by the hurricane.

Although the hurricane didn’t have the devastating effect that had been predicted, the rural communities that Tearfund work with have been affected and are reporting flooded fields, ruined crops and a loss of livestock.

The storm has brought further trouble to a country already struggling to recover after the earthquake, with the one million people who are still living in tents and flimsy shelters now facing a possible cholera epidemic.

Please pray for Tearfund.


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