Lutherans commit aid to Haiti hurricane assistance

By agency reporter
November 11, 2010

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has committed $50,000 in international disaster funds to The Lutheran World Federation to be used for immediate needs in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Tomas.

It also contributed $25,000 from the ELCA's Haiti Earthquake Fund for the prevention of cholera, the result of poor living conditions for earthquake survivors.

Around 1.3 million people in Haiti are still living in tents or under plastic tarpaulins, displaced by the January 2010 earthquake that destroyed entire communities in the western part of the country and left more than 230,000 people dead.

The Haitian Department for Civil Protection reported on 8 November that Hurricane Tomas had left 20 people dead, at least 36 injured and seven people missing. Nearly 32,000 people sought refuge from the storm in temporary shelters such as schools, churches and public buildings.

The worst damage appears to be in southwest Haiti, where The Lutheran World Federation-Haiti reported the entire coast of Grand'Anse, one of 10 administrative districts in Haiti, was severely affected. Ten fishing villages, boats, fishing supplies and stores of seeds for agricultural production were destroyed by Hurricane Tomas.

The organisation also reported that most people affected asked for roofing supplies to protect their homes and support to return to fishing.

The Lutheran World Federation said it will concentrate its response on providing food, water and hygiene kits to about 1,700 families and re-roofing homes for about 300 families, according to Megan Bradfield, associate director, ELCA International Development and Disaster Response.

The ELCA asked that its $50,000 be used "for relief activities in Macaya" in southwest Haiti, for food and non-food item distribution and re-roofing homes, Bradfield wrote in a letter announcing the ELCA's contribution to The Lutheran World Federation representative in Haiti.

United Nations disaster assessment teams reported that overall hurricane damage to houses and communities in the north and south is less than anticipated, with few instances of serious flooding and few roads blocked, Bradfield wrote.

Agricultural sectors are most affected with reports of loss of livestock, crops and flooding of farmland, she wrote, adding that banana, coconut, corn and yam production has been significantly affected in areas hardest hit by the storm.

The city of Port-au-Prince survived Hurricane Tomas with little damage except for a landslide in Pétion-Ville, The Lutheran World Federation-Haiti reported.

In response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti and the ELCA's $25,000 gift, Bradfield's letter said "the ELCA would like to support efforts related to the response to the current cholera outbreak and mitigation of its spread, particularly in and around Port-au-Prince."



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