A major earthquake has hit Haiti, one of the poorest nations on earth. Thousands are feared dead, injured or displaced in and around the capital Port au Prince after the quake. Governments and aid agencies are pledging rapid assistance.
Christian denominations working through the ecumenical Action of Churches Together and the Catholic network Caritas are contributing short- and long-term aid to those hit by hurricanes and tropical storms recently.
The United Nations is warning that more than half a million people are in need of emergency assistance after storms Fay, Gustav and Hanna battered the island of Haiti. Church and development groups are responding with urgent aid.
The agency is providing relief to hungry children and families affected by the crisis and is preparing to increase its response. Rising global prices for food and fuel have hammered Haiti, which survives largely on imported goods.
Since the 18th century slave revolt which won Haiti its independence as the first black republic, life in Haiti has been marred by continued political instability and armed conflict. You can sponsor a child in Haiti here.
The arrest last month of a US humanitarian worker entering Canada with 12 Haitian asylum seekers has serious implications for church groups and organizations that help refugees, says Mennonite Central Committee Canada’s refugee coordinator.
The UK-based international development agency Christian Aid is making £50,000 available to local partner organisations in Jamaica and Haiti to support their post-hurricane relief efforts. Churches worldwide have responded to the disaster.
As the UK commemorates the end of the slave trade, an original sculpture has been commissioned by Christian Aid and National Museums Liverpool from a group of Haitian artists representing their continuing struggle for freedom and human rights.